Tuesday, March 18, 2008
A historic speech
Here is the full text of Obama’s “Race Speech” that he delivered today. It is most remarkable because he addresses the race issue from both the perspective of a black man and a white man. There are not many people who can do that today with any degree of credibility. Obama, because of his unique racial heritage, can.
He doesn’t just dismiss and denounce the racist words of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, he puts them into their historical context and then shows a path by which those views can be changed. He does not excuse the offensive remarks, but neither does he condemn the man for saying them.
And then he changes gears and discusses the race issue from a white perspective. He talks about the racial resentments that white people feel over busing and affirmative action, and he puts that into its historical perspective too.
I don’t know how anyone could listen to this speech in its entirety and not come away affected by its eleoquence and sincerity. This is the power of rhetoric that has been missing for far too long in our society. I am more excited than ever now about the possibilities that Obama’s candidacy brings for reconciliation and healing in our fractured society.
There will always be people who will dismiss and ignore what he says, but as long as he continues to find forums to spread this unifying message, it will be difficult for the naysayers to hold back the positive changes that are long overdue in our country.