It's a beautiful speech; I thought it said a lot of things about racism in America that needed to be said.
I was talking to takhleet on the phone Tuesday night, and I told her, "I hope Senator Obama wins the Democratic nomination. Because then maybe -- just maybe -- it means that our next president, whether it's McCain or Obama, will be someone most people will respect. Not agree with, or believe is right. But someone that people will think is ethical, honest, sincere, intelligent, and trying to do his best. And I'm not saying we haven't had someone who is that way for the last sixteen years or more -- but most people haven't believed it."
There is something poisonous about the belief that everyone on the other side of the political aisle is malign or stupid or ignorant. That they couldn't possibly believe what they do as an honest, informed opinion based on their best judgement of the facts available to them.
What's even worse is the belief that all politicians are this way.
Because that's a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we say, "Holding political office is something only greedy, manipulative, self-serving egotists would do: no intelligent, honest person could do it" then we create a job that no honest, intelligent person will pursue. Why should he? We just told him he can't succeed.
There is a call in Senator Obama's speech to talk about substance and not spectacle. To make the election discussion one about how we are going to address the problems of education, healthcare, unemployment, and the war in Iraq. I admit now that I doubt I'll agree with any of his solutions to those problems. But I'd still rather talk about what will solve them than whose fault it is that we have problems in the first place.
Or about how bad our politicians are.
You get the government you deserve.