Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Speech

So, that's what Presidential is.

I've been reading various commentaries on the speech from the left and right of the spectrum, but one commentary has stuck in my mind, Michael C. Dawson's comment over at The Root. Dawson says Obama's speech is a too little too late. I disagree. Obama could not have made this speech three or four weeks ago, he could only do this when the "cry" (for lack of a better word) was loud. If Obama had simply come out one day and given a speech like this, it would have, no doubt, been read by the press, pundits as being "racial" in the sense that Obama would have been seen as lecturing us, and seen by some as pandering. There would be questions of whether this was some calculated political move or it would have polarized some even more so than they are now. Because of the Wright speeches and the public's awareness of the speeches, it was the best time for Obama to make this speech. To do so before knowledge of Wright was widely known, the impact and power would not have been as meaningful.
There is no doubt Obama had to give this speech in order to answer the many questions about his involvement with Wright and his Church. But, it is to his credit that the speech was intelligent and nuanced. This was not a speech with ideas that were created on the fly, or out of panic. It was a sincere speech, a speech that reflected what Obama has been talking about for a very long time.
My view may be seen as cynical by some, perhaps it is, but I feel it is simply a reflection of my observations of how politics work. I don't know if Obama was ever planning on giving such a speech, but the fact that he did, and the content of the speech carries a great message that I hope we all see.
Obama's speech showed us what a President looks like. What a leader looks like.



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