Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's powerful speech: A More Perfect Union

Complete text of speech.

Update: Reviews on Obama's speech:

Charles Murray, author of the Bell Curve:

I read the various posts here on "The Corner," mostly pretty ho-hum or critical about Obama's speech. Then I figured I'd better read the text (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn't). I've just finished. Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I'm concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we're used to from our pols.

The question is really whether America has already decided Obama is too black to be president. If that line has been crossed, than there's really nothing he can do to convince them otherwise. Ultimately though, you have to wonder whether Obama being marginalized because of his race (and whatever you think of Wright, putting his words in Obama's mouth is about seeing Obama as the sum of racial fears) was an "if," rather than a "when".
Whether or not he gets elected, his candidacy has complicated the way we talk about race in America. On some level, that has to be a good thing.

Oliver Willis:
One of my personal maxims has been that politicians will disappoint you. The ones you like will have personal failings, while the ones you detest will fail time and time again. With Senator Obama, for the first time in my life, I have watched a political leader who I don’t worry if he’ll be up to the task.
It’s like you had Michael Jordan in his prime or Joe Montana with 2 minutes to go. It’s that feeling where you say to yourself: Ok, breathe, he’s got it.
Chill, Barack’s got it.

My Review:
I thought that his speech was courageous about the race issue. It transcended politics. His approach is one of healing internal fractures. What it'll do to advance racial division and discussion of unity in our country simply cannot be underestimated. It refused to ignore any "truth" from any side of the racial divide, and yet, encouraged us to work together to make our country better.
No "political correctness" here. It was a more vivid perspective on the past 150 years of American history. What a great speech that will be long-studied in political rhetoric and sociology classes. I thought this paragraph was particularly brilliant:
The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his ownmembers to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.


Sohrab said...

Serendip, I appreciate your characterization of Obama and I'm very much open to his politics of national unity and consensus.

By the way, we seem to navigate similar sectors of the blogosphere. I encourage you to visit my blog: http://www.iranianfreedom.wordpress.com

I think you will appreciate some of my ideas, and I could certainly benefit from your feedback and insights.

Winston said...

Hussein Obama is a radical racist himself and his church is a racist one forr sure. It'll be tragedy if he becomes the president...

barmakid said...

Up with Obama, down with Chelsea's mama!