I heard only parts of Senator Barak Obama’s speech yesterday. But I heard enough to make me want to read the entire transcript.
We’re told that Obama’s speech was born from the political need to counter right wing media (read: all media) hysteria over the firebrand comments of Obama’s pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, but along the way it turned into another John F. Kennedy “The Pope Isn’t the Boss of Me” speech.
Only better. Way better. I can respect a man who’ll stand by friends and family while holding to his own views. I can respect a man who doesn’t let racial resentments run his life. I can respect a man who appeals to my intelligence.
Until yesterday, I was marginally in favor of Clinton over Obama, in a detached, unemotional way. She’s been around longer; she’s more plugged into the DC power structure; she’s more likely to be able to get things done or at least ride herd on congress. But now I feel an emotional attachment to Obama. I like the guy. I think he’s sincere. I’m glad that he’s American and that he’s running for president. I think a lot of people who were wavering are now more pro-Obama. I think Obama scored big.
So, there’s that.
Then, there’s this.
Up to now, we’ve all been polite about the fact that a black man (never mind that he’s really of mixed race) is campaigning for the Democratic Party’s nomination as its presidential candidate. But mark my words: right-wingers, racists, and shitheads of all stripes have been waiting for us to start discussing race frankly and honestly. And now that Obama himself has started that discussion, they’re going to join in. With white robes and flaming torches.
What do I mean by that? Okay, you know how those right-wing radio creeps scoff at political correctness? Yet it is a fact that they are politically correct themselves, at least by their own lights. Why? Because they’re compliant enough to refrain from using the N-word. I’m afraid they’ll interpret a frank national discussion of race as permission to suspend political correctness.
And before long, one of them’ll slip the N-word into a broadcast. Probably it’ll be Rush, because he’s just dying to do it. When he does, he’ll do it in his own chickenshit way, cloaking it in some “humorous” context so that he can duck behind the cloak the instant he’s called on it: “I was just joking!” “Don’t you understand satire?” “Why, I’ve heard African Americans use the term themselves!” Once Rush starts using the N-word, the rest will follow. You watch.
Obama thinks we’re intelligent. Let’s hope he’s right.
Update (3/24/08): Did I nail it, or what?
© 2008, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.