In the midst of ongoing protests, yesterday the 45th President of The United States, Donald J. Trump took the oath of office. In his Inauguration speech, he declared that it's time for the American people to take back their power from the Washington establishment.
Here is some of what he said:
"We the citizens of America,are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore it's promise for all of our people. Together we will determine the course of America and the world for many many years to come. We will face challenges, we will confront hardships, but we will get the job done."
"Every four years we gather on these steps, to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power. And we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aide through this transition. They have been magnificent."
"Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington DC and giving it back to you the people."
"For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered. but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nations capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land."
"That all changes starting right here and right now. Because this moment is your moment, it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today, and everyone watching all across America. This is your day, this is your celebration, and this the United State of America is your country."
"What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer."
"Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public."
"But for too many of our citizens a different reality exists. Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities. Rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nations. And education system flushed with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crimes, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives, and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential."
"This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. We are one nation and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny."
"The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans."
"One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind."
"The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world."
"But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.From this day forward, it's going to be only America First, America First."
"I will fight for you with every breath in my body. And I will never ever let you down."
"When you open your hearth to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when gods people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable."
"We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action. Constantly complaining, but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action."
To the people who are overworked, underpaid and struggling to get by, or those that are still drinking toxic water in Flint, Michigan, or dealing with gun violence in Chicago's South Side, or living in the midwest and have lost their jobs in manufacturing, some of President Trumps words sounded somewhat hopeful, right? Not so fast.
Soon after giving that speech, President Trump sitting at the president's desk in the Oval Office began making good on his campaign promise to overturn all of President Barack Obama's Executive Orders. He signed the following orders: Minimizing The Economic Burden of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Obamacare) - Allows agencies to waive or defer provisions that “impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.” This order is likely aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act "Individual Mandate," requiring Americans to purchase health insurance. Although, presently the Affordable Care Act has 14 exemptions allowing the requirement to purchase health insurance be waived.
Suspended FHA Program That Discounts Mortgage Insurance Fees - Cuts fees for home-buyers with less-than-perfect credit scores, or who put down small down payments, especially helpful for low income and first time home-buyers.
In the words of then presidential candidate Donald Trump, "This is only the beginning."
When President Obama took office in 2009, the nation was in an economic meltdown. The banks and American auto makers needed government bailouts, millions were losing their jobs and businesses were going bankrupt. America was on the verge of a great depression.
Since that time, the things have drastically improved. Today, the stock market is at an all time high, corporate profits have shattered records, 90% of Americans have healthcare, the country has the longest job growth streak in history and the deficit has shrunk.
Here are just a few of President Barack Obama's accomplishments during the last eight years of his presidency:
Signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus package.);
Launched recovery.gov, a website that allowed taxpayers to track spending from the Act. Allowed taxpayers to track spending of the stimulus money spent to jump star the economy;
By the end of his first year, the economy created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and the ARRA stimulated the economy by 3.5%;
Established the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan;
Today the unemployment rate has dropped to a five year low of 4.6 %. in 2009 when President Obama took office it was 10%;
82 consecutive months of private sector job growth. Longest history of job growth with no job losses;
Ordered all federal contractors to pay a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour, leading the way to a national increase. As a result of this decision, a number of large employers, including Disney and Walmart, have increased their minimums;
Assembled most diverse cabinet in history;
Named 3rd and 4th women to the Supreme Court;
Appointed first Latina Supreme Court Justice;
Appointed a record number of women and minority judges;
Passed the Affordable Care Act;
20 million people now have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act;
90 percent of Americans now have health insurance;
Cannot be denied health insurance for preexisting conditions;
No insurance caps. Health care law stops insurance companies from limiting yearly or lifetime coverage expenses for essential health benefits;
Women cannot be charged more money for insurance;
Appointed 1st ever U.S. Chief Technology Office;
Deficient was 10% of GDP now its 3% of GDP;
Banks have to pass stress test. Federal Reserve conducts a annual stress tests on banks with $50 billion or more in assets to determine if the bank has the capital to manage itself during tough times;
Created and implemented rules so banks can no longer use depositors’ money to invest in derivatives and other high-risk financial instruments that work against depositors’ interests;
Saved U.S. auto industry. Reorganized General Motors, bailout money was paid back;
American car companies are the most profitable the world, millions of jobs were saved;
In February 2016, General Motors gave a share of the profit to each worker, with checks up to $11,000;
Number of homeless veterans dropped by 47%;
Signed and implemented Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, making more money available to enable better medical care for veterans;
Implemented the Green Vet Initiative, which provides special funding to provide veterans with training in green jobs;Initiated and signed a recruitment and employment plan to get more veterans into government jobs;Oversaw a $4.6 billion expansion of the Veterans Administration budget to pay for more mental health professionals;
Signed the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act, which ensures that spouses of military personnel who are forced to move because their spouse is posted for military duty can avoid state taxes in their temporary residence;
Ordered improvements to access to mental health care for veterans, military personnel and their families;
Along with Congressional Democrats, reauthorized families of fallen soldiers to be able to visit when the body arrives at Dover AFB. Also provided funding for it. Ended the media blackout coverage of the return of fallen soldiers;
Stopped military don't ask don't tell;
Combat positions open to women;
Convened first Nuclear Security Summits to convince countries to get rid of uranium;
16 countries disposed of their uranium;
Syria disposed of chemical weapons. It was handed over and destroyed;
Foreign oil dependence dropped;
Found and killed Bin Laden;
Banned torture by U.S. personnel;
Secret overseas prisons shut down;
U.S. embassy opened in Cuba after 50 years of cold war;
Overturned ban on stem cell research;
High school graduation rate at highest in history of 83%;
Landed rover on mars;
Federal prison population declines for first time in decades;
Solitary confinement banned for juveniles in federal prison;
Visitor Access Records - made public list of people who visited the white house;
Credit card reform. Creditors can't raise interest rate without notification to consumers;
Signed and implemented the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to assault anyone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity;
Legalized same sex marriages;
If you work for a federal contractor, you cannot be fired because you are gay or trans; Implemented the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers;
Tobacco companies have to list ingredients in cigarettes; Banned Muslim Registry;
Under the Affordable Care Act - Implemented the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, to reduce costly and potentially life-threatening hospital readmissions. Penalizes hospitals when Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after they are discharged. This means they get the best possible care the first time they are admitted to the hospital before they are discharged;
College students who qualify for Pell Grants can now receive the grant it they attend school in the summer. This will allow them to graduate sooner and accumulate less debt;
Used the fiscal cliff negotiations to extend for five additional years the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides tax credits to families for college-related expenses, thus saving those families up to $10,000;
Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to limit waste, fraud and abuse in the defense procurement and contracting systems;
Banned gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch;
First president to stream every White House event, live;
Created an airline passenger bill of rights, preventing airlines from stranding passengers on tarmac for hours, requiring them to return to the gate within three hours or face fines
Signed and implemented the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, to improve nutrition in schools and make children healthier;
Opened the white house so that all Americans could enjoy it.
On Tuesday evening, 1/10/2017, President Barack Obama returned to Chicago to deliver the last speech of his presidency. He didn't focus on policy or waste time on his critics. He took that moment to give thanks to all who have supported him, and to tell the American people how much of an honor it was for him to serve as our president.
President Obama being the great unifier that he is, reminded us all, that although we may not agree with each other, we have to at least listen to one another. And that as Americans, we have to find common ground.
He also spoke to young Americans encouraging them to attach themselves to something bigger. He told them not to sit on the sidelines and complain if they don't agree with the way that their political leaders are handling things. He advised them to get involved and run for office so that their ideas can be heard. He will be tremendouly missed.
I am certain that Barack Obama, America's 44th president, will go down in the history books as one of the most influential presidents of our time.