January 21 editorial | ParkRecord.com

January 21 editorial

Inauguration Day: Allegiance takes on new meaning

This election began with a unique grass-roots momentum that we must continue to nurture beyond Inauguration Day.

From the first caucuses, through the endless primaries, and right up to Election Day, regular citizens set new records for enthusiasm and participation. Finally, on Tuesday, communities across the country gathered to celebrate the culmination of the democratic process — a peaceful handover of power and a recommitment to our nation’s founding principles.

The gathering on lower Main Street in Park City may not have been as massive as the turnout on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., but the spirit was the same. Parents pulled their children out of school and visitors put their vacations on pause to savor the experience with fellow citizens. Elsewhere in the city, the street and sidewalks were uncharacteristically empty. Presumably, everyone who could be was near a TV screen, watching, listening, and wondering what the future will bring.

But President Barack Obama has made it clear that the nation’s future is riding, not just on his shoulders but on every American’s willingness to continue taking an active role in his or her community.

"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America. For everywhere we look there is work to be done," he said in his inaugural speech.

Obama is calling on Americans to redefine patriotism because, even though citizens have been saying the Pledge of Allegiance since grade school, for many the meaning was long ago extinguished by cynicism and disappointment.

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Celebrating together on Main Street was a good start. Participating in the state’s upcoming legislative session is the next step. Volunteering for nonprofit organizations and speaking out for equality must also be part of the equation.

According to the president, "As much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies."

The cities and towns of Summit County, like those everywhere, are facing some daunting challenges. But we also enjoy a standard of living unimaginable to others around the world. Obama is calling on us to take responsibility for the problems we face and to share our bounty with others.

That is our new Pledge of Allegiance.