WORTH REPEATING: Reactions To Senator Barack Obama’s Landmark ‘A More Perfect Union’ Speech



barack_obama_tshirt.gif Mother Jones, David Corn: With racial sentiments swirling in the 2008 campaign — notably, Geraldine Ferraro’s claim that Barack Obama is not much more than an affirmative action case and the controversy over his former pastor’s over-the-top remarks — Senator Obama on Tuesday morning responded to these recent fusses with a speech unlike any delivered by a major political figure in modern American history. While explaining — not excusing — Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s remarks (which Obama had already criticized), he called on all Americans to recognize that even though the United States has experienced progress on the racial reconciliation front in recent decades (Exhibit A: Barack Obama), racial anger exists among both whites and blacks, and he said that this anger and its causes must be fully acknowledged before further progress can be achieved. Obama did this without displaying a trace of anger himself.

barack_obama_tshirt.gif Atlantic.com, James Fallows:
It was a moment that Obama made great through the seriousness, intelligence, eloquence, and courage of what he said. I don’t recall another speech about race with as little pandering or posturing or shying from awkward points, and as much honest attempt to explain and connect, as this one…People thought that Mitt Romney’s speech would be the counterpart to John Kennedy’s famous speech about his faith to the Houston ministers in 1960. No. This was.

Radar, Charles Kaiser: He did it. No other presidential candidate in the last forty years has managed to speak so much truth so eloquently at such a crucial juncture in his campaign as Barack Obama did today. And he did it by speaking about race, the most persistent source of hatred among us since America began. It turns out that a candidate for president with a white mother and a black father has a capacity that no one else has ever had before: he can articulate an equal understanding of black racism and white racism — and that makes it possible for him to condemn both of them with equal passion.

MSNBC: (Washington Post’s Sally Quinn): Well, this may be hyperbole but I think this is probably the most important speech on race since Martin Luther King gave his “I have a dream” speech because it opened up this conversation to our country in a way that has never been opened before. I can imagine — the exciting thing about it is, imagine what is going to happen in schools and offices and dinner tables all over this country today and from now on where people are actually going to be having a conversation about things that they were never — felt that they were allowed to talk about.

Atlantic.com, Andrew Sullivan: But I do want to say that this searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech is the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime. It is a speech we have all been waiting for for a generation. Its ability to embrace both the legitimate fears and resentments of whites and the understandable anger and dashed hopes of many blacks was, in my view, unique in recent American history.

BARACK OBAMA: A More Perfect Union


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