Wow: Obama in Denver
By Michael J.W. Stickings
Just like in St. Louis last weekend, Obama's rally in Denver yesterday was another "wow" event on the campaign trail: over 100,000 people were there.
And his speech, some of which was what we've heard before, was in part a direct response to Palin's recent claim that there is a real American and, presumably, an un-real America:
There are no real or fake parts of this country. We are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this nation – we all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from. There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq and patriots who opposed it; patriots who believe in Democratic policies and those who believe in Republican policies. The men and women from Colorado and all across America who serve on our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.
We have always been at our best when we've had leadership that called us to look past our differences and come together as one nation, as one people; leadership that rallied this entire country to a common purpose – to a higher purpose. And I am running for President of the United States of America because that is the country we need to be right now.
Powerful, powerful stuff -- as usual, perhaps, but now more urgent than ever.
Many of us who support Obama spend much of our time writing and talking about why we don't like McCain and Palin, and not enough time writing and talking about why we support Obama. Earlier this month, Creature, for example, wrote that his posts had been "more anti-McCain than pro-Obama" (and for that reason started compiling a list of the things he likes about Obama), and it was the same for me. (I wrote more about Obama, about why I like him so much, during the primaries. I have done less of that since he won the nomination.)
But this speech... well, there you go.
You see, I think many of us who follow politics closely have become desensitized, to everything, but, in this case, to Obama himself. We follow the horse race, we report on and analyze every little detail, every little fluctuation in the polls, every gaffe, every surge of momentum. We look on from a position of detachment and dispassion, even those of us who are extremely partisan and who intensely and enthusiastically support one side or the other. Not all of us, or all of the time, but many of us, and much of the time. It's hard to stay consistently excited over a long campaign of many months, at least for us information-overloaded political junkies.
And as inspirational as Obama is, as much of a transcendent political figure, as much the leader of a political movement, well, we've heard much of it before. Think back to some of his primary-night speeches. Now those were exciting -- not least because he was winning.
And yet, it is important for us, I believe, not to become so utterly desensitized, so soul-less, that we lose the ability to be moved, that is, not to become too much like the professional punditocracy, those for whom politics, and the presidential race in particular, is about who's up and who's down, who's winning and who's losing.
The fact is, I was deeply moved by Obama's primary-night speeches, back when they were new, back when he was new, to most of us, back when he first inspired many of us. I was also deeply moved by his brilliant speech on race, then also, and more so, by his acceptance speech in Denver. And I am deeply moved still. I may be, or try to be, a detached, dispassionate political analyst, at least on occasion, and I may also be a partisan, however similarly analytical, but I am also, and I am proud to say this, an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama. And I support him not just on the issues -- let's face it, I would be supporting any Democrat against the Republicans -- but because of who he is: his vision, his leadership, his values.
And I support him because of what happened in Denver yesterday -- or, rather, because of what that represented, because I was once more deeply moved, because of his positions on the issues, yes, but also because of how he said what he said, because of how incredibly inspiring he was.
Read the speech. Watch it (it's not up in full at YouTube yet).
And don't let yourselves succumb to numbness, to desensitization, to detachment, to disengagement. Keep your hearts and minds open. This is an incredible time for America and for the world.
"Together, we cannot fail. Not now."