January 24, 2013 4:45PM

Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall, Cont’d

Like my colleague Michael, I found “Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall” the best moment in President Obama’s address. It was unifying: by going far enough back in time, it summoned up (as a recitation of current controversies would not) a sense that in historical perspective, nearly all present‐​day Americans have come to agree on crucial fundamentals about not using the law to mistreat each other. I especially liked the touch of geographical obscurity. It makes me imagine a million explanatory conversations going on this week from Kalamazoo to Karachi: “Okay, so *that’s* why Americans still talk about Selma and Stonewall. Now what was Seneca Falls about?” That could be time well spent.