Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Friday, March 01, 2013
Analysis: Why Larry Dominick won 3rd term
By Ray Hanania
(Dominick’s spokesman and media consultant)
By Ray Hanania
(Dominick’s spokesman and media consultant)
There was an overwhelming and intentional push by the news media to disparage Larry Dominick, former 43-year Cicero policeman and town worker who won re-election on Feb. 26 to a third term as the Town’s President.
Cicero has always been the target of the media’s biased rage, usually by either ethically challenged reporters (many with personal ties to Cicero’s critics) or by journalists who have no time to do basic research of facts anymore.
Yet despite the doom and gloom predicted by the news media, and the often outrageous charges from Dominick’s two opponents that were often bull-horned by the biased news media, Dominick won re-election with in a massive 2 to 1 landslide.
Here’s how I believe Dominick won and his opponents, Juan Ochoa and Joe Pontarelli, lost.
The number one reason is that Larry Dominick had a clear message that showcased his accomplishments.
In contrast, Dominick’s opponents embraced a message of anger, hatred and vengeance pushed by the former Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, the former convicted felon who was sent to prison in January 2003 and served 7 years for stealing $12 million in taxpayer money in the early 1990s.
The critics focused on Dominick’s personal life, citing false reports in the Chicago Sun-Times and other media. Their message was a personal attack on Dominick rather than an explanation of what they would bring to Cicero
Critics also turned to racism and falsely accused Dominick of being anti-Mexican and anti-Hispanic because he is White and the Town is 80 percent Hispanic.
The vast majority of the 9,665 votes cast were from Hispanics. That means Dominick won the Hispanic vote, along with the small White ethnic vote in Cicero. During his 8 years in office, Cicero has hired Hispanics at a 75 percent job rate, higher than anyone before. It was a fact ignored by the mainstream news media and the equally biased Hispanic media that continued to chant that voters should elect a leader based on race, rather than performance.
Dominick, however, offered a stronger, clearer and more positive message that connected with voters of all races, White, Hispanic, Black and others.
In fact, Dominick, whose step-mother of 25 years is African American, launched Cicero’s first ever public commemoration of the birthday honoring the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., something no one would ever have thought could be done in Cicero. And, it is an event that the news media has never bothered to cover, either.
While publishing one negative and false story after another, the news media ignored covering the positive events and activities, events that the residents of Cicero could see but that the media ignored. That helped undermine the media’s campaign against Dominick, too.
Dominick’s message was built on a cornerstone of having waged a successful war against Street Gang related crimes since his first election in 2005. In 2004, before he was elected, Cicero had 14 street gang related murders. In the past 27 months, Cicero has had only two street gang related killings.
Dominick repeated that one street gang related killing was “one too much,” but residents could see a dramatic decline in Street Gang related activity.
Additionally, Dominick’s message built upon the message of safety, noting that safety in a community brings many benefits including: attracting 24 new businesses to relocate into Cicero; expanding public festivals and programs for families during summer months gang free; expanding town programs for seniors, families, youth and a new program to hire the disabled without increasing taxes or fees; building more parks and recreations like the Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink; building new capital projects such as the new Town Hall, new streets and lighting technology for residents, and unveiling the improved METRA Train station; and, eliminating the massive debt that Loren-Maltese and her handpicked successor, Ramiro Gonzalez, left on the town totaling more than $190 million.
Residents could easily see more new businesses coming to Cicero. Why would they come to Cicero is the Town had the problems being falsely claimed by the biased news media or Dominick’s critics.
The critic’s charges made no sense to residents and voters.
New businesses included Cloverhill Bakery, Sonic, Fuller, Wirtz Beverage Illinois and the groundbreaking for the new Walmart. These are just a few of the new businesses that in the long term not only bring more tax revenues to off-set increases on residents but also produce jobs.
Ochoa was beset with many problems. He was the former head of the controversy-plagued McPier Authority, appointed to that post by disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Ochoa had lived in Chicago but when the time came to move to the suburbs, he had a chance to choose Cicero years ago. Instead, he chose Berwyn, playing into the racist fears that the media perpetuates falsely that somehow Berwyn is a better community than Cicero. It is not.
Only when he decided to run for office did Ochoa allegedly rent an apartment in Cicero.
Ochoa also did not have a natural Cicero voter base. Despite being Mexican American, Ochoa lost the Mexican American vote in Cicero overwhelmingly. He lost it because he openly allied himself with U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who is Puerto Rican and has failed to fully represent Mexican Americans in his congressional district during his 20 year failed reign as congressman.
The district is 70 percent Mexican American and 12 percent Puerto Rican with the remainder White, Black and other. Gutierrez and Ochoa undermined themselves when they argued that Dominick should not be re-elected because the majority of Cicero residents are Mexican and Dominick is White.
That racist attack could easily then apply to Ochoa and Gutierrez. Using the same racist argument that they used against Dominick, why would Ochoa then back a Puerto Rican in an 80 percent Mexican American district?
The reason is that race was only a factor to Ochoa and Gutierrez, but not to he vast majority of Cicero voters.
Gutierrez was Ochoa’s single largest campaign donor, which explains the congressman’s heavy-handed influence on issues and loss-factors. Gutierrez has a history of exploiting divisions in the Mexican American community, usually with little success.
Last year, Gutierrez backed four Mexican American candidates against four other Mexican candidates and all four were defeated in the election, including Rudy Lozano Jr., who lost to Silvana Tabares in the State representative race.
Gutierrez’s role in Ochoa’s defeat is significant. It was Gutierrez who brought in the “leaders” of the Latin Kings to help work Ochoa’s campaign. These street gang leaders created an obvious contrast that Dominick was able to exploit.
All of the gang leaders working for Ochoa are listed in the latest copy of the Chicago Crime Commission Street Gang Book, 350 pages of photographs and pictures of people who often claim they are no longer in gangs but authorities continue to identify as leaders and activists in the street gang crime organization.
Mainstream media ignored this important factor, or always referred to it by saying it was an accusation that Ochoa denied.
The role Gutierrez and Ochoa gave to Latin King street gang leaders handed Dominick an opportunity to showcase his own record on fighting crime and spotlighted Dominick’s success against street gangs.
The Chicago Sun-Times led the Ochoa campaign with a series of stories that falsely and inaccurately report the facts:
There never was $120,000 for hotdogs, but rather $120,000 spent over an 8 year period to purchase food, refreshments and condiments that were provided to residents at public festivals free of charge.
Cicero’s population does not enjoy the same economic benefits that many of the Sun-Times editors enjoy. Many are poor families.
Dominick also gave away thousands of turkeys purchased from his campaign fund and gave them to Cicero families at Thanksgiving and at Christmas.
Dominick donated tens of thousands of clothing items over the years including coats, hats, gloves to the children of these needy families, something they appreciated and needed.
The Sun-Times, and Ochoa, attacked those charitable programs and public activities.
Two years ago as a direct result of Dominick’s programs, the Houby Day Parade saw a dramatic increase in the number of attendees who came out to the annual Czech parade. More than 25,000 people attended and enjoyed the Fall event that marched down Cermak Road through Cicero. Although it was a Czech Parade, more than 75 percent of the public turnout was Hispanic.
Instead of noting that important fact, the Sun-Times chose to instead write a front page story that Cicero had purchased “rubber chickens” to give away to the crowd.
Yes, Cicero did purchase 250 rubber chickens, which were handed out by the parade grand marshall, Rick Koz who plays “Son of Svengooli” on TV. Koz is from Berwyn and rubber chickens are his handout gimmick.
Juan Ochoa lost because he bought into the lies, the exaggerations and the hatred of Loren-Maltese, the Chicago Sun-Times and the politically inept agenda of Congressman Gutierrez.
What Ochoa failed to buy into, though, were the needs of Cicero’s residents.
From seniors, to youth, and families to ethnic groups, Larry Dominick got his message of success to all of them, and especially to the Hispanic Community which is no different than any other community when it comes to needs. They, too, like everyone else, want safety for their kids and families, an economic environment that can help stimulate jobs at a time when the nation is in economic turmoil, and opportunity.
When it came down to the media’s failure, what was most important to voters was not the media’s exaggerated claim of “hot dogs and turkeys.” Rather, what resonated with voters was their concern for “safety and services.”
The disgruntled anger and vicious slander from disgraced former president Betty Loren-Maltese only made voters look more skeptically at Ochoa. After all, a judge ordered Betty to repay Cicero taxpayers her portion of the $12 million she helped steal, something she has failed to do.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall Reporter (1976-1992) and president of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting. President Larry Dominick is one of his clients. Reach him at http://www.UrbanStrategiesGroup.com.)
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Nowhere has Cook County Clerk David Orr’s policies on absentee balloting been more harmful than in the 2nd Congressional District, where voters Tuesday went to the polls to elect a successor to disgraced former Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Many voters voted early. They could do it two ways. The first is through “Absentee balloting,” one of the most corrupt susceptible voting options in the country. The second is through Early Voting.
You no longer need an excuse to vote Absentee Ballot. You can do it out of convenience.
I had a chance to ask Orr about that process, noting that what if a voter walks into a polling place and is told they already voted by Absentee Ballot.
He said that even if the voter claims the absentee ballot is fraudulent, if the signature matches, according to Orr, he will accept the piece of paper rather than the vote of a live person who walks into the poll. Basically, he said the process is more important than the people.
Several members of the Illinois Legislature are now looking at bills to eliminate Orr’s office and make it an appointed, administrative position rather than an elected post that can be exploited by political partisanship.
In the 2nd Congressional District race, Orr’s policies will impact those early and absentee voters who cast ballots for state Sen. Toi Hutchinson. Hutchinson dropped out 10 days before the election. So many people have been in and out of the race that for many early and absentee voters who voted in the weeks before the election Feb. 26, their votes may not even count.
I’ve known David Orr since he was first elected in the 49th Ward as a Chicago alderman, the same year Jane Byrne upset the Machine and defeated Michael A. Bilandic.
Orr was an anti-Machine “Democrat” back then, screaming about Machine injustice and the unfairness of the system.
The David Orr who ran for office in 1979 would be the first person today to support a bill to eliminate the Clerk’s office, in Cook County, which has been plagued by corruption for years.
There are some good elected officials in Cook County but there are just as many who abuse the system, play favorites, including in the county’s judicial system where, today, many of Orr’s political allies sit and make partisan political decisions against enemies of their political friends.
The current system stinks. But what really stinks is that a once self-proclaimed “reformer” is in charge of a system that today promotes corruption and voter fraud, not stops it.
Something needs to be done. Why shouldn’t the Cook County Clerk’s office be like the Chicago Election board, which consists of party representatives from both sides who are appointed to office and answer to higher authorities, not to their own selfish politics.
I can’t believe that today, I would say that the Chicago Election Board is probably the most honest election system in the state and that the county system is the one mostly likely to produce voter fraud. How politics has changed.
The anti-Machine activists have become the new Machine. And they are worse than the old Machine because the new Machine members are hypocrites.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and political consultant. You may reach him at http://rayhanania.wordpress.com/. com. Share your thoughts by visiting his Facebook page at http://facebook.com/rghanania) — City & Suburban News-Herald
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Cicero, Illinois – State Senator Martin Sandoval, joined by 16th District Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski, today called on Cook County Clerk David Orr to immediately recuse himself from the Cicero elections charging that Orr has openly taken a partisan political position in an election in which he is supposed to be objective and non-partisan.
Sandoval said he sent a letter urging Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, the chief law enforcement officer on election day, to order David Orr to immediately recuse himself for conflict of interest due to his political bias in the Cicero elections due.
Sandoval charged that Orr has played a political and partisan role in the municipal elections in the Town of Cicero, aiding and supporting his political allies, candidate Juan Ochoa and his endorsed cohorts including Chicago Alderman Ricardo Munoz, Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia and U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez. Sandoval charged that Orr has donated thousands of dollars to candidates actively involved in the Ochoa campaign, which creates a direct conflict of interest. Additional instances of bias include David Orr’s physical appearance at rallies with Ochoa and his supporters (which included convicted felon and former Cicero President Betty Loren-Maltese).
Sandoval, who is Vice Chairman of the Illinois Senate Committee on Local Government, said he will call for public hearings to examine Orr’s conduct in this election and in past elections, and will be filling legislation to eliminate the elected office of Cook County Clerk, making it a separate, non-partisan agency similar to the Chicago Board of Elections.
“David Orr’s conduct and conflict of interest has tainted this election in Cicero. David Orr is politically partisan and has and continues to use public resources to support his political allies to work against those he opposes,” Sandoval said.
Senator Sandoval’s concerns were echoed by 16th District Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski, “I’m disturbed that a County Official who has oversight in elections has taken such a partisan position” said Tobolski. “As a Commissioner who votes on the County Clerk’s budget and who is accountable to the voters of Cook County, I’m troubled by David’s Orr’s conduct, as it reflects poorly on the people of Cook County.”
Sandoval said that Orr has in the past donated directly to many of the people supporting Ochoa in his battle against incumbent Town President Larry Dominick. Orr’s office employed Alderman Munoz’s spouse in the past, and his decade’s long relationship with Ochoa supporters, County Commissioner Garcia and US Rep. Gutierrez has been well known and dates back to the Harold Washington era.
“There is no doubt that David Orr has been a political clerk and not an objective, independent guardian of Cook County’s voting system. Instead of protecting the rights of voters, he has been using his influence to harass one campaign while ignoring allegations of obvious voter fraud by workers supported by his allies. That is an outrageous abuse of David Orr’s powers and clearly a violation of his responsibility to insure fair, balanced and non-partisan elections,” Sandoval said.
Sandoval, who is Vice Chairman of the Illinois Senate Committee on Local Government, said he will call for public hearings to examine Orr’s conduct in this election and in past elections.
“David Orr’s political activism in this election has compromised his judgment,” said Sandoval. “The voters of Cook County deserve better.”
Senator Sandoval represents the 11th Senate District, which includes the neighborhoods of Brighton Park, Clearing, Gage Park, Garfield Ridge, Little Village, West Lawn, and West Cook municipalities of Bedford Park, Burbank, Cicero, Forest View, Lyons, McCook, Stickney, Summit and Riverside
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Eliminate the Cook County Clerk’s Office
By Ray HananiaSouthwest News-Herald Newspaper• Friday, February 22, 2013
By Ray HananiaSouthwest News-Herald Newspaper• Friday, February 22, 2013
When it comes to election fraud, Cook County is one of the worst offenders. While making it easier for anyone to vote, Cook County officials have also made fraud easier.
No single vote process is more susceptible to fraud than Absentee Voting.
No single vote process is more susceptible to fraud than Absentee Voting.
In the past, voters were only allowed to vote by Absentee Ballot when they couldn’t vote on election day. They needed a legitimate excuse. Now, to encourage everyone to vote, Cook County allows you to vote by absentee ballot.
At a recent training session of election judges, I asked Cook County Clerk David Orr about this now common scenario:
The County receives an Absentee Ballot. But on election day, the voter comes in to vote in person. The voter is told, sorry, you already voted. The voter can protest and cast a “Provisional Ballot.”
But Orr said when he reviews the two votes, he will take the Absentee Ballot if the signature looks legitimate and reject the vote by the voter.
In other words, David Orr believes a piece of paper has more rights than a human being. Anyone can get an absentee ballot and cast it by signing someone else’s name. All you need is a voter list with their signatures on it to forge the signature so it looks real.
Why would David Orr accept the piece of paper which is sent in by mail and reject the voter who walks into a polling place to cast their ballot?
How can you accept a piece of paper that could easily have been cast fraudulently and reject the real voter who shows up and casts a vote?
What kind of Democratic System is that? The system should always take the vote cast by the person than through Cook County’s corrupt system.
Orr’s top deputy was at his side when she complained that the Feb. 26 election battle in the suburb where I was at was “disruptive.”
“I had one voter at early voting tell me that she was so disgusted by all of the people who came up to her urging her to vote for their candidate that she didn’t want to vote,” she declared at the end of the training.
“Oh yea,” I replied. “Democracy is a pain in the ass alright.”
There is something wrong with the whole process of freedom and democracy when the freedom to urge the public to vote for a candidate is “disruptive” and a “hassle” and when the office of an elected official like David Orr describes voting is a “pain.”
What David Orr’s deputy is saying is that they don’t want voters to be lobbied by precinct captains or even the candidates. That’s because they only care about the numbers. Turnout. Cook County has a terrible voter turnout, I say because the system is so corrupt.
If that means vote fraud, so be it, according to David Orr.
The Illinois Legislature should intervene and eliminate the Cook County Clerk’s office. It should instead appoint a non-elected, non-political administrator to enforce the law fairly, and cut the budget in half.
When a politician like Orr hears charges of fraud, he can easily turn his back when it involves his political allies. When it involves his foes, he can suddenly scream about fraud and corruption and get off his cushy office chair and complain.
Why should an elected official and a politician like David Orr have that kind of partisan power to help his friends?
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and political consultant named “Best Ethnic Columnist in America by New America Media and the recipient of four Peter Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the National Sigma Delta Chi Award 2010 from the Society of Professional Journalists. He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992, and now provides media services to governments and political clients. Reach him at www.UrbanStrategiesGroup.com or www.TheMediaOasis.com)
Monday, January 21, 2013
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 21, 2013
BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
United States Capitol
11:55 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice,
Each time we gather to inaugurate a President we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. (Applause.) The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.
And for more than two hundred years, we have.
Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.
Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers.
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.
Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.
Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.
But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people. (Applause.)
This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. (Applause.) An economic recovery has begun. (Applause.) America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it -- so long as we seize it together. (Applause.)
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. (Applause.) We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. (Applause.)
We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. So we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. (Applause.) For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.
We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. (Applause.) They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. (Applause.)
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. (Applause.) Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.
The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure -- our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.
We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. (Applause.) Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. (Applause.) Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war; who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends -- and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.
We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully –- not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. (Applause.)
America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe. And we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice –- not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice.
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. (Applause.)
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- (applause) -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity -- (applause) -- until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.
That is our generation’s task -- to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. (Applause.)
For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. (Applause.) We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.
My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction. And we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.
They are the words of citizens and they represent our greatest hope. You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time -- not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. (Applause.)
Let us, each of us, now embrace with solemn duty and awesome joy what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.
Thank you. God bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America. (Applause.)
END 12:10 P.M. EST
Sunday, January 20, 2013
So we took a picture instead with the Jay Leno life-sized cardboard cut-out. Couldn't find a good spot to grab that picture. We did the same with Vanna White and Pat Sajak. We didn't waste our time with Ellen Degeneres or Jimmy Fallon. (Fallon's okay but two pictures with two fake cardboard life-sized cut-outs is more than enough, even for an 11 year old.)
So that's the picture my kid will probably show someone 50 years from now when he reminisces about the time we drove to Detroit to see the North American International Auto Show (That's what they call it folks, not the Detroit Auto Show). Him standing with Jay Leno. Although 50 years from know, will anyone remember Jay Leno? Do they remember Johnny Carson? It's easier to remember white Polar Bears but I guess the question is, for how long will they be around?