}

Saturday, September 08, 2018

A speech that was more than reported


The video above was all the talk on the US news today, and it made the evening news here in New Zealand, too. In it, Former President Obama talks about many of the sorts of things he’s always talked about, such as real American values, making things better for all Americans, and that things can be so much better than they are. That’s not what the newsmedia focused on, of course. Still, it was a good speech.

The news media focused on the few moments President Obama talked directly about the current occupant of the White House, and there’s no denying it was strongly stated, but that was only a part of his speech. Instead, he presented the case for how and why Americans of all sorts can and should put checks and balances onto the current occupant, something important to mainstream Americans, regardless of ideology or party identification.

However, many of his strongest criticisms were directed at Congressional Republicans, and he asked, “What happened to the Republican party?” That’s a fair question that even Republican voters must ask.
There were some parts of the speech that affected me deeply, but I was mostly struck by how nice it was to hear an adult again, someone who can use complete sentences with grown-up words to express coherent thoughts. Even his digressions were on topic.

This speech won’t change anything by itself, but if it, and the ones to follow, fires up the Democratic base, it may. If President Obama can also energise Independents, and help disgruntled Republicans feel empowered by voting for Democrats in November, then it could change everything.

Mostly, though, it was nice to see a real president again.

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