Obama’s speech on race
This speech. This speech. It was a breath of fresh air for me, honestly. My support was waning a bit, but not nearly enough to say I wasn’t a supporter. And it didn’t have to do with Clinton’s 3 AM commercial or any of her negative campaigning [funny how during that time my respect for her increased, for very different reasons]. I was trying to figure things out. In any case, reading the comments at various news sites upsets me, so I usually avoid them. After this speech, many anti-Obama’s, who were already against him before, just called him a liar, repeatedly.
I think it was brave of him to answer, head on, the topic of race, which he was dodging for most of this primary season. I’m glad to hear him acknowledge its existence and manifestations. That he didn’t discount his Reverend in total and tried to explain the anger. I think it’s true of the “Black Experience” though I haven’t experienced it. It was interesting that he admitted the failings of government welfare.
I don’t see anything he said as blatantly contradicting his past statements [but I haven’t been following the pastor controversy closely as I felt it was just a media distraction, and same with Ferrero/Clinton], I could be wrong. Still, the general ideas have stayed in tact.
It was eloquent, honest, sincere; it was brilliant and its message was that race is not a simple matter. It cannot be boiled down to a thirty second analysis on the evening news and it has to be confronted before it can be transcended. Some pundits don’t think this will be enough to convince “middle America” that Obama is on the right side of this debate; that it may just give more fodder to Clinton and McCain since Obama can “no more disown [Reverend Wright] than [he] can disown the black community” (pundits have also jumped on this particular sentence).
I hope to have more faith in the American people; that they overlook this simplicity and accept racism as it is, on both sides, and understand where Obama is coming from.
I have heard many critics of this candidate call him a liar after this speech, and fail to see where they come to this conclusion, at least as much a liar as most politicians.
There was so much to be talked about in this forty minute speech, but hopefully America and the media will take his advice:
For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle — as we did in the O.J. trial — or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina — or as fodder for the nightly news.
We can play Rev. Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words.
We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.
We can do that.
But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.
That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children.
This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st Century economy. Not this time.
This time we want to talk about how the lines in the emergency room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care, who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.
This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life.
This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.
This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag.
We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.