Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm here because of Ashley too

If you're on Spring Break and missed the buzz that's going around today, Barack Obama gave a speech on race today. It was in response to controversial comments made by Obama's clergy of choice. The internet is awash with comments that say the speech "will go down in history" and "wow." I heard clips today while driving back from my lunch hour, and the snippets were impressive, to be sure. The commentator on my gay radio station gushed "It's so good to hear someone finally SAY these things. It's important to actually HEAR them."

I walked into the office and my aide Janet said "have you listened to this yet?" She sent me a link, and I cued it up to play but paused it while I coped with a few tasks here and there. When I walked in a few minutes later, she was crying. A lot. At first I thought she'd gotten a call telling her someone had died. Suddenly I realized that she was still listening to the speech. "Is it really THAT good?" I asked her. As she blotted and dabbed with a Kleenex she just nodded.

So at the end of the day, I too watched the video. Being the emotional homo I am, I too cried. The radio host and Janet were right. It was SO refreshing to hear someone say what so many of us already know in our hearts. He talked candidly about the anger so many Americans feel. And not just people of color. He rightly pointed out that we MUST remember the pain and problems of the past to understand the present and to perfect the future. He also talked about the anger many white Americans feel.

He was articulate, eloquent, and truly inspirational. Rather than distancing himself from someone who was becoming controversial, he addressed the issues behind it, and showed true leadership. He didn't blame anyone, and allowed everyone their own feelings while putting the issue in context. I can't think of any words other than "Brilliant!"

As my friends know, I've been hesitant to pick a favorite in the upcoming election. My official stance has been "as long as it's not a bat-shit crazy Republican, I'll be happy. I'll even take a non-bat-shit crazy Republican, as long as they're not what we've had for the last 8 years." Today, that has changed. I have not been so moved by ANY politician about ANY issue.

It's not just the words he used, as anyone can hire a speech writer. It was the raw leadership and wisdom he exuded. I can put my faith in someone who reasons this way, because they will look at an issue and address it honestly. Fairly. Not with PC political speech, or what will poll well. But honesty and integrity. That's the only way we can start to fix our country. To become the ideal we're supposed to represent. The spirit upon which we were born. The way I want to face problems. The way I want my niece and nephew to see America. A heritage they can be proud of.

Today is the day I cast my vote for Barack. But listen and read for yourself. Then decide for yourself. I'm certain you will at least be impressed.

Click here to watch the video and/or read the text.

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