Absent were the bone-chilling temperatures of four years ago, although the icy memory of Inauguration Day 2009 was still a topic of conversation on the Capitol grounds. Although the crowds were not quite as thick this time around, the relevance of the event was seen through a different filter: one of true legitimacy. These masses did not gather to view a historical milestone, but rather to acknowledge a job well done, and Barack Hussein Obama confidently took the podium for his second ceremonial swearing in. The voting majority had repeated its call for change and validated his plans to lead the country to a more progressive place.

It seemed prophetic that the ceremony landed on the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and within a stone’s throw of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. It also cannot be overemphasized that those two observances are celebrations of triumph over severe adversity and examples of enlightened individuals bearing down on the misunderstandings of ignorance.

Similarly, the first four years of the Obama administration were met with detractors, naysayers and just downright mean-spiritedness. Fortunately, the sensible ideas of very smart people prevailed. Donald Trump and his surreal following of Birthers didn’t win. Neither did the frothing Tea Party mouthpieces, with the “just say no” traditional Republican leadership adapting a post-election look of confusion after totally misreading the concerns of a wider demographic.

Right now, Americans need economic stability, safe streets, education that works for every student and a fair system of health care. In short, we need what Obama wants and promises to deliver. Once again, he has our confidence, and we should have his ear. He said during his address, “No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.” There’s a lot of work still needed to hit those marks, Mr. President. Let’s hope you can transform the nation.