The other day, I was home sick and able to watch Barack Obama's speech live. I felt like history was being made before my eyes. I'm too young to have watched any of the Kennedys-who-actually-mattered or Martin Luther King's speeches live. And politicians of the last couple of decades. Well, come on, agree with them or not: Trudeau, Stanfield and Douglas were giants! Dion, Harper and Layton -- not so much.
Obama's speech was thoughtful, literate and honest. It actually talked about race in America. Not just black resentment, but white resentment. It talked about problems that do exist. Problems I've actually seen here in Canada as well. It condemned the harsh words of Obama's former pastor, but also explained that he could not completely disown someone who was part of the family. To me, that's a hell of a lot more honest and brave than just outright spurning the man.
And judging from the newspaper editorials next day, most papers seemed to agree that Obama's speech was monumental and historic.
Too bad that most Americans don't appear to read.
Instead, they can watch the talking heads (the people who have changed the word expert from meaning someone who knows something in great detail to just loudmouth blowhards) on Fix News/Fox Noise spin this story in their so-called No Spin Zones.
Instead of seeing an honest appraisal of bad feelings that exist on both sides, it seems that Joe Q. Public wants to see this as good vs. evil. They want Bush-level simplistic deception. And to them, Obama's words of understanding came out sounding like some black militant rallying cry.
In the latest, post-speech polls, Obama is way down.
Before the advent of cable news commentators, one would describe Joe Q. Public's reaction as one of cognitive dissonance. But that's now the normal state of affairs in Bush's America and Harper's Canada (really, if Harper had any true power he'd be just as bad).
I am sickened and disgusted and pissed off beyond belief at how people have twisted words of hope and healing into a message of fear and loathing and hatred.
And I worry a great deal for the world if the American public award the Republicans even a single second longer than this presidential term.
Obama spoke to the highest ideals of America, the ones that have brought a lot of good to democracies like Canada and the UK. And in return, he's been told to go f**k himself because people want bread and circuses instead of ideals.
P.S.: And isn't charming that the people up in arms about preacher Jeremiah Wright have no problem at all with the kind of crap that McCain's clerical supporters spout. Apparently, McCain can get a free pass on embracing Rev. John Hagee who said that Hurricane Katrina was divine punishment for all the evil gay people living in New Orleans. I guess it's okay to cosy up to hateful and gonzo preachers if they are white.
P.S.: Fox Noise (yes, I watch Keith Olbermann) went from Obama's speech to a piece about apes in a zoo. And later cut part of the speech to show an Oreo commercial. And this a few weeks after one of their goons (O'Reilly, I think) compared Obama to Curious George. Sure, there's no racism in America. Pull the other one.
UPDATE: It appears that Obama was right to speak to the public as if they were adults. It seems like he's recovered from the losses this scandal has caused.http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2008/03/polls_suggest_obama_rebounding.html
And for those who want to hear the speech,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrp-v2tHaDo