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Obama on race

I just watched Obama’s speech on race. Before the commentariat bashes the speech into a shape they can sell for the next few cycles (Wolf Blitzer: “It was a preemptive strike” – feh!), I want to say that I thought this was a fearless speech that shows the way forward on the issue we Americans fear more than death, taxes, and terrorism.

I listened thinking about what Obama chose not to say. He could have condemned racism and tried to put the whole race issue behind him, as Mitt tried to remove religion as an issue. Instead he seized the moment and put a push-pin into the timeline: Here’s where we started to confront in public the racial divides the majority culture has refused to acknowledge.

He could have given simple platitudes. Instead he trusted us with the complex truth. Think how any other major politician would have handled this.


And we saw a bit of how the audacity of hope can not only move us, but move us forward. [Tags: ]

5 Responses to “Obama on race”

  1. Totally agree. Ironically, I watched “Primary Colors” last night, and was struck by the scene where the improbable rival to Bill Clinton, er, Jack Stanton spoke so honestly that it completely stumped his political strategists. My God, how do you counter a politician who dares to speak without any pretense? Well, the 2008 campaign isn’t a movie so we can expect the political strategists to forge ahead with some sort of pablum. And the press, er, commentariat will be happily slobbering along like a dog looking out a car window.

  2. I thought it was easy to know what American mean– I am wrong.

  3. Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” is inspiring for its clarity, its humanity, and its intelligence. As a Canadian watching your election with keen interest, I congratulate you Americans…and I envy you too! What a campaign. What leadership. Yes, he speaks beautifully – and that’s because he THINKS clearly, because he SEES possibilites, because he IMAGINES viewpoints and solutions that can build a better society. You should treasure this wonderful citizen. He believes in America for all the best possible reasons.

  4. this is so true. obama needed to say this. where i’m from, we get to deal with tribal issues. here, it’s race. i have to say it’s even worse in tribal conflict than just race because tribal conflict is among the same race or background.

  5. It was pretty awesome. The cynic in me says it could be painted as Kerry-esque waffling, but I don’t really think that’s on target there.

    I give him props just for having the balls not to completely disown the pastor like everyone wanted and expected. The usual phony political way of dealing with “politically incorrect” statements makes me want to puke.


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