President Obama's message about hope is wonderful, and a necessary ingredient for progress, but it is never enough.

To achieve true progress, there is much work that is necessary, and it is not solely the job of the White House.

If Americans can take this charge they have gotten from our newly elected president to edify themselves and encourage one another, we could see real progress.

If our young women can stop having babies out of wedlock, and respect themselves enough to wait until a man is willing to marry them to sleep with him, that would be progress.

If our young men can decide for themselves that this is their country and that they should respect it and themselves enough to get an education and do what they can to make this country and the world even better, that would be progress.

If young people can stop the daily killings in the inner city, cease selling drugs and being tools of destruction in their homes and environment, that would be progress.

If everyday people begin to care about the government and the political process and started to take care of their communities like it's their backyard as well as from an administrative position as mayor, or county executive, governor, alderman, congressman or congresswoman, that would be progress.

If Americans develop the mentality to do for themselves while appreciating services the government offers — rather than relying on the government for handouts — that would be progress.

Can one man do all of this? Of course not, but can we as a nation be inspired to take control of our own destinies and work to make a better world for ourselves and those around us? Absolutely! Not only can we — we should.

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