Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Barack Obama's speech

I'm torn between preparing for my wedding day (which is taking a considerable amount of time and focus these days) and wanting to just watch/listen to/write about/discuss/blog about the amazing events that are happening during this campaign season. I just read a transcript of Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech that he gave yesterday. As incredible as it is that a woman and an African American are the two Democratic contenders for the presidential nomination, it is even more amazing to me that one of those candidates has spoken about race, using the word racism -- because we often use the word "race" as a euphemism for "racism" -- in such a stark and honest way.

This historic speech deserves so much more attention than I have time for right now, but I'll say that the most startling part of it for me was his acknowledgment of white anger as well as black anger and the racist stalemate we have been stuck in for generations. He didn't deny the fear and resentment of Americans of all races and economic backgrounds or gloss over the roots of that fear and resentment. He pulled it all out of the shadows and placed it in the light of public debate. It was a speech that included everyone. He didn't just address white people. He didn't just address black and white people. He did a pretty good job of including all of us. For Barack Obama to give a speech on the racism of all Americans, in the middle of a close presidential race, shows a bravery I never expected of anyone running for office.

It still doesn't make him Jesus, but it does make him a unprecedented political figure making a truly historic statement.

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