18 March 2008

Obama's Speech - My Reaction

I think it's worth seeing the whole 37-minute speech. I don't often say that about a politician. He did an *extraordinary* job crafting this presentation. It was well-written and well-presented. I found myself, his political almost polar opposite, agreeing with much of what he said.


But certainly not all.

Yes, the ideals of the Constitution have never fully been realized. I absolutely agreed with every last word he said about the slave trade and the evils our country has participated in. I agreed that as a nation we could do MUCH better. But I was pretty miffed that he spent less than ONE minute on the genuinely valid grievances of white folks concerning affirmative action and so-called civil rights legislation, however. He glossed over that and proposed as a solution that somehow "do onto others" in our dealings with one another. That was very disappointing.

He spoke about failing schools and that in his opinion, much of the "achievement gap" between black and white students has to do with the Jim Crow laws and segregation. And that our schools are still segregated. Now, that got me angry! NO ONE is forcing ANYONE to live where they don't want to be. Don't like going to school in a mostly white community? Move to the inner city. Don't like going to school with mostly black folks? Move to rural Arkansas or something. Have a nice day. I understand that you move where the jobs are, but no one is telling you where you *must* live. You can commute for two hours each way if you'd like. I hear that's the norm in California now anyway; you can pretend to be avant-garde like them if you wish.

If anything, public school districts are OVERLY cautious in obtaining a "racial balance" in their schools. Children in our district get jostled and redistricted every few years like the pea in the three-cup shuffle so that administrators can congratulate themselves on their "racial balance." It can't be good for a kid of any colour to be shunted about like that. Children should go to the school in their OWN community and have pride in their OWN neighbourhoods. Work on making every school a good school! Do black children somehow learn better if they're sitting next to a magical white child? Do we have pixie dust or something that I don't know about?? What is he saying?? I know that some districts are better than others. Too bad; I can't afford to live in the really great ones, either. Don't expect me to subsidize your dream of a great education for everyone else's kid.

But the real reason for the speech, we all know, was that his former pastor's words have come out to the general public. Obama feels he needs to somehow get it out there that he doesn't agree with the pastor's words. If I'm not mistaken, what's "out there" is really old footage anyway. It doesn't speak well for Obama that he would continue to sit under a minister who spouts trash.

Obama spoke about the genuine rage felt by black folks and that he felt he could no more disown his pastor than he could disown the black community. This man is like FAMILY. Um, ok. I understand we all have strange relatives. You can't help if your Uncle Larry is a neo-Nazi. I understand that. I really do. I know some Uncle Larrys myself and they're great guys if you don't get them started on certain topics. But you don't have to sit under Uncle Larry's ministry. You don't have to PAY TITHES to Uncle Larry. To do so would signify to others that you agree with what he's saying.

No doubt, Obama said, most Americans strongly disagree with some things their pastors say. Ok, sure I do! But little nitpicky bits of doctrine are NOTHING on what we're being asked to overlook.

Overall, a WONDERFUL speech that was short on substance. If you weren't listening carefully to the content, you'd swear he'd make an awesome president next November. At least, that's what I'm afraid of.

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