The Amazing Race

I wanted to wait until I could see and read Barack Obama’s speech in its entirety before I wrote about it. I wanted to watch the news broadcasts and see if I could discern any criticism of his message, or glean if his detractors could stand to gain from his delivery. Thus far, response has been overwhelmingly positive. His speech was 35 minutes long, but this particular excerpt really moved me.

To paraphrase for those of you who can’t watch videos or who haven’t yet heard his words –

“…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 OJ 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 Reverend 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.”

NOT THIS TIME. That says it all right there. This is why he’s my candidate of choice. It goes so much deeper than supporting him based on the color of his skin. It’s the content of his character, and the depth of his message.

Obama’s efforts to elevate the discussion, and move us all past the stumbling blocks of race, are truly inspiring to me. He’s trying to shed light on important issues without adding heat to an already-charged discourse. But still, there are those who insist that he’s talking without really saying anything. Still there are those who label him racist without truly absorbing his intended message. Click around on YouTube and the number of haters might astound you.

I sincerely hope what Obama’s saying here turns out to be true. I sincerely hope he wins this election, and proves to be the kind of great leader that this country so desperately needs — someone who can repair the international rifts that have been created in the last eight years of idiocy — recently mocked in song by the current president. I sincerely hope that the people vote with their heads and their hearts, instead of using baser instincts to guide their decisions. I sincerely hope that Obama is right.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. I thought the speech was well done. He is appealing to American decency and took an excellent step forward as a politician in discussing the trappings of race in America.

    I think Sen. Obama is a good man with a good heart and is human and flawed just like the rest of us. I support him and will vote for him if the opportunity presents itself.

  2. My parents lived through the assassination of MLK. I’ve now lived through the media assassination of Barak. He has plummeted in the polls. It’s over folks. I’m deflated…..

  3. Don’t be deflated just yet, Jamie — Barack still leads in delegates, and the CBS poll that addressed the effects of Pastor Wright’s comments was taken before Obama’s speech.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/03/18/opinion/polls/main3948010.shtml?source=mostpop_story

    If you’re truly backing Obama’s campaign, I hope your convictions stay strong in the face of this adversity. Stay positive! Yes we can!

  4. I thought his speech was concise and well thought out. It challenged me to think a little differently about some things. I have been watching the news this morning and hearing words like… honorable and strong leadership qualities to describe Mr. Obama. One reporter even said for the first time he felt like someone addressed the American public like adults and not children. Even the pundits who tried to find fault couldn’t. Barack Obama should be the next president of the United States. This man has the power to change the WORLD!

  5. No matter what happens in November I’m proud to be an Obama supporter.

    It’s time we laid all the cards on the table and speak frankly. This is tricky time for Obama. We have a short (or no) memory in this country. I understand why some men of Rev. Wright’s generation feel the way they do. It infuriates me to see the Sean Hannitys take the Reverend’s words out of context. I thought Obama did a great job in talking about these issues in a way that was honest and thought provoking.

  6. You I had church …. I caught the spirit listing to this man. As my boyfriend called him “A Brilliant, Smove ( Not Smooth) Brotha”. I want him to be the President for all of us Black, Yellow, Puerto Rican, White. He has said what so many of us ( all races) are afraid to say.. the white man that stands on the elevator with you every morning and says nothing, the lady in the grocery line, the bus driver, the school teacher, the elected officials even notice the Elephant in the room.. and Barrack let the Elephant out to roam freely.

    Last evening and this Morning I heard many news anchors, and News shows guest saying what they were faced with what they went thru, how it affected them . Dialogue is was happened, we Finally have some dialogue.

    We need this man to go all the way it’s time for a Change! And I Sincerely Hope Barrack Can make it happen.

    I feel it in my bones like the Holy Ghost Child !

  7. No other public person could tackle this subject as eloquently as Obama did. I watched Hannity deliberately last night to see what he would say since he was responsible for stirring the Rev Wright pot! Well it appears as if he did not listen to one word! He continue barking the same divisive rhetoric that he gets paid to do. I couldn’t believe it! Then I realize that for some people there is nothing Obama could ever do right by and that’s just the way there are.

    So enough already, his supporter must stay positive, stay focus and together we can move this country forward

  8. I watched a little bit of Sean Hannity last night too. I don;t know, he seemed comical to me. It was like he was reaaaallly trying to make something of nothing. At the end, he kept say, “I’m the one who brokethis story”. I thought he looked pathetic.

    Obama has stood up and he took control of what could have been a disastrous situation. People like Sean Hannity aren’t used to this, they’re used to politician’s ducking and dodging. Obama took this head on and people are now talking about race in America. Something no other politician has EVER HAD THE GUTS TO DO. This man is brilliant!

  9. monisola says:

    Obama is the perfect person to say the things he spoke about in his speech. All of what he said, I myself have realized, but could not express it so eloquently, as he did. The people who mislabel Obama, are the same type of people who insist on putting black people in the “boxes” they feel most comfortable with, historically speaking. Viva, Barack!

  10. I’m glad it moved you.
    I think I had a movement to
    in the bathroom

  11. yes Obama has “judgement to lead”
    yet he couldn’t find the door OUT of that Church
    hm, Even Stevie Wonder could have found the door

    so over

  12. Yay, a hater! Zulu, tell me why you say it’s over, or Obama made you have a movement in the bathroom? Is it just Reverend Wright’s speech? Or is it something more? I’m honestly curious — what negativity did you get from his speech, and why do you think it’s over for him? I am surrounded by Barack Obama supporters everywhere I go — home, work, my friends, everyone I know pretty much. I look at him and I see hope for this country’s future. I’d love to know the real reasons for those who are just out and out anti-Obama. Cause I just don’t get it.

  13. Zulu,

    Firstly, we are all guilty by association. We all know and love someone with EXTREME opinions. Barak’s voting record and legislative accomplishments do not mirror Rev Wright’s opinions. The press has taken snippets of this man’s sermons and ran with it. Rev Wright has also sounded like a white Klansman railing against black laziness and dependence. But you won’t see those sermons. Rev Wright has also helped a community of people that others have ignored and ran away from. But you won’t see that either. What you’ll see is the media’s biased ignorance. Rev Wright is a product of his generation. He was born during the great depression. He was a US Marine who fought for America. Yet, he came back to a country who treated black people with EXTREME hostility, overt LEGALIZED discrimination and disdain. His rage is a reflection of the black American experience.

    I hate American media. This is the same media that fed us the bull s*(^ of the Iraq war.

  14. This speech eloquently spoke to the truths that are reflected in the American culture. At some point we all have thought some of the things Barack mentioned, but haven’t necessarily said outside our “inner circles”. Barack is able to articulate and represent the American People, in an all-inclusive, non-decisive manner. All races, religions backgrounds and experiences. Sadly, this race could never NOT be about race, that would be a fantasy. The reality is America is still a race driven society. Now, I believe it can change, we can change. I believe Barack is the candidate to lead us down the path of change.

  15. Check what Glenn Beck had to say last night then get back to this.
    The Wright conenction is going to turn out to be Obama’s downfall as 1. “white-skinned” Wright is conencted to Farrakhan. 2. He’s very anti-white in his statements. 3. He raised the 9/11 & made it seem he’s glad that America got hit. 4. He’s been spiritual advisor to Obama for over 20 years – by now Obama should know just how he is. 5. What Blacks have to realise is that Hispanics & other “brown” people do not consider themselves black & so they will vote white. 6. Having Wright in his camp is a big mistake.

  16. @ Pets and Zulu,

    Have either of you been paying attention to what the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of the press is saying about Obama? Or are you just focused on the negative??? There will always be detractors, no matter what he does.

  17. Oh, ick. I can’t abide Glenn Beck. Seriously I flip as soon as his stupid face fills the TV screen. I am addicted to Headline News, and I will watch Showbiz Tonight, but I can’t stand Beck or Nancy Grace. Can you just paraphrase what he said for me?

    I think people who were searching for a flaw in Obama have found something they can latch onto and worry away at, in the hopes of eroding his successes. But as long as he keeps reminding people there are REAL ISSUES at stake in this campaign, there’s a WAR that needs to STOP and he is the person with the right ideas to make it happen… I think people who are honestly voting for sincere reasons will still choose him over the other candidates. I hope.

  18. We have to keep in mind, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and even the black guys on FOX dissing Obama are ALL being PAID to do what they do. Its their job to be cynical and to stir up controversy. That’s why when I watch them, all I can see is how pathetic they are. They are getting paid to spew garbage.

  19. Esteban Agosto Reid says:

    Excellent speech on the part of Mr. Barack Obama.Quite frankly,it was a tour de force.It depicted eloquence,a thorough understanding and mastery of race relations,extreme intestinal fortitude(guts)and political courage.Hopefully,it will resonate and impact positively in certain quarters of American society,that are concerned,uneasy,and lack comprehension of the racial dynamics,subtleties,nuances,and undercurrents of a racially bifurcated and dichotomized society/polity.And indeed,challenge such individuals,both blacks and whites to spiritually and intellectually engage themselves introspectively regarding race,with the hope and vision of doing what is right in twenty first century America.Therefore,transcending the politics of race and transforming America into a society of,out of many one people.Admittedly,there are elements within American society,that/who are not interested in political transformation and whose political objective is to maintain the status quo,hence,such elements will certainly raise a relentless and implacable verbal holocaust against Mr.Obama’s campaign for the democratic nomination,specifically,those within the chatocracy.For Mr.Obama’s supporters,please stay strong,the winds of political change are definitely blowing.

  20. I think Zulu/ Pet are white people with fear issues… LOL no person of color would use that name and then say the things he/she/it said What a shame.

    “I don’t fear those that wish me to fail I stand strong, in the face of ignorance”

  21. I don’t read, listen to, or watch mainstream news, but I just finished listening to Obama’s speech. At 42 I haven’t heard in my lifetime another mainstream politician ever speak so openly and eloquently about race in this country. Heaven help us if the American voting public couldn’t really hear what he had to say.

  22. Rockstar Bella says:

    All I got to say is: the more haters Obama the better for him, cause only the strong will survive!! And he has proven this time and time and time and time again that he will and can survive negative media. According to Jill Scott: Hate on me HATERS!!!!

  23. The speech was AMAZING! However, I watched obama on Friday say that he’d never heard his pastor say inflammatory remarks….did I miss something? Can somebody fill me in?

    Regardless, the speech was great.

  24. What does Obama stand for? What has he done? He is from my neighborhood in Chicago, and no one can ever name one accomplishment of the man. He did nothing in Illinois, except hang around with some bad people and win an election by default because everyone else imploded around him. Alan Keyes was never going to win in Illinois. Obama has done nothing for the people of Illinois, all he has done since being elected is run for President. The best thing Obama could do is run for Gov of Illinois and prove that he has some leadership and management skills before running for President, and we all know Illinois needs a good Gov.
    All he ever says is change but change what? He and his wife are the prime example of everthing great in America. They both attended and graduated ivy league schools, their daughters attend the Univ Chi Lab school, exclusive and expensive. Obama preaching about the race game is as tired as Clinton preaching about the race game. This race card that they are playing is crap.
    I am not concerned about race relations in this country as much as I am concerned about economics, taxes, education, and security. This speech is not a speech of courage, this is a speech of political need, he is just doing CYA and threw his own Grandmother under the bus to try and make a point.

    I ask again, what has Obama ever done for the people? The people of Illinois, or the people of the United States? He dodges most Senate votes so he doesn’t have to take a stand. Look at his voting record or the lack there of, http://www.votesmart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=9490 , there are a lot of “NV” where he misses votes.

  25. I’m with Carla. I just read the transcript from CNN’s website and was moved to tears. It converted me from a Hillary supporter to an Obama supporter. I REALLY hope he wins. Instead of making excuses or trying to distance himself, he embraced the pastor and spoke on the race issue squarely. What other candidate would take that risk? He’s of a different breed, a visionary. At first I didn’t think it was possible to really effect change in this buracracy (I’m in DC), but if ANYONE is going to do it, Barak is the man. He is a true leader.

  26. Eboni,

    Are you crazy? All of that money he brought back to Illinois!! Are you sure you’re from there. Take a good long look at his earmarks for the people of Illinois. He’s gone overboard to look at for the people in his state!
    http://obama.senate.gov/press/070621-obama_announces_3/

    Are you sure you’re familiar with his voting record and ALL the legislation he’s passed v. Clinton? He’s passed more legislation than she has. He has more public office experience than Hilary. He was in the Illnois State Legislature for 8 year before he became a Senator. That’s three more years of public office experience to Hilary’s lackluster, politically strategic career. He’s also passed more substantive legislation. Please educate yourself….

  27. golden star says:

    Eboni,

    Not sure which street you’re on in Chicago, but it seems pretty darn tricky.

    First, Barack Obama has done a lot for our state and the City of Chicago. He has also served in several capacities: board of trustees for the Woods Fund, teaching @ UC Law School, assisting candidates like Bill Foster and Dan Seals and many many others in their campaigns and elections.

    He sponsored many bills including a very important health care provision for children.

    He and Michelle Obama attended Ivy League schools. They were admitted and they had to pay their way. Get it? They worked their butts off and paid their student loans off last year. And, yeah, their daughters attend UC Lab School. Is there something wrong with folks sending their children to school?

    Alan Keyes came in to rescue the Illinois Republicans in that Senate race and Barack certainly had nothing to do with that. No way that most of us in this state would stand for a off-the-chart, half-cocked, carpetbagger for a Senator!

    He wrote about his grandmother in much greater detail and much earlier in his book. And, coming correct about your family has nothing to do with buses.

    So, I guess you should try to come up with some coherent reasoning about just why you would be so resentful of Mr. Obama.

  28. @Eboni

    I first read this below on “Now I Can Document Failure” and had to some research to confirm.

    “In 2 years as a United States senator, Obama authored 152 bills, and co-sponsored another 427. Hilary authored 20 in six years. Don’t believe me? Check the Library of Congress. Obama has actively participated as a senator instead of just voted. Here’s acategorization of the bills he introduced:”

    233 regarding health care reform,
    125 on poverty and public assistance,
    112 crime fighting bills,
    97 economic bills,
    60 human rights and anti-discrimination bills,
    21 ethics reform bills,
    15 gun control,
    6 veterans affairs and many others.

  29. I think most Americans are interested in coming together, in doing something other than the same ol’ business as usual, But you will always have those people who invested in our conflict with one another and will only hear what they want to hear.

    I, for one, found that Barack Obama hit the right note with his speech.

  30. I watched this with my hubby, hands held and all. My mind has been working overtime this election cycle with these candidates. I’m used to constant divisiveness in politics from the country of my birth. Crossed the ocean and didn’t think there was much diffence in the political landscape in this my new homeland. But I have to say like Mrs Obama, I don’t think I’ve had a prouder or more conscious moment. It was lived history and I’ve watched it with a mixture of humility and awe. And if I didn’t quite allow myself to believe that he was the man for the job before, I will say this, I had a breakthrough and it was beautiful!

  31. Obama is awesome and as you stated “the content of his character” is exactly right! I wish him the best and I wish the best for America (they will have to vote for Obama to get it!)!

  32. rootsrock says:

    I admire Obama’s get up stand up for your rights attitude, I think his speech spoke volumes to every race, age and creed listening that day. This is the Man for the Job, This time we need a leader with a good head on his shoulders, this time we need someone who can defend himself and all his people.This time we will be heard.
    Yes America this time we need OBAMA!

  33. rootsrock says:

    Afrobella,
    You are doing a great job here, I enjoy having a vast amount of topics to ponder, you really allow a sister to connect with the wisdom within. Thank you.

  34. I watched his speech live that morning.

    Only Barack Obama could give that speech about race to disarm all Americans. I loved how he addressed every group and reminded us of the struggle, success and work that still need to be done in this country to fix the inadequacies of the system. I, especially, liked when he was talking the Black people, us. He talked about the ills and struggles and reminded us that we have to be proactive in raising and being there for our children, reading to them, giving them hope by letting them know that they, too, can do great things in the society. (Made me mist up.)

    I am a member of Christian denomination where the pastors are rotated every 5-7 years, do I now have to worry if some of them say inappropriate things on the pulpit. The church is more than the pastor. Church is about fellowship and community, helping those in need. If I left every time my pastors said something silly or inappropriate, I would be at the house almost every weekend.

  35. I do hope he wins

  36. Obama gave a very moving speech about race. A speech for everyone to hear and ponder. No doubt the speech will be studied by historians in the years to come. However, he did not answer the question at hand. How does he feel in his heart of hearts about the anti-American and yes, racist rhetoric that his pastor spewed at the congregation? I have been in Black and white churches,and I have never in my life heard such comments from the pulpit. If I did hear it, I would know it is time to find a new church. People judge all of us by the company we keep. This will be a lingering issue in the election whether people admit to it or not. We should all pray that the best person wins the election.

  37. Obama’s the shit. Period.

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