I could use these next 787 words to lament my dissatisfaction with the myriad of “so-called” reputable news outlets that described President Obama’s inaugural address as, ‘Obama Unchained’. I’m nowhere near Spike Lee in my critique of the film, but I don’t think it is appropriate to juxtapose the President of the United States of America to a gun-wielding Jamie Foxx just because it creates a ‘cute’ headliner. However, I won’t discuss that. What I’d like to discuss is what I call ‘Obama Remixed’.
A remix is a song that has been edited to sound different from the original version. The person who remixed it might have changed the pitch of the singers’ voice, changed the tempo and speed and has made the song shorter or longer, or instead of hearing just one person singing they might have duplicated the voice to make it sound like two people are singing, or make the voice echo. President Obama’s 2nd Inaugural Address still held the same fire and flair of the 1st Address, however, this time there was a specific call to action that went further than simply abandoning partisanship for the greater good of the nation. This call to action specifically laid out an agenda, albeit a progressive one, that challenged the conventional wisdom that President Obama is a centrist. I’d to like to call this address Obama minus the autotunes aka ‘Obama Remixed’.
Although he supported various pieces of legislation to even the playing field field for LGBT Americans (ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell etc.), President Obama never outwardly expressed his support for gay marriage until recently.
“My feelings about this are constantly evolving.I struggle with this. At this point, what I’ve said is, is that my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have.”
On May 9, 2012 President Obama became the first American President to publicly support gay marriage. On January 21, 2013 he also became the first President to mention LGBT rights in an Inaugural Address.
“over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
President Obama has always been a proponent of gun control. However, in 2008 following the Supreme Court decision that the ban on hand guns was unconstitutional, he revised his position in support of the decision overturning the law, saying, “Today’s decision reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.” He also said, in response to the ruling, “I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms.
On January 16, 2013, one month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, President Obama outlined a series of sweeping gun control proposals, urging Congress to reintroduce an expired ban on “military-style” assault weapons, such as those used in several recent mass shootings, impose limits on ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, introduce background checks on all gun sales, pass a ban on possession and sale of armor-piercing bullets, introduce harsher penalties for gun-traffickers, especially unlicensed dealers who buy arms for criminals and approving the appointment of the head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for the first time since 2006.
While the aforementioned are only 2 issues, they speak volumes to the leftward shift of President Obama’s public policy positions. In 2011 statistician, Nate Silver, described President Obama as a “centrist”, because of his average score on a system called DW-Nominate, developed by a group of six political scientists, that rates each member of Congress on a scale from negative 1 (very liberal on economic issues) to positive 1 (very conservative) based on their roll-call votes. The system also creates a score for each president based on cases in which the outcome he desired from a vote in Congress was clearly articulated.
Undoubtedly, President Obama’s score will probably be closer to -1 in this term than it was in his first term. However, ideology aside, what I think is most important to note is that these next four years will be the last chance for a “skinny kid, with a funny name” to solidify his legacy. If his actions in any way, shape, or form coincide with his rhetoric from his 2nd Inaugural Address this country will see a 21st century version of a “Great Society”. When it’s all said and done, I’m ready to put on my headphones and listen to DJ Obama remix Democracy.
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