obama’s speech on race

18Mar08

I heard someone describe it as towering. I think that’s accurate. Tremendous potential for this country to move somewhere it has never been inherent in the characterizations he made of race and even the tolerance of people who have racial anger on all sides… all the way up to your racist granny! That’s pretty groundbreaking.

Whether it solves the short term pastor problem in everyone’s eyes was relegated to something that is pretty much beside the point. General election politics from here out is going to come down to something like a battle between good and evil. Obama set himself historically on the right side in that struggle.

All of that stuff is important. But maybe one of the most important aspects of the speech is that it called upon the better natures of everyone in a fractured Democratic party. Lot of wounds on both sides. He stood there as a leader of the Democratic party and said don’t forget what we are all about, what we should be all about, what we claim to be about as Democrats and liberals.

There was an opening or an opportunity there for a true leader to step up in the Democratic party and Obama showed that we don’t need an Al Gore or someone like that, or one of these losers like Howard Dean or Nancy Pelosi to step up and lead the Democratic party and constituency out of this primary mess. He is that leader or one part of that co-leadership.

But make no mistake, Obama set himself apart from everyone with this speech.

Personally, he spoke about the America I’ve dreamed about my entire life. So hearing a potential President of the United States articulating what I think and feel this country should be about was a watershed moment for me. I support Hillary Clinton for president and I will continue to do so until the day when she is no longer a candidate. And I hope that day doesn’t come in this campaign.

But I’d like to think that Barack Obama could be the President of the United States. I’d like to think that people everywhere in this country could watch and hear this speech and want a Barack Obama to lead us all to being the kind of America I’ve always dreamed of.

I can only hope that the vast majority of people who saw this speech, and a plurality of voters in November, all want the same things.

Hillary made a speech today not long after Obama’s. She certainly didn’t talk about gender politics. It was actually hard to listen to after Obama’s speech and one network cut away from it after a bit and as they did the anchor only commented on the fact that she mentioned Obama’s speech and that she hadn’t seen it.

Hillary was droning on endlessly about a couple of real snoozer issues in comparsion to Obama’s historic address on the issue of race in America. Those being the economy and the war in Iraq.

Now I also have to add something else. As far as the economy, personally, we’re doing fine in this household and we’re going to be doing fine (almost) no matter how bad the economy gets. And the truth is, as these Cali home prices tumble, in a couple of years we might pick up a dream house here on the Westside of LA at something like 1997 prices. So I’m not connecting on the economy like I’m sure many Americans are.

As far as the war… jeez… I’m sensing that something fundamental has shifted in Iraq. After all that we’ve done wrong… things might finally being going in our direction there. This is something that is being whispered at the New York Times and from people like Robin Wright of the Washington Post and many others. It’s kind of getting obvious at this point. I’ve said repeatedly that the war in Iraq could be a liability instead of an advantage for these two anti-war Dems come the general election.

So as far as these two biggest issues of the current political climate… I’m kind of disconnected. On the other hand, race, racial politics, racial injustice… this stuff taps into my deepest political core. So maybe it was just ME who found it hard to listen to Hillary Clinton following Obama’s historic and inspirational speech.

Problem is, politically, only a sliver of the Democratic party and even less of the country at large wants to enter into a soul wrenching national dialog on RACE RELATIONS in this election cycle. The last thing the democratic party would have wanted is a black candidate squarely focusing the country on racial injustices and an effort at healing divisions. I think, after this magnificent speech, however, that this where we might be heading. I hope Obama’s speech puts the issue of race to rest as far as public discourse till a Democrat has won in November.

But right now, that election victory seems a long way off.

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