I’m too vested to be trusted, but Sen. Barack Obama didn’t just hit an oratorical home run a little while ago in Philadelphia. He hit the ball above the bleachers and into the electric scoreboard…wham. Sparks flew, people applauded, the news commentators were awed. It was a brilliant, historic, uncommonly frank speech about racial divides and attitudes, and what might be different. He said all the necessary things about the excessive hate steam of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and particularly the choice between adhering to old habits and resentments and choosing to move beyond all the crap. It was personal, straight, profound and clear as a bell.

“The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society,” he said. “It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country — a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen — is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation.”
Andrew Sullivan wrote a very moving reaction right after Obama finished.
The hate and suspicions and negative spinning will continue from the people with a need to live in those places and to disparage others in order to advance their agendas. This country seethes with fear and ignorance and stupidity, and there will never be a shortage of people eager to stir these ingredients in the big steel kettle and bring out their rancid aroma. All I know is that I heard a sermon this morning more than a speech, that was wise and concise and truthful and penetrating. It was on the level of Martin Luther King‘s “I Have a Dream” speech, no question. The refrain was “not this time.” Here’s a N.Y. Times link with a copy of the speech.
The best part of the speech: “For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle, as we did in the OJ trial. Or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina. Or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.
“We can do that. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.”
For those HE readers who can’t let it go, please write in and complain once again that you don’t like posts that aren’t about movies. Please do that. Show your colors.