I didn't get to hear the Obama speech yesterday. I did read the transcript, however. In spite of what anyone may think of the man, he sure can craft a speech. (Whether or not he wins the nomination or general election, I can't help but think this speech will be referred to as a rhetorical landmark in the future.)
Location. Location. Location. First of all, I thought it was brilliant that he was speaking ACROSS THE STREET from where the Founding Fathers of our nation penned our Constitution. Since I'm still involved in reading the Catton books on the Civil War, I was particularly moved by Obama's comment about the context of the creation of the Constitution. He said,
"The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations."
Then, when he said that his wife had "within her the blood of slaves and slave-owners," I realized again how incredibly unique this presidential campaign is in our nation's history.
This morning the Senator was interviewed on Good Morning, America. As a musician, I was REALLY fascinated by his metaphorical observation about the difference between black and white perceptions of our nation. He said he thinks when white people contemplate America, they do so to the mental accompaniment of a marching band playing Sousa. When black people consider their country, the musical "underscore" is usually provided by a soulful jazz group.
Regardless of the public opinion on what Mr. Obama "shoulda, woulda, coulda" done over the years with regard to Trinity United Church of Christ and its controversial (over-the-top) minister, he certainly responded eloquently and thoughtfully yesterday.