Barack Obama’s Speech For The Ages

There are many such as myself who were uncertain about supporting Barack Obama, given his limited experience in Congress, but as the months of campaigning have proceeded his eloquence and vision have captured out hearts. The speech he gave in Philadelphia yesterday will echo through the ages as among the most lucid and inspiring messages uttered by a person seeking higher office. He openly confronted charges that he has a connection to hatred and violence that was preached by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his pastor. Instead of taking the easy road and condemning the man, he condemned the ideas expressed by the man. Instead of trying to make Wright out to be an evil conveyor of hatred, Obama helped Americans understand what motivates a black man raised in poverty who endured bigotry and oppression. Here is what Seantor Obama said:

“I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some reason, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely– just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests,or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused tis recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country– a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America…..”

But, Obama also knew Reverend Wright as a person, someone who helped him gain an acceptance of Christianity and find peace of soul. “The man I met more than 20 years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another, to care for the sick, and lift up the poor.” He pointed out that Reverend Wright served in the US Marines, has studied at leading seminaries and has led a church which has focused on the needs of poor people in the Chicago area.

“I can no more disown him that I can disown the black community… These people are part of me. And they are part of America, this country that I love.” Obama argues the issue of race has been distorted by the Reverend Wright just as millions of others distort it. I have been in education for 50 years and have sat in a room with a black professor who accused me of being prejudiced because my skin was white. Her view is similar to those of whites who see smeone with a dark skin and jump to conclusions instead of learning about the individual’s life story. Barack Obama speaks to anyone, black, white, pink, who has struggled to create a just and humane American society.

Many will not understand what Barack Obama said in Philadelphia, many will. Anyone who loves America knows of our twisted path leading to a society that confronts and conquers bigotry. I recall a sergeant in 1952 whose father had ridden with the KKK and now Sgt. Knox was chatting with some fellow Black sergeants in comradeship. I taught in a California community which had abused its Japanese American friends in 1942, and now an Asian girl and white boy held hands in love. I was among the first Jews to purchase a home in a St. Louis suburb and was so proud when a Catholic finally got elected president.

Unlike phony liberals who can recite chapter and verse about what is wrong with America, Barack Obama grasps the multifaceted complexity of our national struggle to confront what is wrong with this naton and make it right. His Philadelphia speech will resound through the ages. It is one that Hillary Clinton simply could not have made. That is why I will vote for Barack Obama for president.

  • http://n/a Mike in NYC

    Good speechwriting, I’ll grant that.

    “Obama helped Americans understand what motivates a black man raised in poverty who endured bigotry and oppression.”

    By Americans, you mean white Americans, the only ones capable of bigotry, right? Last time I checked, Obama was doing better among whites than he was among Latinos, let alone Asians.

    “. . . a black professor who accused me of being prejudiced because my skin was white. Her view is similar to those of whites who see someone with a dark skin and jump to conclusions . . .”

    The difference is that she will not be called a racist, and the whites will. No sign of that changing anytime soon, President Obama or not.

  • Fred Stopsky

    I beg to differ, many people of all ages lack an ability to transcend emotion and examine reasons for rage. I cited the example of my father who could not — for good reason– surmount his anger. The problem is people only want to focus on Black Americans and ignore other forms of bias.

  • SFinCH

    Fred Stopsky, I am an Asian American and have also experienced bigotry in this country that I love. No, Obama’s speech and this article is just not about Black Americans. You completely missed the POINT!

  • Fred Stopsky

    You apparently missed my point, I said Obama spoke about all people, not just black Americans. I even mentioned a boy in the small town of Petaluma, California who dated a Japanese American girl and got others in town to recognize children of all backgrounds had a right to fall in love. I am baffled how you can conclude I said Obama was only speaking about black Americans!!

  • Chris

    The great thing about Mr. Obama’s speech was that he touched upon grievances not only voiced by blacks, but also by whites. Grievances that are very legitimate.

    All of which comes to a come this point: that we must acknowledge that frictions and issues amongst all the races are there, but should be faced and dealt with through honest and open minded discussion instead of swept under the rug. Or more fuel thrown onto the fire by name calling. Maybe this will open future dialog on the subject.

    Your comments Mr. Stopsky are well said. And most appreciated. Thanks.

  • Fred Stopsky

    We desperately need meaningful dialogue and have to get away from liberal multicultural approaches which fail to relate issues of race and prejudice as they impact ALL Americans.

  • Davey

    In any case the move is not that shocking, Obama just continues to snow ball his support from all angles. Just looking at his grassroots support, , the Internet strategy that he has been using is unparalleled. Of course the new polls contradict this, but we will see the ultimate outcome soon. If I was a betting man, I would put my money on Barack!

  • Fred Stopsky

    I agree.