I had the pleasure of listening to President Obama of the USA give his inauguration address to the nation and the world, and I have to say that it was the finest speech I have heard in years.
I am not sure who writes his speeches, but I suspect it must be a speech writer, and I would believe Obama's personal contribution is significant, or vice versa. His words were expressive and his tone was sincere, so for all I know he delivered an honest message, unlike many speakers today.
His main point was that "No single person can train all the math and science teachers, and face the numerous other problems including war, youth, diversity of people, road networks, and research labs, unless it is done by one people, one nation, putting their efforts together."
This indeed is an excellent lesson, and should be applied to every growing country, including Jamaica.
The divisions in Jamaica — PNP and JLP, privileged and poor, educated and undereducated — are not so great that we cannot close them.
We must realise we are indeed our brother's helper, keeper and companion, and together — only together — can we resolve our pressing issues.
President Obama explained his interpretation of the inescapable conclusions:
1. "No nation founded on the principles of liberty and equality can survive half slave and half free. Together, we discovered that a modern economy, with its railroads and highways, its colleges and hospitals, needs its trained workers.
2. "A free market only thrives under fair rules of competition and fair play.
3. "Together, we learned that a successful nation must care for its vulnerable, women and older people, and give them adequate protection.
4. "We should never relinquish our scepticism of a central authority, nor be fooled by the fiction that all society's ills can be covered by a Government alone. This is the road to totalitarianism, which rejects the effort and contribution of the many."
The president related the feats of the USA and the lessons learned: "We must fight and find a solution to climate change; and while protecting ourselves, avoid perpetual war. That all of us are created equal, and we should not depart this existence without knowing that our children's lives are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.
"Delay cannot be encouraged when decisions need to be made. We cannot mistake self-interest for principle; or substitute spectacle for politics; or name-calling for debate. Today's triumphs are only temporary, and it remains that for the stalwarts to carry the mission to its end."
What needs to be observed in the USA and in Jamaica is common effort and purpose, with passion and dedication. Then we can challenge the call of destiny, when togetherness is our guiding principle.