January 20, 2009
A sharp but hopeful speech
Posted by: Chris
It was an inaugural speech of sharp distinctions and change more than idealistic unity or the marking of a historical first. I'm not sure how I would feel if I were a supporter of George W. Bush or John McCain, but President Obama -- ahh, that feels good writing! -- certainly did not disappoint those of us yearning for a clean break.
For a politician often accused of overly lofty rhetoric, it was a down and dirty and direct address. For those of us committed to equality and civil rights for gay Americans, there was this powerful statement:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
The words are general enough to provide inspiration and hope to any number of groups, and no doubt fell short for those waiting in hopes for "the G word." But after eight years of wedge politics and opposition to basic civil rights and equality, they were powerful words indeed.
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