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    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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    1. Mark on Jan 20, 2009 2:43:19 PM:

      It was a very good speech, and I, like many LGBT people, heard myself mentioned in the passage you quote. While I was not expecting the 'g word' (let alone the L B or T), it will be a slightly brighter day when gay people are no longer the only ones who must recognize themselves in code. (To us we heard our inclusion. To those who think nothing of us, they heard nothing of us.) But yes, a dark era has ended.

    1. jpeckjr on Jan 23, 2009 12:31:02 PM:

      I was watching and listening with a friend. When President Obama (yes, that does feel good!) alluded to I Corinthians 13 -- time has come to set aside childish things -- my friend turned to me and said "Do you think George Bush knows he's being dissed?"

      I think GWB does know that he is immensely unpopular. He's just not capable emotionally and intellectually of understanding why.

      Well, Barack Obama is President now and concern for the feelings of George W. Bush or John McCain or their supporters cannot guide either his words or his policy decisions.

      For eight years, I could hardly say anything to my Republican friends. Any questioning of Mr. Bush's policies prompted a reaction of indignation. I found this reaction childish and immature, just like George Bush. I have these words for those who want to be indigant over what President Obama says: Shut the hell up and take it like an adult!

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