The inauguration of struggle

The people onstage at the Inauguration today, in spirit and in person, have always been a part of history in one form another, if you knew where to look and did the work. They’ve just never been this visible, nor this powerful.   A grandiose ceremony like an inauguration is about visibility as much as it is about repeating foundational rhetoric. Barack Obama’s second inauguration explicitly made the argument that not only did all those citizens — female and queer and brown and immigrant and belonging to different generations — belong there, but that they had come there through a necessary struggle to make all of America what it promised to be.The most important line in Obama’s speech, to my mind, was, “For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing.” Closing the gap between the country’s pledge of liberty and equality and the lived reality of the centuries didn’t just happen. First there were radical struggles, the ones Obama invoked when he said that the self-evident truth of equality “is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.” Yes, that’s right: Our forebears. Our country. It’s a vision that recognizes separate experiences yet suggests they are not forces for division, but for a more honest unity.Continue Reading…


The inauguration of struggle

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