Friday, August 29, 2008

A First: "...Our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters"

"...surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination."

All hail the radio! It helped me multitask. And think. Much better than TV. While Obama spoke, I took notes and wrote down feelings as I never could while watching him on television. I was able to focus on what he had to say rather than be distracted by how he said it. I had seen him enough times to envision all the motions (and emotions) coming from this man. And I just wanted to hear the words. I knew that his speech would be well thought out and I intended to give it the same amount of thought that it, in turn, deserved. I listened, tapping at my keyboard occasionally. When it was over, I did my laundry and worked out a little. I kept trying to remember the words that sank in the most.

Some of them sunk in. Some didn't. For the ones that didn't, I read a transcript of his speech. To me, it was not awe-inspiring. Michelle Obama's speech was far more heartfelt in that respect. Yes, it was well thought out. But most of all, it was what it NEEDED to be: clearer about his policies than he has been before, forthright and a little bit demanding. O.K., a whole lot demanding. It did not paint John McCain as someone completely on "the other side," and therefore, wrong in everything. Rather, it implied that McCain is out of touch with reality, just like the Bush administration has been these part eight years. The speech also reminded Democrats what they were: fighters for a better world view, equality, compassion and reason. He said "We're the party of Roosevelt. We're the party of John F. Kennedy."

Other phrases that stand out:
  • "Failure to respond" - an outright indictment of George W. Bush's whole presidency
  • "Change doesn’t come FROM Washington, it comes TO Washington" - a good catchphrase for his campaign.
  • "This election is about YOU." - a throwaway line that nonetheless arouses people's sense of entitlement.
  • "...deserve to visit the person they love in the lives free of discrimination." Of course that hit home. I don't think the phrase "gay brothers and sisters" has ever been used before in a major political campaign. "Brothers and sisters" gives people an acknowledged equality. But it's an equality some people will deride as giving "perverts" or "sinners" the same rights that "normal" people have. He's definitely going to get a lot of flack from that one remark. Malkin, Coulter and Limbaugh will have a field day with it, not to mention Parsley, Hagee, Robertson, Graham, Perkins, Dobson, etc
And then there's -

"We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes."

There was only one wrong note in the speech that, to me, stuck out vividly:

"Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world..."

I doubt that. Our "culture" is being scorned or laughed at by many countries who keep a close eye on American politics, religion and sociology. We have become what we have craved and continue to crave: entertainment. The lack of diplomacy, erudition, compassion and reason that have come out of the Bush administration is causing us to look like Keystone Kops chasing after the hero and heroine. It will take years of diplomacy and "good will towards men" to heal the wounds of a selfish yet righteously arrogant administration. A large, socially uneducated segment of our society believes that we should embrace what many would consider to be a theocracy. The separation of church and state was one of the wisest of ideologies coming from men who saw the tyranny of government to religion as well as the tyranny of religion to the people.

O.K., I'll get off the soapbox. It was a good speech that NEEDED to be spoken.

Before I sign off tonight, I "discovered this great site called "" (I shouldn't say "discovered" because it's obvious from the site that a lot of people know about it!)You can paste any speech you want in it and it will come up with the most used words in the speech. You can edit it any way you wish. It's fun and very revealing about the speech. I created one for Obama's speech - just click on the link below: