Thursday, August 28, 2008
With expectations at least a mile high, Barak Obama delivered an unspectacular speech in Denver Thursday night.
Obama has a reputation as a top-notch speaker capable of soaring rhetoric, but this speech rambled and failed to establish a clear, succinct theme.
Perhaps he overreached. The stadium setting was too large. The important thing was that his acceptance speech play well on television, not in a football stadium. His critique of corporate American greed was blunted by the large "Invesco Field" signs above the podium. His pacing was disturbed by the applause lines. He spoke too specifically when we wanted a speech with lofty concepts, worthy of etching in stone.
We expected nothing less than MLK's "I Have A Dream." In reality, he didn't even approach Jesse Jackson's 1988 speech to the Democratic convention.
Still, he confirmed his position as a thoughtful, tough leader, and we couldn't help but be amazed that this gifted man has achieved so much, starting with so little. He stands in stark contrast to George Bush, who, as Anne Richards famously noted, was born on third base thinking he hit a triple, or even John McCain, the son of an admiral who was the son of an admiral, and married his way into wealth and privilege.
One can only hope that African-Americans, seeing this man stand before his country not because of his athletic prowess or musical abilities, but rather, for his intellect and political skills, will take part in this important election in November. They alone can sway the vote. If they vote.