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Third Thoughts

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I haven't seen Obama's speech. I was at work when he gave it, and read the transcript instead during lunch. Now so much has been said about it that I'm afraid that I'll never be able to watch it with an objective eye. I also think that perhaps it is a work better read that seen or heard, because it less a speech than an essay - a meditation on the role that personal relationships and our view of them play in our politics.

Yes the speech was about race, but interestingly enough it was about far more than race. Race was an example of Obama's larger thesis - that we must look for the good in one another. I have relatives who I disagree with on virtually everything, family members whose choices I strongly disapprove of - but I forgive them and move one. I try to accept what they are, to treat them with the charity they deserve. And I think that is what Obama was attempting to communicate. We as Americans have to cease dwelling on our differences in favor of our common citizenship. The personal is not political - it is simply personal.

The call for racial healing meant a great deal to me, of course. I'm a Southerner by upbringing, with all that comes with that legacy. I've anguished not just over what others have done, but over my own conscience - because none of us are truly free of prejudices. It's what we do with them that matters.

In the final analysis the problem of race in America, while a central to our national experience, is only the most prominent instance of essentially artificial tribal distinctions, distinctions that have always been the most cruelest weapon in the hands of the powerful.

Finally, while I've always supported Obama's candidacy, I always kept in mind that he is just a politician, likely to disappoint as often as he inspires us. But now I'm beginning to think he really is what so many have wished him to be - the sort of leader that comes along once in a generation. And just in time.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 8:27 PM
  • I watched/listened to half of it as I ate my breakfast this morning in a rare venture into US politics. I like his sentiment - that it was time for Americans to be more united as Americans. He speaks quite well, and I too barely dare to hope that he is as good as he seems to be. I want him to win this, I think it might just be good for all. (OK, I've wanted him to win for over a year now).

    By Blogger Propter Doc, at 9:02 PM  
  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Propter Doc, at 9:02 PM  
  • Sorry, I commented twice by mistake because I'm a moron.

    By Blogger Propter Doc, at 9:02 PM  
  • I have totally been sucked in- I love Barack Obama and think he has some amazing potential to be different kind of leader. I hope he's our next president! (is Brazen still a HIllary supporter?)

    By Blogger Addy N., at 6:40 AM  
  • >>>because none of us are truly free of prejudices. It's what we do with them that matters.

    This is one of the wisest things I've heard anyone say in a long time.

    By Blogger comebacknikki, at 6:40 PM  
  • Aw, thanks.

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 7:43 PM  
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