Tonawanda News

Columns

January 23, 2013

DUVALL: Becoming 'We The People' again

Tonawanda News — There is a special tradition in presidents’ second inaugural addresses. Abraham Lincoln’s was just 701 words long — probably shorter than this column will turn out to be (and a pertinent reminder that brevity stands next to poignancy).

In that regard, I thought President Obama’s remarks were well received. He was plainspoken and relatively brief. He eschewed lofty rhetoric for the most part and didn’t shy away from talking in specifics rather than metaphor. 

I thought it was a reflection of our new age, where talk is endless and meaning in words is more and more difficult to find.

I don’t disagree with the general reaction in the punditry that this was a simple defense of progressivism and a call to civility in an increasingly myopic, me-first society.

But it also marked a change in Obama’s overall direction. He called us to action invoking the Declaration of Independence’s first three words, “We The People.” But he did so in a way that set aside the “hope and change” mantra of his first term. This seems to be a new president, bound to bring Americans together in common cause in spite of a political environment that seems bent on gridlock and the resulting mutual destruction.

Obama has realized something many of us had hoped he would see far sooner, that bipartisanship in Washington is, in itself, not a worthwhile pursuit without a resolution to the aching and growing chasms in American society. 

Yes, our politicians are divided and seemingly inept. But in many respects our lawmakers are a reflection of average Americans who disagree disagreeably over a wide range of issues. We watch the news that tells us what we want to hear about the world. We huddle with friends in houses of worship and in corners of the Internet, shielded from the other side, telling each other how right we are about everything.

Text Only
Columns
  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Taking down trees 'disheartening' Several readers have questioned the City of Tonawanda's tree removal program. An email to Jenna Koch, who represents the third ward and checks into any query on the city, explained the program.


    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg [Duplicate] ADAMCZYK: Letterman was on my side The announcement that Mr. Letterman is retiring from his groundbreaking television program, sometime in 2015, is already old news, but it gives opportunity to ponder a few truisms about history and modern life.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Leffler Mug 041114 [Duplicate] LEFFLER: 'Need to know' a double-edged sword Inquisitive doesn't begin to describe me. I must know everything. About everything. I hate being in the dark. I guess that's what makes my career choice so very obvious. I think "must know everything" is at the top of most journalists' trait lists.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wallace, Amy BW mug WALLACE: Airplane coverage has gone awry I don't know about you, but I am so sick of the cable news stations' constant coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: Making a list, checking it twice Maybe I was thinking about David Letterman's impending retirement. Or maybe it was because my brother posted it to Facebook. I spent a couple hours the other day crafting two top 10 lists, of my favorite books and movies.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: Letterman leaves immense legacy in late night Television watchers -- and I don't mean people watching TV, I mean people who follow the television industry -- have been speculating for years about what would happen when late night legend David Letterman decided to retire.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • TUCKER: Yarn yields clicking needles Congratulations to Eric DuVall, the News managing editor, who won "Best of CNHI" editorial contest for 2013. (CNHI is the parent company for the News.) Eric was named Columnist of the Year and we're very proud of him.

    April 5, 2014

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg ADAMCZYK: Another thing wrong with TV It may be the latest in our harbingers of phony springs, but the temperature stayed more-or-less above the point of freezing this week, baseball season began and I saw my first returning bird (I think it was a robin), my first motorcycle (I think it was a Harley) and my first top-down convertible, a drop-top Volkswagen of some sort.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video