On “The Speech”
I can’t think of many topics more controversial than race relations in this country. But what struck me today was the vast gulf between reactions to Sen. Obama’s speech.
From 5oclockshadow a Daily Kos:
America has waited for over 200 years for the moment when we as a nation would overcome the divisions and the disaster of race.
For the first time in American history, a major American figure has stood up in the face of the storm of racial politics to shed sunlight on the underlying conflicts.
Obama directly faced the anger that remains in heart of black America resulting from real and perceived slights. Obama directly faced the resentment of whites resulting from efforts to address them.
From philipogog, also at dKos:
This speech summs up where we have come from and where we are. It makes the case that we are all in this leaky but seaworthy vessel together. It calls us to arms. To each others arms. Male and female, Young and old, Yellow, black and white.
We have a chance to save our country and our planet. God bless America and the more perfect union we can become.
And from noted writer Andrew Sullivan:
I do want to say that this searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech is the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime. It is a speech we have all been waiting for for a generation. Its ability to embrace both the legitimate fears and resentments of whites and the understandable anger and dashed hopes of many blacks was, in my view, unique in recent American history.
Yet, from Roger Clegg at National Review Online:
Politics As Usual
It’s hard to imagine how someone who listened to this speech, and who had followed at all the controversy of the last few days, could still view Obama as somehow transcending politics. It’s a speech, and a controversy, that are predictable and dispiriting – that with minor changes one could imagine attributing to Hillary or Jesse. This is not damning, but the problem for Obama is that he had promised more, and now that’s clearly not what he’s going to deliver.
And from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
Perhaps Obama needs a reminder that it was his campaign that shrieked for Ferraro’s scalp for pointing out how his ancestry has affected the primary campaign. Ferraro didn’t say anything that Obama didn’t say in this speech. And yet the Obama campaign demanded that Hillary repudiate Ferraro in exactly the manner that Obama decried in his speech — and that just happened last week.
Hypocrisy? You bet, and by the cartload.
Lest you think that the left or the right blogosphere stand particular united, Charles Murray says (- his letter in its entirety)
Have I missed the competition?
I read the various posts here on “The Corner,” mostly pretty ho-hum or critical about Obama’s speech. Then I figured I’d better read the text (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn’t). I’ve just finished. Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I’m concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant, rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we’re used to from our pols…. But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie.
I won’t even try to guess how Sen. Obama’s speech will play out in the months ahead. But if this sample is any indication at all, it doesn’t seem that many minds will be changed, compared to the number of minds already made up.
The number of minds changed will not be zero, either.