Lots and lots of nice, and nicely-wrought, Jeffersonian echoes, to my ears, in Obama’s speech today.
We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. . . .
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still.
That’s a pretty terrific little phrase: “while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing.” Very annoyed I didn’t think of that myself.