Really good political speeches often make me cry: Washington's Farewell Address, Patrick Henry's speech to the Virginia Legislature ("Give me liberty or give me death."), Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Franklin Roosevelt's "We Have Nothing To Fear but Fear", Churchill's "Blood Sweat and Tears" , Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech all make me tear up when I read them. Jimmy Carter's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention made me stand up in my living room, wave my arms and cheer.
I did not get around to reading Senator Obama's speech on the issue of race until this evening. One of these days, I'll have to watch it on U-Tube or the History Channel. I want to hear him deliver it. In the meantime, I've settled for reading it ... and weeping.
In an unusual move for a politician running for office, Senator Obama acknowledged the complexity of the issues. He acknowledged that people of all races have some legitimate (and some not-so-legitimate) concerns on the question of race. He acknowledged that the racial divisions that beset us arose as a result of complex and long-term cultural causes. They will not go away quickly or easily, but that does not absolve us of the duty to try to do something about the problems.
Our racial problems (like any other problem) can only be dealt with if we deal with them as what they are.
Senator Obama took the opportunity, offered by the right-wing media's attempts to paint him as a black radical, to make an important speech on the subject of what is really happening in on the racial barricades in America. Perhaps no one in America is better equipped to know that territory than a mixed-race person.... a mixed race person who is in political life.
I honor and respect the fact that the Senator took the opportunity provided by the publicity over Rev. Wrights comments to address the issue head on and to be honest.
For the first time, I'm tilting in the direction of voting for Senator Obama. If the election were today, I think I'd vote for him.
Mine is only one vote, but it counts.
(I wish I could be more certain that it really matters.)