“Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall”

Without getting too in-depth for now about President Obama’s stirring Second Inaugural, I fully expect this speech to find its way into future anthologies of great American oratory. That one paragraph —

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.

— encapsulates the entire theme of the speech, tracing the grand trajectory of America’s great battles for expanded civil rights, but also making his broader point that the good of each individual cannot be separated from the greater good. Hearing his mention of Stonewall send a chill down my spine; it was never a word I thought I’d hear any president say, much less in an inaugural address, and I was born sixteen years after Stonewall. Still this one paragraph, more than the others, will be one that is not forgotten.

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~ by Benji on 22 January 2013.

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