A Shining Moment

19moth_obama1.jpgObama’s speech yesterday addressing race and the manufactured Jeremiah Wright controversy was brilliant and moving. Whether you agree with that assessment or see him as a crafty politician giving another pretty speech, it is notable for the fact that he actually dared to speak to the voters about a difficult issue as if they were mature adults capable of nuanced understanding and rational discussion.

It is unfortunate that we have to praise him for what should be the standard in American political discourse, but the fact remains that such forthright maturity is decidedly not the standard. All that remains to be seen is whether the voters (and pundits, and media, and his political opponents) actually are mature adults capable of nuanced understanding and rational discussion.

3 thoughts on “A Shining Moment”

  1. joe bernstein

    I actually believe that racism has less to do with power than with defining everything through a racial perspective-meaning anyone can be a racist-that being said I grew up in an era when institutionalized racism was the norm-particularly for male Afro-Americans-there was an imbedded lack of access to many work and educational opportunities that are taken for granted today-things are decidedly different-you can’t imagine growing up in the fifties with a secretary of state who wasn’t a white blueblood,let alone a non white person.There are no easy answers here,but I doubt Obama or anyone else has answers that are workable-this will work itself out in a generation or two I hope.

  2. Well technically Joe, being a racist is being part of the dominant race culture in society. In our case, this happens to be white, so only whites can be deemed racist. There is plenty of bias and prejudice amongst people of color, but they can not be deemed racist by definition.

    That said, i loved the speech. Finally, someone who is able to speak about the systemic problem of racism rather than getting caught up in the bullsh!t minutia of individual acts of bias, prejudice and racism.

    Unfortunately, a hop onto the projo.com survey about Obama’s speech leads me to believe that there are not many people willing to have the mature discourse referred to in John’s post. sad.

  3. joe bernstein

    Obama had to backtack from what he said the day before about not being there when the minister made some very controversial and hateful remarks-it just wasn’t credible that he hadn’t heard any of that in 20 years.I would guess his advisors told him he needed some serious damage control.Probably Obama hasn’t had the practice lying without missing a heartbeat like the Clintons have-he probably couldn’t because Hillary and Bill are pathological liars and he doesn’t seem to have the makeup to be one.I heard the speech,but it had little effect on me since i don’t care for his policies in any event.He did show a good understanding of some of the frustrations swirling around the race issue,but it’s not going away in our lifetimes.I don’t like believing that,but i am afraid it is true-racial tensions are embedded in our society,even within some interracial families.It doesn’t mean that we should be limited by it,but we have to admit that it exists.The only change and remediation comes on an individual basis.My family is interracial(white,hispanic,afro american,native american)and thankfully all our problems(we don’t have many) have arisen from other than racial reasons.Accusing people of racism with little or no factual basis is as bad as being a racist by the way.

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