i am posting below one of the most inspired speeches i have ever heard uttered in my lifetime. it is a long speech, clocking in at 38 minutes, but one inspired on every level we could possibly hope for a presidential candidate's speech to be inspired.
this speech by barack obama evidences his gracious manner, his genuine respect for all human beings, his ability to think deeply and critically and originally and thoughtfully on complex concerns, his understanding of what it means and what it will take for a people to become united through what they share instead of divided for what they don't share, and his continued conviction that hope in our nation is worth fighting fiercely for.
and while some of barack obama's opponents will continue to say that he knows how to craft and deliver pretty speeches but lacks the ability and experience to act or to lead, i will say three things.
first, that thoughtful and thorough and originally penned speeches like this one indicate a man who truly knows how to think critically and form beliefs about appropriate responses to difficult issues. there are no simple sound bytes here; these are long and thoughtful ideas strung together into a weighty message that overwhelmingly delivers real substance. frankly, it makes the former college honors writing instructor in me swoon with amazement and pride.
second, i echo michelle obama's own conviction that a long line of years spent working on the south side streets of chicago as a civil rights activist gives a man more experience and hard skills and leadership opportunity than years spent reading bills and submitting votes in washington. i have long wondered why this experience goes unacknowledged by his critics, when it demonstrates firsthand that he not only knows how to bring about real change for real people but also how to lead and to act decisively and with passion.
and third, i offer the words of his former colleague at the university of chicago, whose surprising phone call with barack obama gave him deeper insight into the kind of leader obama will be as president: that he is someone who wants to understand both sides of an issue before opening his mouth or deciding his own mind about it, someone who is humble enough to ask questions, and someone who will surround himself with people skilled in the necessary areas. i cannot imagine a finer candidate to be our next president of the united states of america.
note: text version of this speech is available here.