In President Barack Obama's superb inaugural address Tuesday, he showed he recognizes the needs of the people on this planet, the weakened economy, the wars and the environmental challenges, and is confident this country can resume its position of leadership. He subtly referred to this country's recent missteps, both nationally and internationally, and said Americans have done better and can do better again.
He recognized health care is too expensive, that we are using energy to our disadvantage and our schools need improving.
Obama used historical context to make clear his confidence in Americans, with references to the early immigrants, George Washington, the end of abusive labor practices and military battles.
In a few words, he reminded us of the cold winter during The Revolution when conditions were grim and Washington was determined to prevail.
He criticized the outgoing Republican administration by saying it is whether government works, not whether it is too large or too small, that is important. He promised transparency and accountability in government programs, two things that have been lacking, and an end to "worn-out dogmas."
Most importantly, in our estimation, Obama reaffirmed the importance of this nation's ideals and the rule of law, which have suffered in some of the responses to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
He reached beyond the nation's shores, promising the U.S. will welcome "every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity" and will "extend a hand" to those holding power who are "willing to unclench (their) fist."
Obama made only minor references to his own race - the small village where his father was born, a man who just 60 years ago might not have been served in local restaurants - instead choosing to tout the country's broader diversity in race and religion that gave it strength.
There is work to be done, Obama said, in reference to moving the country forward economically with new roads, bridges, electric grids and digital lines.
"What is required now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining to the spirit of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
"This is the price and promise of citizenship."
It is clear Obama knows the extent of what needs to be done, knows it will take significant effort and time and is confident Americans will succeed.
We welcome his leadership on these so many fronts.