President Barack Obama has been called a sellout.
He has been called a crook. He has been called a Muslim. He has been called a terrorist, a “lion African,” a Kenyan, an illegal alien, a Manchurian candidate, a socialist, a racist, a Communist, and a dick.
His motives have been questioned. His legislative victories for women’s rights, for gay rights, for children’s health and the health of 9/11 first responders have been called into question, downplayed, excused and opposed even by those who claimed to support the type of change he knew was necessary and thought was possible during his 2008 campaign for the presidency.
The one caveat of his mission, the one point he knew he had to emphasize daily both for those who stood with him and those who doubted him from day one, was that change would not come easily.
During the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial, President Obama renewed his request for patience, persistence and continued dedication in a speech that both honored the Civil Rights hero and contextualized the fight for equality that continues to this day.
The following excerpt of Obama’s speech is worth reading a thousand times over. I ask only that you read it once, and that while so doing you think of the wars, the budget cuts, the attacks on women’s rights, the right’s resistance to both social and economic justice, the growing economic inequality, the opposition to health care reform and financial regulation reform, and the hundreds of other actions he’s taken in an effort to curb the injustices of both the minorities and the masses in America who have been unequally represented in government, and that you put these individual battles into the context they require for fully grasping the real historical significance of electing our first black president.
[Read the transcript and watch the video after the jump]