Obama speech: Anti-government era is over

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VAN JONES

 

by Van Jones

(CNN) — Thirty-two years ago, President Ronald Reagan launched an era of anti-government politics with his first inaugural address. On Monday, President Barack Obama offered the best rebuttal to date.

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said the speech marked “the end of Reaganism,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Like Reagan, the president sought to ground the national conversation in his own definition of patriotism. But instead of the “liberty-only” patriotism of Reagan and political descendants such as Paul Ryan, who would turn love of country into hate for its government and its people, Obama offered a deeper “liberty and justice for all” patriotism.

Obama noted that the world has changed — that global problems cause local disasters, and what happens across town affects you and your neighbors — and he called on us all to realize that you cannot have liberty for all without justice for all.

Perhaps most fittingly, on a day heavy with memory, the president invoked those who once stood on the National Mall to hear a different type of founding father — “a king (who proclaimed) that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”

The overtones of Reagan’s 1981 speech rang so loudly, in fact, that it’s clear the president and his team looked to that address as inspiration.

Reagan offered up a vision of an over-taxed, long-neglected “We the People”; Obama’s version of “We the People” is youthful, diverse, energetic and engaged.

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