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Reaction to Obama’s speech yesterday by the US media

It looks like the media (or the print media at any rate) grasped the significance of the Obama speech yesterday on the politics of race and race relations. Most are heralding this as landmark speech – ranking it in some papers as beside some of the great American presidents speeches in terms of importance to American society. The New York Times for example says this:

There are moments — increasingly rare in risk-abhorrent modern campaigns — when politicians are called upon to bare their fundamental beliefs. In the best of these moments, the speaker does not just salve the current political wound, but also illuminates larger, troubling issues that the nation is wrestling with. Inaugural addresses by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt come to mind, as does John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on religion, with its enduring vision of the separation between church and state. Senator Barack Obama, who has not faced such tests of character this year, faced one on Tuesday. It is hard to imagine how he could have handled it better.

Ok you say, that’s the New York Times, a liberal paper which, while it endorsed Hillary Clinton, would be expected to be caught up in the Obama speech. How about the Dallas Morning News then, which called it the single most important speech since Dr. (Martin Luther) King died. How about the Sacremento Bee, saying that Obama was speaking to the ages? The St. Louis Dispatch, calling it an extraordinary gift to America? And many more along the same lines. Heck, even some political strategists in Canada who’ve seen it all and need a lot to move them/amaze them/stun them are stunned by this speech.

Historians may look back at this speech and say this is what earned Barack Obama not only the Democratic nomination, but the Presidency. At the very least, it may be as the Seattle Times said, a watershed moment on race relations in America.

6 comments to Reaction to Obama’s speech yesterday by the US media

  • S.B. – I don’t think that your point is accurate.  Another of the speeches that has been compared to Obama’s recent speech is Kennedy’s speech regarding his catholicism, which was in defence of attacks that he was receiving.

    I don’t think the point is relevant either, but that’s a different story.

  • janfromthebruce

    It was breathtaking. What binds us together is what it was all about and only a cynic would see it differently. He spoke to my idealism of what could be.

  • Ted:

    If you did indeed watch the whole speech, he addressed that in his speech – indeed, he directly made mention some people wouldnt be satisifed that he didn’t leave his church; but he said the reason why was that the snippets you saw on the TV were not everything he knows about the Pastor or his sermons, and he’s been taught good values by the man.

    I respect him for not "throwing him under the bus" when it was politically safer and convenient to do so, and even when it was demanded of him by right-wingers and Clinton sympathizers.

    I think more people then less will feel the same way.

  • Ted

    I watched Obama’s speech live, and re-read it. It was very moving. He obviously thinks differently then the Rev. Wright.
    I come at this issue a little differently, because I am myself, like Obama,  a Protestant Christian. When my wife and I  chose a church we wanted to go to a church that values love and inclusiveness. This was especially important because we were starting a family, and we wanted the children to be exposed to a Church that reflected the love of Christ.That applied to not only race, gender and sexual  orientation, but nationalities. We visited many Churches, one made me "cringe" with a degrading comment toward homosexuals from the pulpit.  Another made wonder if the homeless would feel really feel welcome. Another one made me "cringe" with its rabid anti-Americanism. These churches were in the minority.We did find many loving inclusive churches. They were not hard to find. We settled with a mainstream evangelical church this is inclusive, multi-cultural, and multi-ethnic, it truly reflects the city we live in.  Barack Obama choose to worship, and bring up his children in a church whose Pastor made Obama "cringe" on many occasions. It is a church where one wonders if a white person would feel welcome. Obama, could have left that church, and chose one of many black or multi-ethnic churches in the Chicago area that are inclusive, I know, I have visited two of them. Instead he choose to stay. That is what disappointed me.
    You can choose to leave your church, you cannot choose to leave your grandmother.

  • Around 15-20 newspapers as of that one link I provided disagree with you.

    One paper said even if he isn’t elected to the Presidency, Obama’s speech show it can never be said he didn’t serve his country – thats heady stuff.

  • s.b.

    Sorry, none of histories great speeches were given on the defensive.

    The Ghettysburg address, inaugural speeches mentioned, even the declaration of independence, were all speeches of victors, or politicians on offence.  Great speeches are never followed by the question, "Was it enough?", which even in the commentary that praised the speech was the overriding question.

    This was not one of histories great speeches, it was simply a matter of was it enough?  We won’t know the answer to that question for a few more weeks.

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