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Dave Ross

Did it warm your heart, or frighten you?

President Barack Obama deliver his Inaugural address at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The conventional wisdom is that people on the left loved the inaugural address, and people on the right found it ominous, with all that mention of equality.

And it’s true, Mr. Obama’s inaugural speech used the word “equal” or “equality” seven times; more than Reagan, both George Bushes, more than even Clinton, Johnson, Kennedy, and FDR.

I can understand why that might warm hearts on the left, and stop hearts on the right.

But he also used the word freedom seven times – a word cherished by the right. Which reminds us that we hear words differently based on who speaks them.

Like this line: “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.”

I know that welcoming foreigners to this country seems like a liberal idea, but what he’s saying is every immigrant who embraces American ideals makes our country … how does that line go again?

Said George W. Bush, “And every immigrant, by embracing these ideals makes our country more, not less, American.”

And Obama again, “For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.”

I know it worries some people to hear Barack Obama referring to class differences.

But as George W. Bush said in 2001, “While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise, even the justice of our own country.”

We’ve heard it from the same podium before!

Mr. Obama also said, social programs like Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – they don’t sap our initiative; they strengthen us.

Which is a way of saying “How can we love our country and not love our countrymen?”

That was what Ronald Reagan said in 1981. “How can we love our country and not love our countrymen, and loving them, reach out a hand when they fall, heal them when they are sick, and provide opportunities to make them self-sufficient so they will be equal in fact and not just in theory?”

Equal. There’s that word again!

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

About the Author

Dave Ross

Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.


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