Weekly Presidential Address: “Before We are Democrats or Republicans, We are Americans”
January 15, 2011
As Congress returns to work, the President calls on them — and all of us — to debate our differences vigorously but to live up to the spirit of common cause we felt following the tragedy in Arizona.
WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, President Obama said that once business resumes in Washington, he looks forward to working with members of both parties to meet the challenges facing the country. By working together in a spirit of common cause, the President and members of Congress can face these challenges in a way worthy of the voters who sent them to Washington.
It’s been one week since tragedy visited Tucson, Arizona.
We properly spent much of the week mourning the victims and remembering their lives. We also discovered stories that serve to lift us up – stories of heroism and bravery, of courage and community – stories that remind us that we are one American family, 300 million strong.
One of the places we saw that sense of community on display was on the floor of Congress, where Gabby Giffords, who inspires us with her recovery, is deeply missed by her colleagues. One by one, Representatives from all parts of the country and all points of view rose in common cause to honor Gabby and the other victims, and to reflect on our shared hopes for this country.
As shrill and discordant as our politics can be at times, it was a moment that reminded us of who we really are – and how much we depend on one another.
While we can’t escape our grief for those we’ve lost, we carry on now, mindful of those truths.
We carry on because we have to. After all, this is still a time of great challenges for us to solve. We’ve got to grow jobs faster, and forge a stronger, more competitive economy. We’ve got to shore up our budget, and bring down our deficits. We’ve got to keep our people safe, and see to it that the American Dream remains vibrant and alive for our children and grandchildren.
These are challenges I believe we can meet. And I believe we can do it in a way worthy of those who sent us here to serve. So as business resumes, I look forward to working together in that same spirit of common cause with members of Congress from both parties – because before we are Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans.
And as we perform the work of this nation, my prayer is that we stay true to our words, and turn to those examples of heroism, and courage, and perseverance, to bring out the better in all of us.
Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.
This President has had a defining moment in his presidency due to the horrific tragedy of the Arizona massacre, one he used for the good of all Americans. When the President spoke in at the memorial services of the slain, he used the time to lift this nation up and point us in the right direction while offering us a form of spiritual guidance. He urged us to reach for the best in ourselves and our neighbors.
No one could have known in 2008 if this man could handle the many obstacles and challenges thrown at him, from a crashing economy to obstructionists bent on creating a chaotic and dangerous America as revenge for his win. The Republicans may never work with him and we may get frustrated watching them try to bully him around, wanting to see him punch back — but he has reminded us, once again, of why it’s important that he stay above the fray as a true leader does.
President Obama has proven that he was the right person to lead this country at this time. Throughout our history, America has had the good fortune to get the President she needed when she was at her most vulnerable. We are indeed lucky to have the temperate, calm, considerate and thoughtful Barack Obama as our President.