On Thursday, President Barack Obama took the stage in Charlotte to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for re-election and define “who we are” as a nation. Obama urged supporters to secure the change he started, amidst a deafening chorus of voices chanting, “Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!”
While pundits have asserted that the president fell flat, “with nary an interesting thematic device, policy detail, or even one turn of phrase,” he did give a shout out to the gays about halfway through the 40 minute, 4,458-word speech:
We don’t think the government can solve all of our problems, but we don’t think the government is the source of all of our problems any more than our welfare recipients or corporations or unions or immigrants or gays or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles because, America, we understand that this democracy is ours.
We, the people recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only, what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.
As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That’s what we believe.
Perhaps not the soaring oratory he delivered in 2008, the address offered a familiar dose of hopeful reflection. Said Barack Obama, “So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens — you were the change.”
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