An excellent article that rightly captures what has always been one of America’s strengths – how rapidly we can shift to do the right thing.
As Cohen states:
What has always made America a great nation is that for all our many flaws, we are established on a creed, one that is perhaps the simplest and yet most powerful political idea ever articulated, namely that all men are created equal. Living up to that ideal has been America’s arduous journey for 240 years and at the end of these 10 days we got that much closer to it.
In a large, populous and diverse nation, it can often take some time to move forward. Sometimes we move backwards for a bit. But often when it happens here, it happens with a rapidity that can take the breath away.
For the month of June 2015 saw large steps forward on the the rest of that grand sentence from the Declaration of Independence enumerating some of the inalienable rights.
It saw the extension of America’s ideals in the forceful rejection of racial bigotry for the pursuit of liberty.
It also saw the extension of America’s ideals in the state recognition of gay marriage for the pursuit of happiness.
And saw the extension of America’s ideals in medical benefits for the pursuit of life.
And then all of this, all that makes America such a special story, was wrapped up in one incredible eulogy delivered by the first President of African descent. To hear such a man, whose personal story embodies so much of the American dream and its ideals, end his speech with a moving rendition of “Amazing Grace” was to hear America at its best.
(As an aside – watch how he sets up the moment. He waits 10 seconds in silence, confusing the audience with the dead space. Then he sings the same words he spoke 10 seconds earlier. As his surprisingly vibrant voice carries on, everyone rapidly and excitedly embraces the song. They are no longer simply passive receptacles for his words but enthusiastic participants in the eulogy. Amazing.)
“ I once was lost. But now am found. Was blind, but now I see.”
As Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
It bent quite a lot in the month of June, in the year 2015. History will remember.
Image: FLAG Program