Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two Historic Tuesday Speeches

Yesterday certainly wasn't a boring Tuesday.  Two important speeches with the potential for enormous long-term impact were delivered.  President Obama fully embraced the language and message of the Occupy Wall Street movement in his economic speech in Osawatomie, Kansas.  Not only is this one of the few times a politician has even recognized the economic forces behind OWS, this speech is a major public policy affirmation of the need for America to take serious aim at addressing the causes of our current financial woes.  He frequently cited statistics that Occupiers have referenced, decrying the disparity of wealth in this country and the increasing inability of hard working Americans to pursue dreams available to other recent generations.

As if this speech weren't noteworthy enough, another speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton easily topped it for global import and potential impact.  Secretary Clinton was speaking before the United Nations in recognition of International Human Rights Day at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.  Her remarks laid before the world community in words clear and strong that the rights of LGBT people are human rights.  She articulated in no uncertain terms that all nations should address LGBT rights with the same diligence that has been given since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to women, to indigenous people, to children, to people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.

In years to come, these two speeches may be remembered as watershed moments in these two movements.  Both give the progressive community great reason for hope.