A Brighter Future for All

Photo by Obama 2012 Campaign
Peter Rosenstein and Barack Obama
Peter Rosenstein and Barack Obama

On January 21, 2013 Barack Obama shared his vision for our future in a stirring inaugural address.  It is a vision that includes us all. In eighteen and a half minutes, just 2,114 words, he spoke of an America that continues to strive to live up to its full promise.

He spoke the words of our founding fathers, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, as he reminded us what our nation stands for.  He spoke those words on the day we also celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. and the dream he had all those years later. It is a dream we still share today and one that is yet to be fully realized.

President Obama reminded us, “That while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth”. He spoke of the how we must change and understand the brilliance of our founding documents and how they allowed us to determine that in a modern economy and the free market we can set new rules that will ensure fair play. He reminded us that we have never “relinquished our skepticism of central authority nor succumbed to the fiction that all societies’ ills can be cured through government alone.  But we have always understood that what when times change so must we. That fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges and that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”

I sat in awe of our nation and a people who have come from embracing slavery to reelecting our first African American President. And I am in awe of my President who understands that the nation while coming this far has still so far to go to form that perfect Union.

I have had the honor in my lifetime of meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. and working for a lion in the fight for women’s rights, Bella S. Abzug. I have also come to accept and embrace that I am gay. So it brought tears to my eyes when President Obama spoke the words, “We the people declared today that most evident of truths- that all of us are created equal- is the star that guides us still just at it guided our forbearers through the long road of our nation from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall.”

He spoke of the journey that is not complete until we are really all equal with protections under the law. He spoke of acting even when we know that our work will be imperfect. He challenged us all to move forward today and recognize that future generations will continue to build on our victories as we have built on those of past generations.

While  everyone may not cheer all his words it is my fervent hope that they will accept his challenge to America to “join in common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom”.