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 â€“ as we did in the OJ trial â€“ 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 Wrightâ€™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 sheâ€™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, weâ€™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, â€œNot this time.â€ ”
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?