Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's Speech

h/t Obeygiant

It is rare that I link to the speeches of politicians in a positive way, but I think the rare occasion has arisen with Obama's discourse yesterday on race. Of course the media think he did not distance himself enough from Wright, and, of course, the media are wrong on at least two counts: 1) They cannot acknowledge the existence and need for resistance within poor and oppressed communities (because the media is blind to institutional oppression); and 2) because they do not hold other candidates to the same standard. Think: McCain and Haggee, Bush and any number of racist kooks. Anyway, read the words:

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend
Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time. (Link)