This morning at the Capitol, I joined government leaders from around the world, Senators, my colleagues in the House, and people from Virginiaâ€™s Ninth District and congressional districts across these United States as President Obama was sworn in for his second term. While there may be disagreement about who we would have liked to have won the election, he is the President. The inauguration ceremony is the way we in this great democratic republican form of government transmit power and install our President. Being a part of this great experiment of representation of, by, and for the people is an honor.
As I looked out over the crowd, I found myself thinking about the future of our nation and the American dream. The American dream is the flame of hope for a better tomorrow that still brightly burns in the hearts of Americans; a burning desire to leave an America for our children that is better than our generation found her.
As a proud citizen of these United States and a parent, I want the best for my children and the best for yours. I want them to have a great public education, to be able to go to college if they wish to, and â€“ most importantly â€“ to be able to return home to the mountains of Virginia and find a job. I want them to feel the warmth of the American dream. And to have instilled in them the burning desire to keep the American dream alive for future generations. The President touched on some of these ideals in his inaugural address, but as those of you who read this column regularly know, we disagree on how to achieve this.
We must have a strong energy policy that includes all forms of energy, including coal. As the poet Richard Blanco highlighted in his part of the inaugural ceremony, â€śhands gleaning coal â€¦ that keep us warm.â€ť
We must also begin fixing our serious debt problem. We cannot pass on the American dream if we place lead weights on the four corners of that dream with debt that, for the next generation, crushes the prospect of jobs and the opportunity to earn a good wage.
But no matter what happens here in Washington, I am convinced the American Republic and the American dream will survive.
Otto von Bismarck, a 19th century German statesman, supposedly once said â€śGod protects fools, drunks, and the United States of America.â€ť We are all proud to be a part of these United States, and no matter how foolish Washington behaves, I believe Bismarck was right.
How else could you explain that while the Administration turns its back on coal and makes it more difficult to create jobs, we have the good fortune as a nation to have an unexpected turn of events. After decades of research, our scientists and entrepreneurs several years ago had a â€śeureka momentâ€ť and discovered how to access our rich supply of natural gas and oil, strengthening our economy and our ability to compete in the manufacturing of heavy goods.
We may disagree on policy, but on days like today, we are reminded that we truly live in the best and freest country on Earth. Our democratic republican system of government, the peaceful transition of power, and the American people freely choosing elected officials; it was an honor to mark todayâ€™s historic occasion and participate in this great American tradition. May God continue to bless these United States of America.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.