Monday, January 21, 2013

"We, The People"

"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."

President Obama's second Inaugural Address alluded to Martin Luther King as much in style as it did it content.  Lilting, alliterative, and structured through repetition and anaphora, today's speech was progressive poetry.

And when he stunned most people with a direct reference to gay rights, President Obama changed the conversation.  How audacious and how surprising.  He came full circle on that issue, and he did it right in front of us.

Early in the day, the media seemed fixated on the muted excitement of the crowd compared to the emotional mayhem of 2009.   I liked it.  It felt mature.  

Today he was discussed as a second term president, as a liberal, and as a guy who chews a lot of nicotine gum -  but rarely was he discussed as the first black President.

It seems as though we have learned to judge him by the content of his character, and not by the color of his skin.

Happy Birthday, Martin.