What made Obama’s speech great

“If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child,” Obama said. “If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandmother. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. ‘E pluribus unum.’ Out of many, one.”

“The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats,” he said. “But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

I hate speechifying most of the time, and reading that had me teary. Here’s the transcript, and video.
Appealing to common feelings and ideas, from the heart. Reaching for the good part of American patriotism – tolerance and community, entrepreneurialism and political freedom – rather than the bad part – arrogance and self-righteousness.
Politics and policies through people. His stories don’t sound like a politician’s theoretical concept of the common man – trekking to a supermarket for a photo-op, trailing camera-men and handlers. He sounds like a guy who talks to people.

You know, a while back, I met a young man named Shamus at the VFW Hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid, 6-2 or 6-3, clear eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he’d joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week. And as I listened to him explain why he’d enlisted, his absolute faith in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all that any of us might hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Shamus as well as he was serving us?

And he’s not an anchorman — doing a bit of background research, Obama has the policy details, enjoys the game, and has guts. From a New Yorker profile

In Springfield, Obama led a campaign for death-penalty reforms that resulted in unprecedented legislation, requiring the police to videotape all interrogations in cases involving capital crimes…. When he talks about the maneuvering it took to line up the state

One thought on “What made Obama’s speech great”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.