Audacious Hope

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>To think that I would ever hear a speech like this from a mestizo, front runner candidate for president of the U.S. (in my lifetime) sounds something like a ridiculously audacious hope. Yet here it is – complete with a rather penetrating analysis of race, done in a way that white America just might be able to hear it.

“Historic” seems an understatement. I will be watching this again with the whole family. I am glad that we are no longer going to avoid race in this political season since the electorate hasn’t been doing so since we got started last year. Let the rest of the corner conversations come out into the light of day as well.

Most of the speech is quotable, but here is a poignant excerpt:

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy — particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction — a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people — that, working together, we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

…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 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.”

2 comments

  1. >As we approach Good Friday, I feel like I am experiencing the attempted crucifixion of another good man who is speaking for truth and love. The clouds are forming and darkness seems to be descending as the “powers” of talk radio and media pundits demonize Obama and fill the airwaves with hate and lies. I can only hope for a resurrection to bring new light and hope into the world. I hope this speech was the start of it.No matter what happens with Obama’s candidacy, he will have made a huge contribution to new generations of Americans by opening up this dialogue and modeling bravery, integrity and love in the face of hatred and dishonesty. I know that he has brought many people to tears as they heard again a brave voice of integrity speaking in the midst of sound bytes and dishonesty. I haven’t felt this moved since hearing JFK, RFK and MLK speak way back when. Their voices inspired my generation and I hope Obama’s words will do the same to a new multicultural generation.Thanks for posting his speech, Kevin. It needs to be circulated widely. I found an article that really made me feel good. I am copying the link below: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/drew-westen/the-meanings-of-obamas-s_b_92381.html

  2. >It was a fantastic speech. I’m not buying into it, but Obama is a fantastic rhetorician.He made me really want to believe that he was sincere.

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