This is an incredible speech by Obama (here’s the full 37 minutes on YouTube). It’s not simple, and it doesn’t yield very good sound bites. It’s complex and nuanced, personal and transcendant, flawed yet right. It gives me hope, honestly. I believe deeply in the strengths of the US system — in the incredible way that the 2 fundamentally different constructions of the Declaration and the Constitution work together to make a fabric that has stood up to time. Again and again through US history, there have been serious challenges to the nation, and executives who have done exceptionally damaging things — in the tumult after Washington left, in the Civil War and its aftermath, during the Great Depression, during Vietnam.
I’ve been pretty despondent in this last cycle that the executive branch of our government has finally done some things that were so extra-constitutional and so damaging, that we’d not be able to re-weave the fabric of the US like we’ve done again and again for more than 200 years now. But this speech by Obama gives me hope. Not necessarily because he’ll become our next president, but because he shows that leadership can inspire without dumbing things down; that leadership can make you want to be better without speaking to your own base motivations and desires.
Anyway, this is real, undiluted, inspirational leadership, and it gives me hope.