Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What David Said

David Horsey posted a thoughtful, even lovely, column yesterday, reflecting on the import of President Obama's second inauguration.  I think he nailed it in one.  I recommend you read the entire column (which isn't very long), but here's a taste:

The spirits of two great men, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., stood watch over the West Front of the United States Capitol on Monday as Barack Obama took the oath to serve a second term as president with his left hand placed on two Bibles -- one Lincoln’s and one King’s.

The event not only fell on the King holiday and 50 years after King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but also came within days of the 150thanniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Without the revolutionary changes for which Lincoln and King were martyred, Barack Obama’s presidency would not be possible. This was abundantly apparent four years ago when he became the nation’s first African American chief executive, but it seems no less remarkable and significant the second time around. ...

The residue of the racism that once justified slavery is still evident. There is no doubt that Obama would not be such a hugely controversial and maligned figure in some political circles and in certain parts of the country if he were white. The good news is that the beast of racial bias is cornered and dying. Obama’s reelection is proof of that and, perhaps, that is why the second inauguration of the man seems to be as important a marker of our progress away from slavery, Jim Crow and bigotry as was his first. The first time might have been a fluke; the second time is evidence of real change.


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