Wednesday, March 17, 2004

It felt like history tonight

Tonight it felt like we were a part of launching a national statesman.

His speech (which, like all of them, are done without notes or a Teleprompter) felt like a national convention speech. I hope someone transcribes it.

With an entourage and a spotlight and a sense of mission, it felt like State Senator Barack Obama became someone different tonight. And he called it out. I think he felt it too. He said "You have put me in a mood! You make me feel like I can be a better man. You make me feel like we can eradicate poverty. That we can give every child the education he or she deserves. Yes, we can!"

I'm butchering his eloquent, inspiring speech -- more of a call to mission than a simple speech. But it reminded me of Clinton at his best, the way that it enveloped you and carried you forward and made you believe that yes, we do not have to tolerate poverty, and yes, we can end medical bankruptcy and yes, we can invest in people and provide dignity and respect to everyone and that it is all right in front of us -- we just have to grab it together. Because, together, we can. Only, when it was over, you still felt good about the call and the speaker, where with a Clinton speech, you'd feel like you were tricked again by a smooth talker (and marvel at his skill).

Barack Obama has that voice of eloquence and passion and justice. And I think he is even more compelling because he is clearly human. He is no son of a dynasty. He is lucky to be where he is, and so he is authentic.

He reminded us why we are here and the only measure of our success: if we can make the lives of regular people measurably better, we have succeeded. If not, we have failed. Because "audacious hope" in the face of real struggle and real despair and real uncertainty -- that is what we can deliver. Not the "willful ignorance" of President Bush and the Republican congressional leadership that solve poverty and racism by wishing them away. But hope for a better day, by shifting our priorities, away from "protecting the priviliged" and towards decency.

It was from the heart and without notes and I am not doing it justice. If you can send me a transcript of the speech, please do so I can post it here. It made me proud to be a part of the Democratic Party.

No comments: