What was George Bush doing on the 18th? Does anyone truly recall? On Tuesday, America got a glimpse of an Obama Presidency because, for all intent and purpose, HE was Presiding over the country on that day.
For the past year, Barack Obama has talked about “change.” His opponents and detractors exclaimed that Obama’s “change” was just a word without meaning or foundation. On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton smirked at Obama’s idea of change. Clinton, at a campaign stop, sarcastically said that Obama plans to just “wave a magic wand and watch the clouds part in the sky.”
But on Tuesday, Obama’s change gained very real form. He took America by the hand and showed us our future; a tomorrow with the potential of overcoming long held perceived differences in favor of nationhood. He reminded us that our hopes and dreams are common American aspirations, not just the desires of any single race or ethnic group. Barack Obama very courageously spoke the unspoken American truth: Racial division remains America’s greatest Achilles heel. This weakness of our nation is far more perilous to the survival of America than any possible attack from Al Qeada. In effect, Obama pleaded with all of us to finally end our physical and social segregation, a separation that has allowed the United States to be less competitive in the global marketplace.
The first draft of Obama’s change is a fundamental overhaul of our public and private discourse; an open and frank discussion of how we can get past race long enough to save America before there is nothing left to save. What Obama displayed on Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 was everything he has been saying on the campaign trail. He is going to bring about monumental change. He is going to tell us what we need to hear (NO MATTER HOW UNCONFORTABLE IT IS), not just what we want to hear.
As in his speech on Tuesday, he is willing to risk political expediency in exchange for the common good. It would have been far easier and much more politically savvy to simply disown anything Reverend Wright had to say. But, shockingly, Obama took this opportunity to make us look into our very souls. He genuinely took this time to try move America forward.
There are two Americas. There was the America that existed before his speech: Unaware, paranoid, territorial, and in denial. But then there was the America AFTER his speech: Very much aware, willing to have dialogue, and wanting to put racial and ethnic division behind us.
On Tuesday, in a very Presidential act, Barack Obama took the Bully Pulpit and made America much better than it was before his 45 minute speech. That’s part of the “change” he’s been talking about for months on the campaign trail.