There are lots of comments and reactions that I have to the ongoing Democratic Convention in Boston, but I simply don’t have time right now. I am finishing up my conclusion and handing in my PhD dissertation on Monday. I still have more work to do than I would like.
Very very briefly – I would just like to reaffirm my respect for the way the Dems are handling this one – and (so far) especially the brilliance and care of Jimmy Carter, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, and Theresa Heinz Kerry (who will make a very fine first lady). In all their different ways, they remind us what America is and can be at its very best.
And as rushed as I am, I have to document a prediction for the future here. Barack Obama will someday be president of the united states. He will have to pay his dues in the Senate (and he will be a great Senator – although he’s not yet even elected!) and prove himself over and over. But he’s the real deal. A newcomer, he zoomed right up there. His speech was candid, electrifying, and inspiring. He transcended all the divisions, he touched on all the great issues – and he did it in a way that created confidence and caring in all who heard him.
Ok, I was blown away. I was already in a near-rapturous state from Monday’s convention, and the Tuesday line-up was wonderful too – so much so that I couldn’t tear myself away no matter how much I really should have. I was already "pumped up," no doubt about it.
However, in a very special way, Obama’s intelligence and talent seems to beam right through screen at me. It really was amazing. Whatever it is, whatever it takes, he’s got it. And his message, like Bill Clinton’s, represents a politics of hope.
Just a couple of outstanding snippets:
"People will tell you they don’t want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon. Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can’t teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. No, people don’t expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice."
"There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. 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’m not talking about blind optimism here-the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too."
Well done, Mr. Barack Obama – well done! I’ll be keeping an eye on you!