Today we saw and heard a preview of our brightest possible American future in Senator Barack Obama's glorious speech. This, then, is what it means to be presidential. To be moral. To have a real center. To speak honestly, from the heart, for the benefit of all. If there was any doubt about what we have missed in the anti-intellectual, ruthlessly incurious Bush years, and even the slippery Clinton ones (the years of "what is is"), those doubts were laid to rest by Barack Obama's magisterial speech today. A speech in which he distanced himself from a flawed father figure, Reverend Wright, and did so with almost Shakespearian dignity and honor.
"This is it, it's here," I thought while watching Senator Obama lay it on the line. We are finally talking about race. Slavery, Jim Crow, economic enslavement, no FHA loans, the failure of affirmative action, busing, offended whites who match offended blacks in rage and fear. Obama shined a light on the conservative talk show hosts who fan white resentments, and at the same time, did not dismiss the reasons for the resentments. He reminded us that the dreams of black America do not come at the expense of white America.
Someone running for the highest office in the land finally talked about it -- the dark and secret swamp that we Americans dodge at every possible opportunity. As he finished the searing truth telling, I realized that this was not so much a speech but rather a unifying call to arms, an insistence that American people act on change. This was an order and a prayer from someone worthy of being called Commander in Chief -- an order that as a bruised and bloodied nation we finally discuss that what unites us, as well as that which divides us. So we can grow, together as a people.
Barack Obama's speech, perhaps one of the most important in modern political history pushed us as a people to move beyond race and gender, beyond Democrat and Republican, beyond politics and into reviving the spirit of the nation itself. To talk, to talk at home, at work, at the dinner table. To really finally talk. What a great day, and where else in the world but in the United States? Today I am very proud to be an American.