Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall

I can’t think of a time that a president has so directly, forcefully, thoughtfully, and eloquently argued that we must pay attention to those whose voices are weakest if we want our country to fulfill its promise.

Happy.

Some critics, most prominently Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, have been loudly criticizing Obama for ignoring poverty. And I agree that income inequality threatens both our ideals and our security.

Well, Mr. So and So mentioned poverty several times, twice using the actual word.

He advocated establishing fair pay for women, slowing down climate change, achieving marriage equality, and eliminating poverty.

He articulated these goals as endemic to the founding principles of our country. Rooted in our deepest history.

He made it sound obvious that until every person in our country has genuinely equal opportunity, we will not have met the expectations of our Declaration of Independence.

We are not free until every single one of us is free. Which means free to marry, to get a worthy education, to be safe in school, to be protected from our increasingly lethal wind, rain, and snow. Free to vote without intimidation. Free to eat when hungry. Free to see a doctor when sick. Free to get paid fairly, when we have paying jobs.

Freedom means much more, it seems, than it used to.

Astonishing.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

As Melissa Harris-Perry tweeted, Mr. So and So’s a straight-ahead political philosopher. Make no mistake.

Now to the work of making it happen.

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