Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A More Perfect Union (Obama)

Thanks to Paris Parfait here's a lengthy excerpt from Senator Barack Obama's important and powerful speech "A More Perfect Union" this afternoon at Constitution Center in Philadelphia:

"In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

"For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division and conflict and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

"We can do that. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

"That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

"This time we want to talk about how the lines in the emergency room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

"This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

"This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together and fight together and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should have been authorized and never should have been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them and their families and giving them the benefits they have earned.

"I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election."


hockeyman said...

Those are powerful words and Obama can really bring them home.

But you have to wonder what brought it on. I can relate to "I slept through the sermon" but 20 years?--- I can believe that its probably Father Brennan's stiring monologues that drove you to the other team.. I also know I stopped going to church when I thought the priest (even though I am still a good Catholic boy) was making crap up.

So whats Obama's real story-- what does he really believe- because I don't think he sat there for 20 years praying to Jesus and listening to vemonous rhetoric and didn't sympathize or have thoughtful insights into its validity. The question I have is- Is he a Chameleon?

ados said...

Hillary for president!!!

Beth said...

An amazing speech. I wish we had such an inspiring leader to vote for in this country.

james said...

He just got my vote!
Thanks for the text.
Oh and I like the new look.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I love the header photo here.

Politically, I'm jaded and have long since lost faith in the system. I am, however, happy to have been born in a free country.

Diane Mandy said...

I downloaded the speech on CNN. It was so stirring! I hope people can continue this dialog in a healthy, productive way.

Di Mackey said...

I love this guy. Having lived in Turkey and Europe, with American friends, I have all kinds of ideas and opinions.

But being a New Zealander, I shouldn't share so ... suffice to say, I do hope that President Obama is someone we hear more of in the years ahead :)