Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Barack Obama in Philadelphia, PA
18 March 2008

Administrative update made. Notes at bottom.

You can rely on what other people tell you about the speech, or you can make the effort to listen to man himself. I'd say the time investment is well worth it, but then, I'm biased.

(alt. video link)

And here's a transcript.


Now that you've watched for yourself, I'll offer my reaction.

The things I liked best about the speech were his understated delivery, his refusal to shy away from stating some hard truths, and the sense that he always conveys: that while no single person can solve all problems, Barack Obama is by far the best candidate available at offering a focus around which we can all coalesce. His call for unity is not going to sway the hard right, but I think he's got a really good chance to make a large majority of this country work together. I don't think we've had very much success over the past couple decades with our slash-and-burn partisanship, and I think it's best to try another approach.

I have said before that Obama's religiosity is not my favorite part of his character, but that I can accept it as he presents it. If he found some guidance from listening to Pastor Wright, so be it. Of the few clips that I've seen, I cannot blame Wright for giving voice to understandable anger. I don't think he preaches the best message for all of America, but then, he's not the one running for president.

Part of me can't help but wonder at the frenzy over Wright's remarks and Obama's affiliation with him, when John McCain's embrace of televangelists whose messages are far more heinous doesn't appear to have risen much above the level of background noise. I strongly suspect that Wright is serving as an excuse for a lot of people to hide behind, as a way to give vent to their racist fears. Not everybody, but a lot.

If you're one of those people, I don't suppose there's anything I can say that's going to talk you out of your mindset. But maybe you'll at least take a moment to reflect. Race is a serious problem in this country. Know anyone who's stated the problem more clearly than Obama just did? Know anyone who offers a better chance at moving forward out of this morass?

Administrative update:

The original version of this post had four embedded video clips, due to YouTube's usual ten-minute length limit. After posting, I saw via John Cole that a single, full-length video had become available. I deleted the four segments and replaced them with the one currently displayed. If for some reason you need to get at the old segments, they live here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't get it to play, Brendan. It could be my connection isn't fast enough. The first part played OK but with lots of fits and starts and long pauses while it caught up. The second part, however, played a couple of minutes and then the progress bar jumped back and forth from the end to almost the beginning in an almost endless oscillation, and it never did catch up. When the same thing started with sections 3 and 4 I gave it up. I appreciate the transcript though. I saw the highlights on the news shows tonight though so got the gist of the speech.

bjkeefe said...

Thanks for the report, TC, but there's nothing I can do about it. I have noted that hosted videos sometimes display the problems you list, due more to the load on Blogger than your connection speed, I should think.

I recommend the alt. video links (which is one of the reasons I supply them). For your convenience, here's a link to the whole speech.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Agree with your verdict, Brendon. I'm hugely impressed with him; clearly the most worthy candidate that's been within cooee (as we say down here) of the Oval Office.

A commenter over at thepoorman (or whatever it's called now) summed it up nicely: "The carefully nurtured cynicism I carry around to deal with the collective fuckheadedness that is our current political climate somehow dissipates when I watch the man talk."

The other thing I would add is that he seems to have a very rare gift for uniting people without diluting his principles or becoming lost in a sea of compromise, expediency or cognitive dissonance.

Not happy about the religiosity either but it is a handy counter to the wingnuts who seem to imply that he is an islamofascist on account of his middle name. Or whatever it is they go on about.

bjkeefe said...

within cooee

Cool. New one on me. Any ideas about the etymology?

Yeah, The Poorman is a good one. I wish I could bring the snark the way they do. Seen the latest?

I'm glad to hear Obama does it for you, too. Pity you can't vote, but should he win, I think you're an indicator of how much better the chances will be for the US to rehabilitate its image with the rest of the world.