Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama: We are One America

Obama's Plainfield Speech given today and posted to the Time magazine website.

Obama's finest hour may be ahead of us. If the following speech gets enough circulation and we have the opportunity to hear how he responds to those who frighten us, who appear to spew hate or at minimum, who speak in a language so foreign that we want to mistrust rather than listen, perhaps we'll actually forge a stronger bond and discover that we can overcome gross differences rather than merely hating each other.

Obama says that he can draw disparate people together, that he can be a diplomatic voice, he can "talk to enemies." Here's his chance - to comfort the anxious, to support the outraged, to interpret the different language of one group's history and experience on behalf of those who lived a different one.

...As I said in my speech at the convention in 2004, there is no Black America, or White America, or Asian America, or Latino America. There is the United States of America. But I noticed over the last several weeks that the forces of division have started to raise their ugly heads again. And I’m not here to cast blame or point fingers because everybody, you know, senses that there’s been this shift. You know, that you’ve been seeing in the reporting. You’ve been seeing some of the commentaries of supporters on all sides. Most recently, you heard some statements from my former pastor that were incendiary and that I completely reject, although I knew him and know him as somebody in my church who talked to me about Jesus and family and friendships, but clearly had — but if all I knew was those statements that I saw on television, I would be shocked. And it just reminds me that we’ve got a tragic history when it comes to race in this country. We’ve got a lot of pent-up anger and bitterness and misunderstanding. But what I continue to believe in is that this country wants to move beyond these kinds of divisions. That this country wants something different.

I just want to say to everybody here that as somebody who was born into a diverse family, as somebody who has little pieces of America all in me, I will not allow us to lose this moment, where we cannot forget about our past and not ignore the very real forces of racial inequality and gender inequality and the other things that divide us. I don’t want us to forget them. We have to acknowledge them and lift them up and when people say things like my former pastor said, you know, you have to speak out forcefully against them. But what you also have to do is remember what Bobby Kennedy said. That it is within our power to join together to truly make a United States of America. And that we have to do not just so that our children live in a more peaceful country and a more peaceful world, but that is the only way that we are going to deliver on the big issues that we’re facing in this country...

1 comment:

SusansPlace said...

I like the feel of his words...they feel honest and heartfelt. Oh, how I hope there is a way to unite this country! That would be more important than health care of the deficit. If we can unite and have peace here, then maybe we can take that and make progress towards world peace.