Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Senator Obama’s Speech

Hopefully by now you have had a chance to see or read Senator Obama’s speech that he himself wrote and gave in Philadelphia yesterday on the subject of race.

He took that subject that has been infecting our country for so long, ripped the scab off of it and cleaned it out. He exposed all the elements to the light of day. He showed us all why the infection was there and how we can make our country well again. He also said if we do not tend to it now, the infection will return.

I thought it was one of the most eloquent amazing revealing speeches I have ever heard. I really can’t understand how anyone could not feel that we must elect this man as our next president. If we don’t, I’m afraid we will be missing a great opportunity for our country and our future.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Why is a guy who grew up a rich kid with a Kenyan father and Southern White mother (no ties to being a slave whatsoever) lecturing Northern Whites regarding the Civil War when it was our ancestors who fought and died in the Union Army to free the slaves?

Is Obama kidding or what? Yes, Senator Obama, let’s have a discussion about race in America and then maybe you’ll understand why you are in absolute freefall against John McCain in States like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Michgian. You ripped a scab off of a wound that we didn't deserve to have inflicted in the first place.


March 19, 2008 3:00 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

Of all the accolades Obama received during the first few hours afterward, now the neocon assault has emerged from the likes of Wolf Blitzer, Joe Scarborough, Dan Abrams and Don Imus.

Thus politics as usual.

March 19, 2008 3:12 AM  
Blogger FranIAm said...

Ahem. Someone is feeling a little cranky today.

Anyway, I must say that I have not seen/heard it in its entirety, something I plan to remedy today.

As Larry said- the neocon assault is proof enough for me that something good was probably said.

March 19, 2008 3:56 AM  
Blogger Distributorcap said...

it was a great speech --- and i dont care that Obama went to Harvard

this is stuff that has to be said and broadcast --- and fuck the neocons and joe scarboroughs of the world who cant "handle the truth"

March 19, 2008 4:44 AM  
Blogger fallenmonk said...

I am going to try and find time to listen to it today. I have seen a couple of experts and they are impressive. HRC needs to step aside and let the progressives of the country and the people who want change elect this guy.

March 19, 2008 4:55 AM  
Anonymous Lower Mack said...

From the blog "Chris Matthew's Leg";
The Leg couldn’t help but admire the brilliant timing of Obama’s decision to bravely lead the nation in a frank discussion about race—choosing the very moment in which he is forced to talk about race to get his backside out of a sling.

March 19, 2008 5:07 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

We have no race problem, the surge is working, and nothing is stronger than the dollar. You're all nuts.

March 19, 2008 6:01 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

it was a wonderful speech.

March 19, 2008 6:23 AM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

It's just unbeliveable that people can still allow others to sway them away from such a truthful speech that holds on America coming together and you said it best. "He took that subject that has been infecting our country for so long, ripped the scab off of it and cleaned it out. He exposed all the elements to the light of day. He showed us all why the infection was there and how we can make our country well again. He also said if we do not tend to it now, the infection will return."

Now if we can't get this, there's something really wrong with us and maybe that's why we ended up in Iraq and why some still believe the lies that put us there.

March 19, 2008 6:51 AM  
Blogger two crows said...

g'morning, PoP--
in a bid to remain sane if possible, I'm staying away from politics at the moment.
on your recommendation, tho, I'll look up this speech and read it.

as Larry and Fran said -- if it turned over a rock and brought the crazies out against it, it must have been something to behold!

March 19, 2008 7:10 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

It was a fine speech, and it left me feeling the way you did, Pop. We must elect this man to be our next President. It is an opportunity that may not come again.

March 19, 2008 7:21 AM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

I did listen to the speech and was struck by his throwing his grandmother under the bus by telling the world she made racist remarks. Couldn't he figure out another way to get his point across without doing that? I can't imagine how embarrassing that must be for her.

I did see that Obama does what he always does, gives speeches to mask his inability to correct a problem.The problem was, he considers a man who, on more than one occasion made racist remarks, an uncle figure. He made excuses for the man. What Wright said is inexcusable because he hasn't changed his views. Wright hasn't come out and said that he will speak any differently in the future...he just won't do it during this election.

Oh, and that hateful speech of Wright's and many more, are on DVD...and was and may still be sold by the Church. I have the feeling that Obama may be dancing around the truth when he said that he wasn't sitting in the pews when those speeches were made. He may have just been sitting in his living room, while listening and watching them in his living room.

But, hey...Obama gave a speech, all is well in the world today. I'm sure he'll be giving more speeches so he doesn't have to answer to the tough questions. I'll be waiting for his next speech on Rezko.

March 19, 2008 8:24 AM  
Blogger annie said...

he didn't throw his grandma under the bus-the whole point of that was to TALK about the fact that many, many americans know people or are people that still reveal their ignorance about other races. even people that we love dearly.

sometimes i wonder if people are really capable of LISTENINGanymore

March 19, 2008 9:55 AM  
Anonymous scott said...

I just read the speech on Sherry’s blog. Thanks.

According to the 1850 census, one of my great-great grandfathers owned two people. One great-great uncle died in one of the assaults on Little Round Top in 1863. A hundred years later, I got to be part of school desegregation and had a ring side seat for Bloody Sunday, the march to Montgomery, George Wallace’s stand in the doorway at UA, and Lester Maddox’s retort that he’d serve blacks in his restaurant as soon as somebody showed him how to “cook ‘em.” I am not going to condemn any black citizen for saying “Goddamn America.”

Is Barack Obama as good as we can do for president? Maybe. Do we need to have an ongoing dialogue on race in America? We absolutely do. Does this speech and the attention its been given mean we will? I absolutely doubt it. I just no longer believe we take our citizenship that seriously anymore.

March 19, 2008 10:05 AM  
Blogger Dean Wormer said...

It was a great speech and pretty damn brave. He could've given a middling, non-controversial speech but instead he tackled the issue of race dead on.

My 14 year old daughter asked me to take her to see Obama on Friday when he's here. I'm going.

March 19, 2008 10:59 AM  
Blogger Batocchio said...

I'll adapt what I wrote elsewhere — Obama has a good opening, consciously reminiscent of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech, invoking shared ideals and a promise not yet fully fulfilled. Obama did a nice job of placing his personal story within an overall historical narrative. (Slavery's one of America's two most shameful legacies, I'd say. Let's not forget slaughtering and displacing Native Americans.)

I also thought he rather brilliantly put white resentment in context with black resentment, and there's the critique of Reagan I was looking for! I have my concerns about Obama, but he really does get these social dynamics in a way many politicians (and many people) just don't. Talk about changing the terms of discourse. That really was a pretty killer speech, well delivered.

Lower Mack, Obama's been talking about race for a looong time. Did you catch the 2004 convention speech that catapulted him to national attention? Interestingly, I saw one right-wing critic accuse Obama of not addressing the notion in some black communities that doing well in school is "acting white," when Obama raised that specific issue quite memorably in the 2004 speech. He also certainly covered the civil rights movement knowledgably and eloquently in his MLK Day speech this year. He talks about race all the time. I have to wonder if Obama's critics actually bother to listen to him, or is it the same mentality that says he has no substance while refusing to read his policy positions? It's there if you care to look.

Again, I have my concerns about Obama and all the candidates, but I'd really like to see Obama, Clinton and McCain (and all politicians, actually) criticized on legitimate issues, and accurately, versus the usual rounds of shallow crap and gotcha questions.

Mary Ellen, I could be mistaken, but isn't his grandmother dead? The whole point of the example is you can love someone even if the person's wrong. I've read a few people express your view, but many more who appreciated the example. It's a very similar dynamic to how older generations now are much more homophobic than the younger ones. Um, and are you not aware both that Obama already spoken about Rezko, and there's nothing there? Whitewater was bullshit, too.

Scott — our pundits will almost always discuss race and other important issues shallowly. I'd say Obama's speech was much more substantial than most of their chatter. I don't think anyone believes that Obama's speech will singlehandedly redefine the national discourse and make our pundit class less vapid. But as the old joke goes, who's this "we," kemosabe? Certainly the liberal blogosphere can discuss race, gender, class, power and the many problems of the current regime more honestly than our talking heads. It's got to start — or more accurately, continue — somewhere. Hell, if our pundits and Congress gave a damn about citizenship, we'd have a much better press corps, we'd have representative government, and Cheney, Bush and the rest would have been thrown out of office long ago. But polls show the public is way ahead of Congress and much of MSM on many key issues.

March 19, 2008 11:05 AM  
Blogger dguzman said...

I was just happy to see someone speak plainly and powerfully to the American people, instead of mangling the language and talking bullshit like the current prezdint. I still have my doubts about his integrity, sincerity, and ability to do the job, but he's one hell of a speaker.

March 19, 2008 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great speaker....of course,a bullshiter...I kinda think so.

March 19, 2008 2:26 PM  
Blogger an average patriot said...

I thought it was a very good speech but I heard Lou Dobbs and others say he did not address why he was there so long or confront the guy.
I would have walked right out just to cover my ass if for nothing else. It does not change my opinion of Obama but I know it will some along with the crap I keep hearing from Hillary.

March 19, 2008 4:26 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I read the speech this morning and I thought he did a pretty good job. Of course I also think we have a ways to go, but at least it's a start.

March 19, 2008 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Joe the Troll said...

"when it was our ancestors who fought and died in the Union Army to free the slaves? "

Your ancestors, if they were in America at the time (you said "our ancestors" and that is not at all true for a lot of white people in America)fought in the Union (maybe) Army to prevent the southern states from seceding from the Union. Abolishing slavery was an afterthought designed to cripple the south financially and prevent them from rising again. There weren't enough John Browns in the north to fight a war with.

You sound much like the people who pretend that America didn't stay out of WWII until the last possible minute, and pretend that we invaded France only to save the French, and so they owe us something. Revising history to fit your argument proves nothing.

March 20, 2008 6:54 AM  
Blogger angry ballerina said...

@ Annie
Excellent choice of words my dear.

March 20, 2008 7:16 AM  
Blogger Dean Wormer said...

joe the troll-

Excellent trolling, sir!

I particulary enjoyed your revisionist take on the civil war. This part "Abolishing slavery was an afterthought designed to cripple the south financially and prevent them from rising again" was a bit boilerplate, but what are you going to do in a pinch?

Of course; those of us with more than a little familiarity with U.S. history who understand concepts like the Compromise of 1850, secession following the anti-slavery republican victory 1860 presidential election and the formal declarations of several of the seceding states identifying the threat to the institution of slavery as a central reason for the secession.

I suppose one could argue that the United States opposition to slavery in the states that led the rebellion was born more out of economic rather than moral foundation, but that hardly addresses the reality that slavery was and is an immoral institution regardless of their reasons for oppossing it.

But all of that would be predicated on the idea that your post wasn't meant to incite and you weren't trying to live up to your nickname.



March 20, 2008 9:10 AM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

POP, I agree completely. I thought Obama did a great job of transcending the tit-for-tat racial divisiveness that has been playing out in the media and talk shows and between the candidates' surrogates.

The whole point of his speech was not to evade Wright's opinions but provide a depth of understanding to the American people about the black experience in America that let's face it, most white people have NO idea about. In an editorial I read today in our New Jersey paper, it pointed out that most black people understand very well what white people think, but white people are completely insulated from anything that black people think.

I do not feel he was throwing anybody under the bus, not Wright nor his grandmother. He is explaining that not everything is clear cut, and that there are nuances and complicated feelings on both sides.

I think this is something we've been seriously lacking with the current administration, and in our political discourse for the past decade. It's about time someone admitted nothing is easy and nothing is as simple as it seems.

And for that matter, why all the fuss about Wright - when hateful bigoted fundamentalists are supporting McCain and no one is making a fuss over them!

March 21, 2008 6:38 AM  
Blogger fairlane said...

I must say, anyone who claims the "North" is somehow free from the scars of racism is, a fucking Kool-Aid drinker.

Free labor in the South was hurting the industrial North.

From the fields, into the ghettos.

March 22, 2008 9:49 AM  
Blogger Dean Wormer said...

I must say, anyone who claims the "North" is somehow free from the scars of racism is, a fucking Kool-Aid drinker.

Absolutely. But where in this thread did anyone make that claim?

March 24, 2008 8:36 AM  
Blogger ZILLA said...

It was a brilliant speech. I missed it on TV so found it on YouTube and read along with the transcript.


It was brilliant both times.

March 25, 2008 11:30 AM  

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