Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well."

Please watch this speech, if haven't already. Huffington Post has also put the transcript online if you want to read it.

Once, when I was very young, my mother told me that, had Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived, he would have been our first black president. I think we can see the negative spin which has already started against this speech of Barack Obama's and realize that my mom's view was not merely wishful thinking, but from another era. That was back in the day before the 24 hour news cycle and the politics of personal destruction. That was back when we didn't necessarily trust the politicians, but we trusted the journalists who reported on them.

Barack Obama did something today which, I believe he has been doing throughout his campaign: he challenged the status quo. He challenged the people who profit from fomenting other people's intolerance, fear and hatred. Those people will not let go of their power without a fight. There have always been people so attached to their "us vs. them" worldview that they will give no quarter to anyone who they perceive to be on the "other side." For some so-called journalists, it is safer and more profitable to appeal to that aspect of people's character than to appeal to something more. They are no different from the politicians. I have no other explanation for their reaction to this speech. I wonder if these people even heard the same speech I did.

My first reaction, upon reading this speech (I didn't watch it live) was that this will be a speech that schoolchildren will be reading about in textbooks a hundred years from now. This is a speech which I feel I have waited my entire adult life to hear. This is a speech which gives us the opportunity to talk about race in America, a topic about which we don't feel comfortable speaking, because we feel ashamed of a past we cannot change. We feel so powerless in the face of that past and our present, so ignore it and hope that by pretending it isn't a problem, race will no longer be a problem in our society's future. This speech offered me hope that we can address the issues and it made me proud because I believe we are up to the challenge, set forth by our Founding Fathers, of forming a more perfect union.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Lostcheerio said...

I agree. I was proud of your guy when he gave that speech. It was thoughtful, honest, subtle, and reasoned. Unfortunately it's being completely trivialized and purposefully misunderstood by the jackasses on the right. Whatever. We heard what he said.

8:59 AM, March 21, 2008  

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