Thursday, March 20, 2008

'A More Perfect Union' - Barack Obama

Regardless of political views I hope you will find time to listen in full (37 minutes) to this wonderful speech of Barack Obama. His pride and love for America is fantastic to see and hear. It seems to me from this speech he is doing all he can to address ‘head on’ the controversial issue of race in a very even handed, conciliatory way.

This is not a speech about conflict between black and white. It is about how everyone has something to bring to the table - we all have gifts

As far as I am concerned it is wonderful hear a politician speak from the heart. He is a terrific speaker. His freshness, optimism and pragmatism appeal to me and I wish him well in the forthcoming Presidential Election.

10 comments:

Judith Ellis said...

Thank you, Trevor, for posting this speech. Regardless of political persuasion, it will go down in history as one of the most important speeches of the 21st Century, since Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Let the pundits say what they will now in this season of political strife.

History will view this speech differently as so many of us in the US and the world who have embraced the courage, honesty, truth and relevance of a man whose very existence bespeaks the truth of our multi-cultural 21st Century world.

Whoever wins the White House, he or she will have to embrace the issues of this speech in relevant terms and not just in words alone, but in actions and deeds. We must embrace the immediacy of this speech and sincerely work through its relevancies; the speech reaches far beyond the borders of the US, as the posting on this site shows. Thanks again, Trevor!

Trevor Gay said...

Thank you for tipping me off about the speech Judith - it is brilliant. What I love most is that Mr Obama talks not only about race issues but about fairness to all. I hope he becomes your President. It will be a much needed breath of fresh air and optimism on a plain and boring political scene worldwide.

Richard Lipscombe said...

Obama is more than a rousing speech maker. As a candidate for the White House he brings a 'presence' that appeals to youth and cynics alike - interestingly most of these people do not yet seem to really know why he appeals so much to them...

Love him or loath him - the fact is Obama is a genuine change agent.

What is Obama's appeal across race, gender, age, and wealth?

1) Obama has a relevant and a remarkable message - 'Change we can believe in'......

2) Obama has found the key to new age politics - it is about ideas not experience.

3) Obama raises his funds online from the masses not from the usual players in politics - it is about inclusion not exclusion.

4) Obama is a preacher not a doer - it is about inspiration not perspiration.

5) Obama has a message based on faith in a world of doom and gloom - it is about what you think can be done not what is currently being done.

6) Obama talks about his faults and weaknesses because he knows himself well - it is about transparency in thought and action not image.

7) Obama has tapped into the aspirational conversations of his electorate - it is about what people aspire to be not what they are told they are.

8) Obama offers his electors a new sense of hope - it is a time for new beginnings not a time to refine old continuities.

Dave wheeler said...

I had the opportunity to watch the speech live and I too was impressed by many of the fundamental tenets and message the words conveyed. I wish however it had been delivered under different circumstances and without some of the blatantly political references to talk show hosts and conservative commentators, and politicians exploiting fears that detract from the real message of change and responsibility.

I recall watching Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech as a 9 year old in 1963 and can honestly say this speech and my parents teaching has shown me that we don't necessarily need a national discourse to improve relations among the citizens of this country. We control that ourselves, in our individual words, our actions, in what we teach our children, and in what we give back to our communities. Every person can be a champion of racial harmony and you can begin that process at any time. I have spent thousands of hours volunteering in public schools and learned first hand that people can overcome differences of race or any other type for that matter when united towards achieving a common goal or purpose. It is these types of forums where people can actually see and judge one another by the content of our individual and collective charecters, as Dr King envisioned.

One of the sad facts about race relations in our nation is that many of the issues Senator Obama referenced in his message are not based on race but rather societal and socio-economic factors, problems that can be best addressed or funded legislatively through a voting coalition of all colors as under-performing schools, drugs, crime, unemployment affect all in a community...some more disproportionately than others but not as distinquishable by race as in previous decades.

"The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone." Dr. King had the vision and forsight in August 1963 to see this fundamental point and these words are just as relevant and true today as they were back then. To many people and organizations however profit from perpetuating this conflict...of all colors and ethnicities.

Senator Obama has framed the debate in different terms in some ways and in others shares those outlined by Dr. King. That might provide the spark and the interest at the local level....THE FRONTLINE... to begin the discussion and dialoge that can lead to real change and understanding.

Trevor Gay said...

Richard – I love the 8 points thanks – ironic too that on this very special day of all days for Christians world wide - Good Friday - that your final point of the 8 is as folows; ‘Obama offers his electors a new sense of hope - it is a time for new beginnings’

Dave – I was born in 1952 and I can remember the coverage of Dr King’s speech over here in England on the radio – and some limited and very hazy black and white TV coverage!

I recall over here Dr King also became a legend through that speech and all his great work. I agree with you we can all do something individually and that will always be the best way to achieve real change – from the bottom up! I hope Mr Obama is the man to lead those changes.

Marilyn said...

Wonderful, insightful comments all around. What I found most striking about the speech was that Mr. Obama made it. I think it will go down as his signature speech.

Candidates today go for the jugular, the sizzle, the sound bite that will push certain emotional buttons, most often fear.

Mr. Obama has stepped back from that, and tried in his way to say that a rising tide lifts all boats. I, for one, fondly hope that his message is heard from the White House. The remaining two opponents, McCain and Clinton, aren't sending this type of message. It's about time for the USA to lead again.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Marilyn

'Mr. Obama has stepped back from that, and tried in his way to say that a rising tide lifts all boats.'

That is a brilliant expression that says so much. I share your hopes about the message being heard. I believe Britain now needs - more than ever - a person with such warmth and integrity as Mr Obama leading your Country which remains our greatest friend and ally.

Judith Ellis said...

Trevor, Richard, and Dave - - I am most proud to be among those who, in a forum such as this, are able to share our hearts and thoughts so that we can truly have a more perfect union across all divides, nationally and internationally. From the deepest part in me, I thank you for your words. They matter.

As an African American woman, born after the "I Have a Dream Speech," it is incredibly heartening to read such thoughts by those of different ethnicity, nationality, and undoubtedly political persuasion. In this vein, I understood the words spoken by Michelle Barack when she said "for the first time, I am proud to be an American."

Although the quote has been grossly misquoted, I understood perfectly what she meant. It did not come from a place of anti-Americanism, but rather from a place of true community across racial divides. She may have forgotten her audience, but in a real sense her transparency openly bespoke of the overwhelming pride she felt as an American that so many of different races, ages, and economic status were linking up and embracing the beauty and truth of Barack, this remarkable change agent in spite of his race. Do not forget also that she is speaking of no one less than her beloved husband and father of her two beautiful daughters. Gentlemen..thank you for your words.

I too had the opportunity to hear the speech live and was just incredibly moved by its honesty and spirit of truth. As Barack, I could not denouce the man, the Rev. Dr. Wright, though I denounce the words that were so full of anger and hyberbole. Though they were indeed divisive, I got an email today that spoke to the language that we hear on a daily basis on talk radio by conservatives and liberals alike.

The Rev. Dr. Wright has been a fierce supporter and advocate for the poor and sick. The many programs at his church, including those suffering with HIV/Aids, are indeed laudable. I too could not have denounced the man, as I also have relatives with histories that are amazing in spite of the intense discrimination they faced ranging back from the late 1800to this very day. Sometimes they speak in anger, but it is definitely not who they are. My great grandparents, grand parents, parents, aunts and uncles, by in large, survived with their dignity and love of humanity in tack, teaching their offspring to move forward in love and determination.

The reverent and illreverent alike are a part of our families...and undoubtedly yours too. My mother is Richard Pryor's cousin and the stories told about my great grandmother and connections with Al Capone are hairraising AND quite funny indeed. She RAN speakeasies -- and sadly to say people -- in Chicago and Bloomington, though by all accounts she appeared to be quite loving and caring. But a fierce business woman. Have you heard Richard Pryor speak of his relatives? Funny, eh? But I digress.

Denouncing Rev. Wright would be tantamount to denouncing the Black church that has long been a place where we express great joy and vehement discontent. It is a raucous joyous experience each and every Sunday for both the educated and uneducated, the rich and poor, the young and old. It is a place that no matter how far we progress up the socio-economic ladder and live in the whitest poshest communities (these areas are not typically predominately African American), we invariably go back to the 'hood every Sunday to get our brand of religion that only the Black church gives.

Having said this....it is NOT to say that other brands of Christianity are less in ANY way. It is, however, to say that we hold great value and love for our churches, pastors and communities.

The Black church has for nearly two centuries been a place for us to share, vent, and simply love on each other. It is a place that lifts us to great heights, no matter what the following week has been and prepares us for the upcoming week. The Black church has and remains to be our safest haven, our greatest place of inspiration. (Yes...havens are still needed, nuturing still required, though not exclusive to our ethnicity alone. My paternal great grandfather had a church of 1500 people in the late 1800s in Indiana, the home of KKK, where half of the congregants were White.) I know this experience very well. I come from a very long line of ministers who have made amazing contributions in both the pulpit and in business.

I say to ALL those who would like to experience such boundless joy, unabashed acceptance, and love beyond belief to jump right on in; the water's fine.

God bless us all.

Judith Ellis said...

Marilyn...I loved your comment. Thank you.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Judith and thanks for your valuable comments. Your experience of life in the US is both educational and enlightening for me - I have yet to visit the US - I hope to visit in 2010 and I look forward to it immensely. I do hope Mr Obama’s words are not manipulated adversely by ill-intentioned media. If people just listen/read the speech content they cannot fail to be moved.