Probably you’ve seen the above video or had it emailed to you a few times already. I was a bit slow on the uptake and only saw it for the first time on Super Tuesday.
Up until somewhat recently I was unenthusiastic about Obama, though I always preferred him over Hilary Clinton. I saw him as similar to Bill Clinton – very charismatic and inspiring, but basically a moderate Democrat in policy and action. I rather liked Kucinich and Feingold, who always stood against the Iraq War, insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and other destructive corporate interests. But I think I was wrong to be cynical about Obama.
It may be naive, but I was really moved by this video. I’m very cynical about politics and often pretty negative about the world in general (though I like to think of myself as a positive person). Since the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq (though of course before that as well), countless atrocities have been committed in our name. Tens of thousands of civilians have died as a direct result of the war. (Probably more like hundreds of thousands if undocumented deaths are included.) I couldn’t really feel much more negatively about my country’s actions abroad.
But Obama’s words move me, give me hope. I think I could reconcile with my country if he were leading it, shaping the language of public discourse. Maybe we could start to repair the damage we’ve done. I don’t know if we can ever atone for the murder and torture we’ve wrought overseas, but we can at least stop. If we could start to bridge the divide of thought and culture that separates working Americans all suffering under the same oppression of the rich elite, there is no limit to what we could do.
The original text and video of Obama’s speech are available here.