Sunday, September 27, 2015

QUEER QUOTE: Excerpt From President Obama's Remarks At DNC LGBT Event in New York City

Today's Queer Quote is an excerpt from President Obama's remarks to a DNC LGBT fundraiser at Gotham Hall on Sunday evening where he was introduced by lead plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court marriage equality case Jim Obergefell.

The President ended his remarks with these rousing sentiments:
Harvey Milk once said, “If a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone.”  But to those of us who’ve made it through those doors, we've got a unique obligation to reach back and make sure other people can make it through those doors, too.  (Applause.)  We have a responsibility to stand up to bigotry -- not just against us, but against anybody, anywhere.  (Applause.) We have a responsibility to stand up for freedom -- not just our own freedom, but for everybody’s freedom.  (Applause.)  We speak up to condemn hatred against anybody -- gay or straight, black or white, Christian, Muslim, Jew, non-believer, immigrant -- (applause) -- because we remember what silence felt like when hatred was directed at us, and we've got to be champions on behalf of justice for everybody, not just our own.  (Applause.)

That's what makes us human.  And that's America at its best -- our ability to connect, our ability to see ourselves in somebody else.  To be an ally to the marginalized, to the dispossessed, to the discriminated against.  To recognize our joy and our struggles and our fears and our hope and our love in somebody else.

Maybe it’s the trans activist demanding dignity.  Maybe it’s the immigrant hoping to contribute, or the middle-class kid struggling to pay for college.  Maybe it’s the woman denied equal pay, the African-American denied the right to vote, the worker denied a living wage.  Their stories may not be ours, but surely we can see our stories in theirs.  We can make their fight our own.

And in the end, that’s what makes me proudest to be a Democrat.  (Applause.)  I think we're right on most policy issues.  I think that we have the better argument in economics and foreign affairs.  But at the core of this party today as it's currently constituted -- and we have to remind ourselves that it hasn’t always been that way.  There have been times where the Democratic Party stood in the way of progress.  And there have been times where Republicans, like Abraham Lincoln and Everett Dirksen, stood on the right side of change.

Right now, what makes me proudest about being a Democrat is, is that at our core, we really do believe in everybody having a shot.  At our core, we really do believe that that's not just a theoretical assertion, but it's an obligation.  It compels us.  It's part of one American family -- to fight on behalf of those who haven't had the same kind of chances that we do.  To make sure that everybody has dignity and respect, and that every kid out there is able to live out their dreams.

We mean it when we say that all are created equal.  And we understand that that has to be operative in our own individual lives, but we also have to express it through the common enterprise called government.  We mean it when we say that in this country, of all countries, everyone deserves an equal shot.
And so, Democrats, over the next 14 months, we have to work even harder than we did when I was first on the ballot.  We're going to have to work harder to protect the gains that we’ve made.  We're going to have to work harder to widen the circle of opportunity for all who strive for it.  It will not be easy.  There’s always a contest in this country since its founding between hope and fear.  What makes America special is, is that though sometimes we zig and zag, eventually hope wins out.  But it only wins out because folks like you put your shoulder behind the wheel and push it in that direction.

That was true in the past.  That will be true in the future. I look forward to working with you to make sure it happens in this election cycle.
Fired up, ready to go!

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