From the Editors: The coming debate

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Photo by Brian Sweeney

The past few months were the hardest of 2012, bringing destruction and grief to the country.  After a lackluster election that ended with a victory for our incumbent, it was hard to get excited about the future of our country. Surprisingly, after hearing Barack Obama’s inaugural address, the feeling wasn’t disappointment or resignation, but hope. The candidate who ran on hope and change finally brought it to the podium, five years later. He laid out, if not a concrete plan, a vision for his final term – one that will be completed without the weight of a campaign and the threat of losing re-election.

He spoke of a progressive future for America that was refreshing to hear, and forced citizens to recognize the truth: that a changing America is the only constant. He said, “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.”

Even if you disagree with the President, it’s time for Americans  to engage in a debate about the issues he mentioned: immigration reform, inequality, climate change, and gun control. These are worthy issues for a vibrant democracy to tackle in the coming years.

President Obama challenged us to realize what being a citizen means – “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.” The next four years will not fix our problems or end bipartisan roadblocks, but with this speech, the President nudged us in the direction of progress.