Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Good For You, Barack

If you haven’t yet had a chance to hear or read the complete speech Barack Obama made today about race, it’s role in America, and his relationship with the controversial Rev. Wright, I encourage you to do so now (click on “now” for a link to the transcript). His ideas are splendid and his language is excellent. Hillary’s no slouch in the eloquence department, but you can’t deny that Obama has a special gift. I found the things he said in this speech about racial problems and divisions, and his own perspective on race (born of his mixed-race parentage) to be insightful and, I felt, sincere – and I can attest to the truth of these observations from my own mixed-race experience. What I liked best is that he repudiated Rev. Wright’s remarks in no uncertain terms, but he just as vehemently refused to disown him as a friend and counselor, and he explained why with considerable forthrightness and grace.

I’m for Hillary – but her campaign sucks. Obama, on the other hand, is redefining presidential campaigning and civic involvement with techniques and tactics that we’ll see again, next time around; as others have already observed, the 1960 campaign, conducted in the glare of television for the first time, greatly changed the process. The 2008 campaign, with Obama’s successful development of active grassroots support and a superior use of the Internet, will no doubt be replicated in the future. I’m still not on the Obama bandwagon, but I want to give credit where it’s due. At a time in American politics when political correctness has motivated people to disavow associates with a speediness reminiscent of the 1950s McCarthy era, Obama’s courage and personal independence are admirable (and refreshing), and his straightforward talk about race is sorely needed.

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