Tag Archives: Slate.com

Reaction To Obama’s Speech on Race

Over the past week or so I’ve been doing nothing with this weblog except posting links to other things, which is really a shame since I’ve been getting a decent amount of hits.  Tonight, sadly, is not much different.  I’m not linking to something, but rather reproducing it here.  I wanted to write a long post in regards to Obama’s speech today, but given a lack of time, it just cannot be done.  As such, a wonderful response to Obama’s speech, as found on Slate.com’s discussion board “The Fray” (from the_slasher14):

I’ve talked up Obama a lot in the past few months (though as an independent in New York State, I couldn’t vote for him) mainly because I felt he had a better chance of winning in November than Clinton. Since it is my belief that it will already take a generation or two for the country to recover from the damage done in the past eight years by the tax-cut ideologues, I would be supporting just about anybody whom I thought had the best shot of replacing these lackeys of corporations and the rich. 

As far as the man himself, however, I had my doubts. I think Paul Krugman was right in his critique of Obama’s policy positions vs. Clinton’s, and of course he has no track record at all of governing (though neither, in spite of the pretense, does Clinton). If John Edwards were still a viable candidate, I’d probably be for him.  

But not after today. Today, Barack Obama showed me what he is made of, and it’s stuff I never expected to see in a major party candidate. He spoke to the American public on the most explosive subject our country has — race — and he never once addressed them as anything but adults. I’m told he wrote the speech himself, which is all the more impressive. He reacted to the largest threat to his candidacy with eloquence, reason, and honesty. Rather than simply trying to deflect the issue, he used it as an opportunity to enlarge the discussion in a positive way.

There was no sugar-coating of the anger felt by blacks, and there was an acknowledging of the anger felt by whites. Finally, there was a depiction of his own place in it — as one from both sides of the divide — and of his desire to work it out peacefully.  

My gut feeling is that the country really isn’t ready for this kind of honesty. That FOX News smears will, in the end, triumph over reasoned dialogue. The forces which control the media have no interest in solving the racial dilemma. To them, all it would mean is more taxes to rebuild the cities that are being allowed to crumble around the ears of the underclass, and, as we know, these forces would rather lose a war than pay more taxes. If Obama gets nominated, the same twisted rich old men will be financing ads that he’s a closet Muslim AND that his Christian minister is the second coming of Hitler.  

But it was nice, for once, to see that my beloved country has managed to produce a leader of this level of quality and that he could reach a stage this high. It was my good fortune, as a young man, to see in action and get to know some of the generation of blacks who shattered Jim Crow — the bravest men and women I have ever known. I doubted very much that Barack Obama was one of them. Not after today.

And a quick note/link.  Hanna Rosin on the speech: Amen to That.  Hanna Rosin, Clinton supporter and ardent Obama skeptic, liked the speech?  Wow.

Cheers,

Charlie

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