Obama's second inaugural is a political speech
Obama referenced the 1969 Stonewall riots against police harassment by patrons of a New York City gay bar, classing them as a civil rights watershed along with key moments in the struggles for women and blacks. The president said that the truth that all are created equal guides us today "just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall."
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," the president said to applause from the crowd down the National Mall, "for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well." It was a line that would never have been uttered in an inaugural address before — not even in Obama's first, since he changed his position to become the first president to support gay marriage just last year.
There was just a passing reference to the school shooting in Connecticut that hangs over a looming debate on gun control. "Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm," Obama said.
Obama said Americans have never succumbed to the fiction that government is the total solution. "But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action," the president argued.
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