Tuesday, January 22, 2013

seneca falls, selma, stonewall

Barack Obama's Presidency has been problematic for any number of reasons. For me, it has been a highly-charged and paradoxical jumble of hope and disappointment. As a left-leaning, arugula-eating homo, of course, I've been thrilled with the strides that have been made by this administration's acknowledgment and support of LGBT issues. Unfortunately, I've been equally distressed by a great many other issues that either pass under the radar or go unreported by the majority of media outlets: drone strikes, the continuation of the Bush era anti-terror policies (wire taps, indefinite detainment, etc.), the continuation of tax cuts and corporate loopholes, and the refusal to acknowledge an unjust prison industrial complex that decimates African-American, Latino, and poor communities while nefarious Wall Street fat cats walk free. I also have an incessant disenchantment (that occasionally fluctuates to anger) with this administration's general inability to stand up against the radical right-wing tyrants who've managed to hold the nation hostage these past four years simply out of spite

That said, yesterday as I watched the second inauguration of President Obama, I felt hope, pride of country, respect, and true change. Yesterday, when the President addressed climate change, my heart skipped a beat thinking that maybe, just maybe this second term will reveal a man with so steely and determined a core that he will stand up to the imperious, truculent fringe who are more concerned with self-promotion than serving their constituents or their country. I am old enough to have seen friends, strong young men, whither with disease and die needlessly partly because President Reagan refused to even say the word AIDS. Standing in front of the nation and the world, President Obama said, "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..." and I felt something expand in my chest; something more than pride, more than respect or patriotism, or even hope; I felt recognized.

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