Friday, April 24, 2009

"...recognize ourselves in each other..."

Yesterday, President Obama spoke at a Capitol Hill ceremony honoring the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Days of Remembrance, the theme of which was Never Again: What You Do Matters.

In the speech he gave at the ceremony, President Obama highlighted the fact that the same fears & ignorance (including homophobia) that helped to give birth to & nurtured the Holocaust, are sadly afflicting the human race even now:
"To this day, there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened, who perpetrate every form of intolerance--racism and anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism and more--hatred that degrades its victim and diminishes us all.

Today and every day, we have an opportunity as well as an obligation to confront these scourges, to fight the impulse to turn the channel when we see images that disturb us or wrap ourselves in the false comfort that others’ sufferings are not our own."

President Obama also spoke of the innate power in the human ability to examine our own hearts when we see all around us examples of humankind’s cruelty to its own. He challenged us not to give in to the urge to look away when we see the inevitable effects of that cruelty. He called on people of good will to use the ugliness foisted upon us as an impetus to challenge the status quo; as a way to re-dedicate ourselves to the idea that we can change this world, but only as long as we believe we can, and as long as we're ready to back up our good intentions with equally good actions:
"…we have the opportunity to make a habit of empathy, to recognize ourselves in each other, to commit ourselves to resisting injustice and intolerance and indifference, in whatever forms they may take…"
Amen, Mr. President.


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