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Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy

Obama’s New Presidency
Starts with Civil Rights

By Angela Vitaliano

Translated By Micaela Bester

11 January 2012

Edited by Natalie Clager


Italy - Il Fatto Quotidiano - Original Article (Italian)

There are those who say that “all presidents are alike” and nothing changes.

There are also those who say that “really there is much else to worry about and these things are unimportant.” Therefore, these things are meaningless.

And there are, furthermore, those who say that “really America is dumb anyway.” Therefore, it is better not to take any notice.

The fact remains that the history of humanity changes even through apparently small acts and symbols. Such as when Rosa Parks sat on a bus, rightly not caring about segregation which disallowed blacks from sitting in places reserved for whites.

And if once the blacks were slaves, today they sit in the White House. When women once did not have the right to vote, today they are judges of the Supreme Court and secretaries of state. When gays once had to hide and pretend to be “different” from who they really were, today they are more and more often allowed to marry and adopt children.

But changes happen also because there are leaders who push things in a way conducive to change. Just like Barack Obama is doing.

It is therefore unsurprising, but exciting nonetheless, that the poet whom the president has chosen, as is traditional, for his inauguration is young (the youngest yet), Cuban (the first Hispanic) and openly gay. Indeed Richard Blanco, a poet known and loved in the United States, where he now lives, will be in Washington on Jan. 21 to celebrate the inauguration of the new presidency of Obama with his verses.

And thus, with a (not only) symbolic gesture, Barack Obama will say to his country, which re-elected him last Nov. 6, that it is time to make a step forward on the road of civil rights: with a serious law on immigration and with the federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

And he will do it with the poetry of Richard Blanco “born in Cuba, assembled in Spain and imported to the United States.” The essence, therefore, of the best spirit of this country.



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