Residents of Burlington speak about President-elect Barack Obama’s upcoming inaugural address

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy

“We can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.
And after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.”- Ronald Reagan

By Daniel Temple
Dec. 11, 2008-  These immortal words, spoken by past presidents during their inaugural addresses, demonstrate the importance and lasting power of the event.  For many, the inaugural address is the initial indication of how the next presidential term will be.
For others, it is a reassurance that the problems and issues of today can be dealt with and solved tomorrow.  On Jan. 20, 2009, President-elect Barack Obama will take the podium to address the nation for the first time as President of the United States.
It is an exciting time, as there are a number of pressing issues that need to be addressed.   Many people are wondering what Obama will choose to discuss during his speech and how he will approach some of these sensitive issues.

graphicThe Economy

“I think he needs to talk about the current economic situation,” says Bill Lashley, a former county commissioner for Alamance County.  “That seems to be the one thing that everyone wants to hear about.”

Former County Commissioner Bill Lashley talks about the economy

Former County Commissioner Bill Lashley talks about the economy

Certainly it would seem as if the economy is the current hot topic.  It seems one can’t turn on the news without hearing about government bailouts, the housing and mortgage crisis and the growing national debt.
“I really want to hear what he has to say about the economy and how he plans on fixing it,” says Tom Walters, a Burlington resident and Food Lion employee.  “Times are tough and I hope Obama has got the answers.”
Many citizens are frustrated that American jobs are being outsourced overseas and jobs within the United States are being distributed to immigrants and non-citizens.
“He (Obama) needs to discuss his plan for companies moving overseas and taking jobs that should be here,” says Lashley.  “It really hurts the economy when Americans can’t get jobs and make an income.”
During his campaign, Obama talked extensively about his plans to help improve the economy.  He proposed a number of measures to help stimulate the process, measures that many hope he doesn’t forget during his speech and subsequent term as president.
“Obama sounded like he had some good ideas to help fix things,” says Walters.  “I just hope he sticks to his plans and follows through.”

The War in Iraq

Another important issue that many want to see Obama discuss is the current war in Iraq.  They would like to see the newly elected President address his plan for the future of the war and whether or not a withdrawal of troops will actually begin to take place.
“For me the war in Iraq has got to be the biggest issue,” says Leigh Thompson, a warehouse supervisor in Burlington.  “My brother is still stationed overseas and so I want to know Obama’s plans for that situation.”
The war, which began March 20, 2003, has affected thousands of American families across the country.  Many feel as if the time to withdraw is now and that America has no business involving itself in a conflict in the Middle East.
“I just don’t think we need to be over there right now,” says Tammy Richards, a receptionist and Burlington resident.  “It seems like a pretty pointless war and there’s just too much going on here in America.”
Others however feel as though the inaugural address would be the perfect opportunity to make a stand and recommit the nation to the goal of establishing democracy in the Middle East.

“I would love to see Obama stand up and tell everyone that we’re going to continue to fight,” says Larry Pullman, a truck driver from Duluth, Minnesota.  “We just can’t back out now, there’s too much at stake.  And Obama needs to convince people that this is the right thing to do.”

Tammy Richards, a local Burlington Resident talks about what she hopes to see in Obama's inaugural address

Tammy Richards, a local Burlington Resident talks about what she hopes to see in Obama's inaugural address

The inaugural address is an important time because it often sets the tone for how the public views a president.  Former presidents such as John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt obtained legendary status after they delivered passionate and provocative speeches during their inauguration.
“I remember when Kennedy gave his famous speech all those years ago,” says Lashley.  “It was very inspirational, hopefully Obama can achieve the same kind of effect.”
“I would like to see Obama present himself the same way he campaigned,” says Pullman.  “He’ll do well if he can remain the same clean cut and smooth person he was a couple of months ago.”
Other would simply like Obama to “give it straight” during his address and just be honest with the people.  They would like to see a president who doesn’t sugarcoat the issues and isn’t afraid to tell the truth.
“Honest is something I think is very important in this address,” says Sarah Fredericks, a retired Burlington resident.  “Especially in light of the recent Illinois governor scandal.
“Its about time we had a president who told the truth and looked you in the eye,” says Richards.
Whatever Obama chooses to address, one thing is for certain.  The importance of this event cannot be understated and it marks a critical junction in our nation’s history.
“We’re at a crossroad right now I think,” says Lashley.  “We’ve committed ourselves to four years of the Obama administration and this address will help show if we made the right decision.”

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One Comment on “Residents of Burlington speak about President-elect Barack Obama’s upcoming inaugural address”

  1. Jesse Says:

    stupid american voters. if they paid attention they would already know the answers to their questions.


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