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Yoani Sanchez Headshot

Obama's Speech Through a Cuban Lens; Leaving Rhetoric Behind

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We the People

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I'm post-modern and disbelieving: speeches put me to sleep and a leader standing at a podium is, for me, the height of tedium. I associate microphones with calls to intransigence, and the praised oratory of some has always seemed to me like nothing but screams to deafen the "enemy." At public events I usually manage to slip away and I prefer the buzzing of a fly over listening to the promises of a politician. I have had to hear so many harangues--many of them seemingly endless -- that I'm not the best person to endure a new lecture.

For me, the voice that emerges from the podium brings more intolerance than concord, a greater helping of exasperation than of calls to harmony. From the podiums I have seen predictions of invasions that never came, economic plans that were never met, and even expressions as discriminatory as, "Let the scum that leaves, leave!" Which is why I was so confused with the serene statement delivered yesterday by Barack Obama, with his manner of carefully constructed arguments and invocations to harmony.

It seemed to me when reading it -- I don't have an illegal satellite dish to watch it here on TV -- that he condemned all the rhetoric to be left in the twentieth century. We have started to say goodbye to that convulsed eloquence which no longer moves us. I only hope that it will be, "We, the People" who will write the speeches from now on.

Yoani's blog, Generation Y, can be read here in English translation.

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