But not everyone agrees on what they want to hear the President-elect talk about in his speech.
By Russell Varner
December 11, 2008
After one of the most highly anticipated elections in American history, America now has the most anticipated inaugural speech in American history to look forward to as well, not just because of the magnitude of this past election, but also because of the great number of issues the President-elect will have to deal with while in office.
President George W. Bush’s failures have been well documented by the media. He will leave office with America in a much worse condition than it was when he took over, many agree. America is deep in debt to many countries, are involved in a war that no one wishes to be a part of and are suffering through one of the toughest times for the American economy since the Great Depression.
But what do people want President-elect Obama to cover during his inaugural address to the American public? It’s as varied as the problems that America is facing today.
“Healthcare, the job situation, the situation to help the elderly get help, there’s a lot of issues,” said Michele Tyndall, a tax collector and receptionist at the Elon Town Hall.
Some issues, though, came up more than others.
“The most important one though is to end the war [in Iraq] and to send the troops home,” said Tyndall. “We’ve been there too long already.”
“For me, I think Obama must address the world scene,” said David Copeland, a communications professor at Elon University. “The U.S. involvement in hostile activities has left the nation in a less-than-positive light in many countries. He needs to assert himself into a world leadership role immediately. I think most of the world is simply waiting for him to do so.”
Another issue that continually reared its ugly head was the struggling American economy.
“I also think that President Obama must address the crises that this nation faces,” said Copeland. “The economic situation has millions concerned, and I think they are looking to him to help fix the mess.”
“I think that the paramount issue is the economy,” said Earl Danieley, President Emeritus and a professor of chemistry at Elon University. “I hope that he can outline a comprehensive program of positive steps which will address this issue.”
Danieley also said that our relationship with other nations around the world is one of great interest to him and that “obviously, the Middle East has to be high on this agenda.” In addition, Danieley indicated an interest in the energy issues, saying “I do not think that conservation can solve the major problems. I hope for renewed interest in nuclear energy.”
There are others, though, that are interested in more personal matters that ‘big picture’ matters such as the debt and the war in Iraq.
“I would like to hear Barack Obama talk about how he is going to make higher education more accessible and affordable to everybody that wants an education,” said MarQuita Barker, an assistant director of Resident Life at Elon University.
“The biggest issue that we need in this country is freedom,” said Carl Saconn, a local Elon resident. “Now you may think I’m crazy, but we don’t have any freedom. Everything is regulated by the state. Land, zoning, property taxes, cars, even inspections of automobiles.”
“The people in this country got to start thinking, ‘Basically, we’ve lost our freedom. You cannot do nothing without the state.’ Property tax is basically taxation by terrorism because of the fear of losing their life.”
“The human existence requires food, shelter and clothing. When the government taxes any of those three essentials to the human existence, it’s putting you in a precarious position of slavery.”
“I’ll tell ya, the pen in mighty. But, the only problem with that is that we live in the age of stupidity.”
As Ben Parker told Peter Parker in the first Spider-Man movie, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Barack Obama will soon be among the most powerful people in the world and may be the most scrutinized President in American history. But, one thing he does have going for him is that the American public has his back.
“I will be disappointed if we get sweeping generalities,” said Danieley. “I hope for specifics designed to really solve problems. I really wish him well. We need leadership as we have rarely needed it.”
“I think [Obama] needs to offer the nation hope and challenge,” said Copeland. “He intimated some of this in his Grant Park speech on election night. Americans are in great need of a president that sees the big picture, that expects the country’s citizens to be actively involved in redirecting the nation. If Obama can capture, as I believe he can, the hope, promise and determination of John Kennedy’s inauguration speech and the same from speeches by Martin Luther King then he can go a long way toward giving this nation a sense that things can be fixed.”
For video and texts of President-elect Barack Obama’s radio address on the economy given on December 6, visit http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/the_key_parts_of_the_jobs_plan/.
Michele Tyndall talks about what she wants to hear President-elect Obama talk about in his inaugural speech