Monday, January 21, 2013

"* From Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall . . ."

The Sibilant Hiss of History's Syllogistic Slither Toward Equality

Seneca Falls Convention for Women's Suffrage, 1848

Martin Luther King leads the march for civil rights over the Selma, Alabama Edmund Pettus Bridge, 1965

Gay Rights' advocates after the arrest of patrons at Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn, 1969

In his second Inaugural Address today, President Barack Obama invoked with hissing sibilance  America's centuries-long slither toward equality as the forces of oppression and  rebellion snaked in a slow-motion syllogistic dance of death toward equal rights for all: "from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall."

That sibilant hiss of history  was the most memorable phrase in his Inaugural Address which may in fact be his coming out party--- not as a gay male but as the true radical egalitarian he has always wanted to be.

His self-declared "evolution" on gay marriage  rights as president was nothing of the sort.  

He, like Lincoln with the Emancipation Proclamation, waited until the moment was politically safe (after his Roman Catholic vice president had tested the waters the week before by declaring he thought gay people ought to enjoy the same right to marry as straight people) to publicly support in a press conference as president equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian people.

His positions on civil rights for blacks and for women had been clear during his first years as president. His position on marriage rights for gays had needed time to "evolve" before Mr. Obama could take the political pre-election risk of declaring it.

And declare it he did again today in no less than an Inaugural Address.

I wonder if this was the first time the  sexual preference term 'gay' had been used in an inaugural address?

My hunch is yes. 

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