Friday, March 21, 2008

Obama's Speech

If you haven't watched Obama's race speech yet, please do so.

It's noteworthy, I think, that this speech prompted Jon Stewart to a moment of seriousness reminiscent of his brilliant (I mean it) Crossfire diatribe. There was no joking in his eyes (though the serious irony was pointed) when he summed up the speech as "an American politician speaking to Americans about race as though they were adults." In this speech Obama has done what Stewart pleaded with Crossfire to do: he moved beyond easy partisanship, told some uneasy truths, and has therefore gotten us somewhere* new. In Obama we'd have a president who not only understands and acknowledges the anger on both sides of a major issue, but makes bold to explain each side to the other, and proposes a solution.

But please, whoever your candidate of choice may be, just watch this--for its historical value, if for nothing else.

(It's just under 40 minutes, in 10-minute segments here)

* Yes, I am aware that the term "somewhere" is vague. I am aware that in general Obama gives us hope and visions and inspiration...about something vague. But I think in this race he has to. First, because Hillary so clearly has him beat on being able to talk all wonky-like. He can't hope to compete. Second, because when it comes down to specifics, their platforms are nearly identical. The value-added of Obama, the thing that makes him distinctive, is his ability to inspire and the way in which he does it--through truly thoughtful analysis and the courage to not just "tell truth to power" but to tell truth about power while in a powerful position himself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm still feeling a bit of euphoria from the speech. I didn't get a chance to watch it until the day after but I haven't stopped replaying it in my head since. I risk being corny when I say this, but it felt like bing a part of history: like this will be something we'll look back on as an important moment in the history of race relations. That is, if he becomes president. If he doesn't, then I fear it will fade into the background of punditry and media noise.