The (New) Speech

I’ve just read Barack Obama’s speech today in Philly about race and religion. I’m thinking: should or could this be the speech that he gives and then bows out of the presidential nomination race? Or should/could it be the speech that makes it necessary for him to continue. In simple, unemotional language Barack Obama outlined the origins and history of the racial divide in America. It’s not complicated. It’s just that few, on the public national stage, have ever tried to even attempted to explain this complex chasm. The feelings rarely expressed or given voice outside of outbursts of anger, frustration or intimate family and friend discussions…the hurts and grievances harbored by both blacks and whites…the stain of slavery that cannot be cleansed; the resentments of whites who don’t feel they should recompense for ancestral sins; the resentments induced by welfare, affirmative action, busing, crime. What precipitated this speech of course was his pastor’s recently publicized campaign-paralyzing roadside bomb utterances spit from the pulpit. That’s how most whites react to them. But not Rev. Wright’s congregation…who are inured of this type of holy’s part of the black church experience says Obama…singing, stomping, shouting, exaggerating; not always coherently but always with passion and a bow toward theatre. A passion and theatre born of a feeling of freedom..a feeling of safety…here in this church I can finally speak my mind….without fear. Sometimes it’s emotional and moving, prayerful, poetic and political; sometimes it cathartic and full of venom and bile and just has to be spit out. When I first saw Rev. Wright’s video clips I said to myself…crap…I’m voting for Hillary. After reading O’s speech today I think I have to think a lot more about a lot of things.

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