This story is THE biggest story out there. Like Rachel Maddow, I am tired of the race issue and I didn't want to give more time than necessary to any more divisive issues in the democratic party, but this speech was important and challenging. Every one of us should sit and listen to this speech and think about what Obama is saying. Clearly, the ideas that Obama brought to light are unsettling for some and unpalatable for others. For many, many others, what Obama talked about today is a way of life and a reality that needs to be brought to light. No one else could have made this speech...and I'm glad that he was forced into it. I think that those who would use the pastor story to call Obama out, bit off a little bit more than they bargained for.
The hyperbole coming from the cable news shows on this story is incredible: Chris Mathews thinks that it was one of the most important speeches on race since MLK jr's Dream... others are saying that it is the most important speech in their lifetimes. The pundits have embraced Obama after this "historic" speech, which was, according to them, earth shattering and something that surely has changed everything.
I was watching the speech this morning when I realized that Marc Maron and Sam Seder's Vod-cast was on...so I switched over to find Sam and Marc talking about how the speech was on and maybe they should watch it and then continue the show. At which suggestion, Marc brought his laptop over to his TV and we watched the rest of it sorta together through Marc's web cam...if that makes sense. What was great about watching it that way was that we got the little asides from Maron during, and then immediately afterwards we got a great assessment of Obama by both Seder and Maron. Check it out here
. And be sure to catch Maron
on one of the simulcast First Freedom First; Separation of Church & State
events on March 26th, 2008.
So, having been in so much of a liberal bubble during the speech, I ran out to the dentist where I found that working people on the street were pretty much still repeating the network news talking points about what the pastor had said. I figured that the turning point would be more around the evening news and how this speech is going to be handled for the wider audience with a shorter attention span.
Sure enough, alongside the cable pundits going bonkers, the network news channels began at 5 PM reporting it right up front. How it plays will become clear only after a few days...but it seems like largely this thing is being embraced as the beautiful speech that it was. The only problem that I see is that it was very long. YouTubers had already chopped it into 2 minute sound bytes labeled with names like "Obama on the Pastor," "Obama on Race," immediately afterwards. How the thing plays in bits will probably be more important for all current intents and purposes. If this speech is something that school children will listen to is something that history will decide, but its too bad that it is so rare that we talk about anything real that is happening right in front of us anymore. Its too bad that its a historic moment in that someone stood up and spoke the truth. If Chris Matthews could predict the future, we have seen an MLK jr. who has outspoken the great speakers of our time. It seems that largely, except for some clearly sour grapes reporting, the talkers believe that Obama is the next President. (after some sneering mention of McCain's skewering on Letterman last night...which is something I will have to look into.)
Over at Faux News; Obama the next President?....not so much. The plastic sneering talking heads were going through their paces in their full and expansive glory.Dick Morris
, all in-your-face, said that though he was fascinated by Obama's ideas about race and society, he is not any more interested in his ideas about politics than he is interested in his hairdresser's. His hairdresser apparently talks about politics while she cuts his hair, but he doesn't listen to her any more than he would to Obama. Stupid, silly, little man; don't you see that it's the people on the street that reflect what is going on with people in real life? Dick Morris said that there is no doubt to him that Obama is THE democratic nominee...and that this issue is going to dog him and be the subject of "swiftboat like" attacks. Don't say that Dickie didn't warn you. He is probably on board as a mercenary to position that attack as I write this. What a horrible human being Dick Morris is. He makes me want to spit...and that's not because I'm so in love with anyone that he has smeared; its because of the way in which he sell his skills to the highest bidder or the devil.
The anchor, another mean looking ken-doll who's name I didn't care to catch, acted as if he was breaking a huge story in which Obama said that he was not in the pew during any of these speeches, and then saying that OH MY! He WAS!! The "I didn't know about it"
defense has gone out the window, according to Brit Hume. What a great bunch of journalists these losers are... I have to take anything they say with a grain of salt because I know how much they lie. And, speaking of liars, Brit Hume was immediately brought in to talk about how Jesse Jackson had been in and had talked to him about the skill necessary for a black man to go between the establishment and the streets. He went on to say that Obama was particularly adept at it.
This may be an Achilles heel in the making. Its reminiscent of Obama claiming that he had tried drugs and then his friends saying that they never saw him with any drugs; so is he a lair trying to pretend that he has street cred and is the way that he moves between the two worlds so adeptly a plus or a minus when its examined? Should he have stood up and told the reverend to stop that language? Or is it OK to just see what people are saying and to take that with him into the other world as information gained while living his other life? How are people going to feel ultimately, to have to come to terms with the fact that for anyone who is not exactly in the middle of the mainstream there is quite a bit of bluffing necessary for any sort of public relations mastery.
See, most of us move between worlds with no problem; ist second nature and part of our survival mechanisms. Part of growing up is learning how to act in school versus home, and how to be cool to your friends but not to swear in front of grandma. The problem is that when a person of color who might have, in another time been suspect, uses that particular talent to integrate into white society, it can be unsettling. Is he a spy for the other side? Have we uncovered a fiery and dangerous side to Obama that we don't want in office? These are some of the gut feelings that are going around. Its so clear...and this is one of those psychological knee-jerk things that is going to have to play itself out.
Obama did alot of good today with his "ground-breaking" speech. Not only did he do much to explain his seat in that pew for all of those years, watching one half of the American experience rehashed, but he did much towards opening up our own fears of the anger that exists hidden, sometimes not so well, in the black community. Hopefully this discussion will go further than we have previously gone in coming to terms with what we all feel about our shared history.
Labels: Barack Obama, racism