Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I didn't watch Barack Obama's speech this morning, but I read it (the Huffington Post and Drudge Report have the text) and I think it's superb. However, the premises it lays out require you to be an adult, and I'm not convinced that most Americans are adults, at least when looking for a candidate to support. These premises include the following:

* There is racial progress, which is easier for someone Obama's age to see than for someone who grew up in the era of Reverend Wright's youth, but racism still exists and the legacy of our racial history hasn't vanished.

* There is a great deal of good in Reverend Wright and he has said things that must be rejected.

* There is analogous racial resentment in the white community -- but it's time for a multiracial effort to work through our real problems.

This isn't what Americans like to hear in political speeches. They like to hear: Good people = us (America, our party). Bad people = them (communists, terrorists, criminals, drug dealers, our ideological opposites, the other party, or some group we identify in code rather than explicitly).

That wasn't the tone of this speech. I hope I'm wrong, but Obama may pay a price for not giving people what they like to hear.

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