Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall

Barack Obama is just a man, a man with feet of clay that sometimes appear to be stuck in the mud of indecision and unnecessary compromise, but even with his faults he is so much better than the political weasels to which we have become accustomed.  

Yesterday, in his second inaugural address, the President proved once again that he clearly sees himself as “our” President, the leader who represents all elements of American society and not just those born to privilege.  

Barack Obama is the leader of our immigrant population, regardless of their individual legal status, with a goal to reform immigration and give those who are living here a path to citizenship.  He intends to incorporate talented young immigrants into our educational system and the work force – instead of terrorizing them out of their homes and lives.    He is the leader of America’s women, a majority of our citizens who are beginning to be elected to public office in record numbers.  He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and has made two appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court – both women (and one of those was a Latina woman).

But it was President Obama’s vocal support of gay rights, referenced twice in yesterday's speech, that truly brought a “closeted” conversation out into the American daylight.   A quarter of a century ago Ronald Reagan spent six years totally ignoring the AIDS epidemic, primarily because it appeared to be rooted in the gay community – a constituency that he chose not to acknowledge.

My how times have changed!

The following lines from the President Obama's inaugural speech say so much about who he is – and so very much about who we are.    Obama’s words are echoes of Jefferson, and Lincoln, and Martin Luther King. 

"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall, just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone, to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth."

Thank you, Mr. President, for including all Americans in your vision of a just future.  You make us proud.

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