Yesterday, while I was sitting on a panel at the 2nd Annual Take Back America Conference, I missed something spectacular. I was told that I missed the most refreshing dose of truth in politics in decades. I was told that I missed Senator Barack Obama make the presidency more than a possibility -- he made it a probability.
Members of my staff joined me after my panel discussion on "The Rogue Presidency" and seemed winded with excitement. In fact, they were late joining me because, as they told me, "We watched the speech in complete silence and sat for about 15 minutes afterward in silence." It was remarkable, they said.
I refused to read the text. I wanted to see and hear it, as it was delivered. I wanted to feel the magic that my staff and so many others described to me.
Upon returning to my office, I sat, for 45 minutes, as I imagine millions across the country did, mesmerized listening to the words he spoke. We all know Senator Obama to be a great orator. But this was much more than "hopeful rhetoric." This was the most honest, considerate and courageous oral argument that I have heard since my mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us about his dream in 1963.
As he talked, I thought of the changing times I've witnessed in my life. He is right -- society can change. America can change and we are all agents of change. I thought about the anger of the '60s and how some of our youth harbor anger for experiences they have not had...yet, the emotions have passed on. I thought of my White friends in Michigan and Ohio, the laborers, who have expressed to me their resentment -- in a respectful, yet honest way. And I thought about my personal experiences with racism -- when I was riding my bike as a child and found myself across the racial barrier of Tireman Avenue in Detroit. Whites came onto their porches shouting at me and the pang of being unwelcome still resonates.
My staff was right about many things. The speech was both "remarkable" and "truthful." His words were more honest than we have ever heard from a presidential candidate or a president. I hope that this speech is, as Bobby Kennedy once said, the pebble in the water that starts a "ripple of hope" of honest discussions about race that will change and unite us for a better America.