Tuesday, March 18, 2008

History to Me

Before you read this keep in mind that I am only 33 years old. The best speech I ever saw in person was Cornell West at UNO. The best speech I ever watched on television was Jesse Jackson at the Million Man March. Giving the circumstances of the speech today, Barak Obama may have topped those. I’m not sure how everyone is going to take the words he spoke today. I have heard enough of Limbaugh and Hannity to realize that not everyone felt like I did. Either way the cards are now all on the table. America now knows that Barak Obama represents all people of America even the black ones. Since the campaign started all I wanted was for someone to acknowledge that my community has certain issues and concerns that are probably not shared or understood by the rest of the population. I think it’s fair to address those things in the general conversation of American politics since we are Americans. Up until the last week that wasn’t happening. Now, Reverend Wright may be brutally honest about how he feels about race in this country and I am sure that there will be some race neutral black people who will accuse him of destroying Obama’s campaign. I believe that this was the only way those feelings ever get brought to the table. The way he delivered the sentiment may be uncomfortable but those feelings are real for allot of people. If Obama wins and we have the open dialogue on race that he envisions Rev Wright would have been a catalyst for something special in this country even if he didn’t mean to do it in that manner. I think Obama was very fair today. He did everything he could to explain the existence of people who look like he does and at the same time understand the feelings of the folks that look like the people who raised him. His background allows him to do that comfortably. You can’t get more balanced than that. The ball is in white America’s court. As a black man I know and understand the philosophy that sometimes the actions of one brother can affect the group. I will be pissed if Reverend Wright is the sole reason someone doesn’t vote for Obama but I will understand that. White America has a chance to destroy that mind state. You can judge Barak Obama on his policies and if you don’t like him vote for Hillary or McCain. That is fair. Black people should vote based on the same criteria. On the other hand, you could log on to Youtube and watch as much Reverend Wright clips as possible. Then you can listen to talk radio all day and make up your mind who to vote for based on everything but the actual candidate. If that happens then I will move on knowing that my country is closer to the Katrina aftermath than it is to the Iowa caucuses.


E.J. said...


By the way, the best speech I ever heard in person was also by Cornell West. WOW can he speak!

E said...

If you love Cornell West, you've gotta check out Michael Eric Dyson.

celeste.white said...

I think Mr. Obama's speech is going to outlive this campaign, this moment by a long shot.

It was perfect.

He's already got my (white) vote.

The best part of the potential result is that, if things go correctly and we have this vital, long-overdue conversation, I won't have to put my ethnicity before the word "vote" ever again.