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Video and Full Text of Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech.


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Since the other thread got deleted.

Here is the video:

And here is the full text of the speech:

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

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Eugene Robinson Op-Ed

Obama's Road Map on Race

By Eugene Robinson

Wednesday, March 19, 2008; A15

Once again, the conventional wisdom proved stunningly unwise. Barack Obama was supposed to be on his heels, forced into a backpedaling, defensive crouch after racially charged remarks by his former pastor, delivered from the pulpit years ago, suddenly became the hottest story of the presidential campaign. But instead of running away, Obama issued a challenge to those who would exploit the issue of race: Bring it on.

Yesterday morning, in what may be remembered as a landmark speech regardless of who becomes the next president, Obama established new parameters for a dialogue on race in America that might actually lead somewhere -- that might break out of the sour stasis of grievance and countergrievance, of insensitivity and hypersensitivity, of mutual mistrust.

"My goal was to try to lift up some truth that people talk about privately but don't always talk about publicly between the races," Obama told me in a telephone interview later in the day. He delivered his speech, titled "A More Perfect Union," in Philadelphia just yards from Independence Hall.

As expected, Obama categorically denounced the incendiary sound bites from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons that have been played endlessly on cable television in recent days. Wright displayed "a profoundly distorted view of this country," Obama said in his speech, "a view that sees white racism as endemic."

But Obama didn't stop there. He went on to specify what was wrong with Wright's preaching about racism in the United States: "It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress had been made; as if this country . . . is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past."

The consensus among the commentariat was that Obama, as a matter of political tactics, should want to shift the conversation away from the subject of race as quickly as possible. He told me that the decision not to turn away, but to give a major speech on the issue, was his.

"What was fascinating over the last three or four days was to see how Reverend Wright's admittedly offensive comments . . . were packaged in sound bites in a way that didn't contribute to understanding between black and white Americans but only expanded the chasm between them," he said. "I thought it was both a challenge and an opportunity to use this moment to describe, to black and white, why there is this chasm."

And that may have been the most significant aspect of the speech: the fact that Obama proposed a conversation, not a monologue. He not only laid out the reasons some African Americans might feel alienated or resentful but also the reasons some white Americans might feel the same way.

"Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race," Obama said in the speech. "Their experience is the immigrant experience -- as far as they're concerned, no one handed them anything, they built it from scratch. . . . So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college . . . when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time."

These resentments have "helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation," Obama told his audience. "And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns -- this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding."

Obama called on African Americans to embrace "the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past," and to take "full responsibility for our own lives." And he's absolutely right.

This amounts to a new set of talking points for a discussion about race: Don't be paralyzed by history but acknowledge its effects. Recognize that whites have legitimate grievances that are not racist. Don't cling to victimhood as an all-purpose excuse. Accept personal responsibility.

Obama told me that he doesn't intend to make race a major theme of his campaign. "I don't think that we are going to be gnawing on this bone at every stop," he said. But I believe he might have pulled off something that seemed almost impossible: He not only ventured into the minefield of race and made it back alive, but he also marked a path for the rest of us to follow.

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That's a really nice follow-up article...

The sentiments expressed both in Obama's speech and the article are opinions that I've personally held about race in this country for quite a long time...

The most poignant part of Obama's speech about that subject was when he said "For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past."

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Steve_Bartkowski (3/19/2008)
A very divisive speech and a step back in race relations. The least color blind speech I have seen in a long time. It did nothing to promote what MLK said when he said that we should "judge by the content of character, not the color of skin". Everything was black this, white that, black this, white that. And he lied:

From the speech:

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Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes

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When Major Garrett asked him directly about if he had heard Reverend Wright's offensive sermons, Barack answered:

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"None of these statements were ones that I had heard myself personally in the pews."

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These are direct contradictions...and reflect directly on the character of the man.

The first is a general statement about the church while the second is an answer about his awareness of the specific videos being played ad nauseum.

I'm sorry for you that you continue to be incapable of understanding the difference.

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DomeGnome (3/19/2008)
The first is a general statement about the church while the second is an answer about his awareness of the specific videos being played ad nauseum.

I'm sorry for you that you continue to be incapable of understanding the difference.

Don't feed the trolls this time, please.

The last thread got deleted because people responded to the nonsense. I'd like to see this one stick around.

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Ramen (3/19/2008)
DomeGnome (3/19/2008)
The first is a general statement about the church while the second is an answer about his awareness of the specific videos being played ad nauseum.

I'm sorry for you that you continue to be incapable of understanding the difference.

Don't feed the trolls this time, please.

The last thread got deleted because people responded to the nonsense. I'd like to see this one stick around.

Just a politician in damage control..Maybe he should step down like he demanded IMUS do..just a thought..

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Something that struck me about the speech was how evenly Obama spread the responsibility for racial problems. Black leaders typically emphasize the detrimental effects of discrimination, ignoring the cultural problems created by hip-hop and rap and denying personal responsibility for their community. Whites typically ignore the real effects of a history of unequal treatment and spout platitudes about "personal responsibility" as though blacks live in a social and economic vacuum.

Obama's speech melded both concerns together, recognizing the effects of discrimination while calling for the black community to "write their own destiny" by not using the past as an excuse for not bettering themselves in the future. That's type of synthesis and conceptual sophistication is extremely rare in politics these days.

From Obama's speech:

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

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savwboy savwboy (3/19/2008)
Ramen (3/19/2008)
DomeGnome (3/19/2008)
The first is a general statement about the church while the second is an answer about his awareness of the specific videos being played ad nauseum.

I'm sorry for you that you continue to be incapable of understanding the difference.

Don't feed the trolls this time, please.

The last thread got deleted because people responded to the nonsense. I'd like to see this one stick around.

Just a politician in damage control..Maybe he should step down like he demanded IMUS do..just a thought..

Did Obama or Wright use a racial slur?

Maybe you could look beyond the superficial comparisons and find more important ideas to discuss from Obama's speech. I'm not saying you have to agree with him, but there is absolutely no denying that this speech makes some very important points. I'm surprised conservatives aren't more receptive to the speech.

What did you think about the portion where he stated that the concerns of whites about affirmative action policies were legitimate and understandable? Was that damage control? Was that typical liberal rhetoric?

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Ramen (3/19/2008)
savwboy savwboy (3/19/2008)
Ramen (3/19/2008)
DomeGnome (3/19/2008)
The first is a general statement about the church while the second is an answer about his awareness of the specific videos being played ad nauseum.

I'm sorry for you that you continue to be incapable of understanding the difference.

Don't feed the trolls this time, please.

The last thread got deleted because people responded to the nonsense. I'd like to see this one stick around.

Just a politician in damage control..Maybe he should step down like he demanded IMUS do..just a thought..

Did Obama or Wright use a racial slur?

Maybe you could look beyond the superficial comparisons and find more important ideas to discuss from Obama's speech. I'm not saying you have to agree with him, but there is absolutely no denying that this speech makes some very important points. I'm surprised conservatives aren't more receptive to the speech.

What did you think about the portion where he stated that the concerns of whites about affirmative action policies were legitimate and understandable? Was that damage control? Was that typical liberal rhetoric?

If I was a member of a White supremacy group or church..If I wrote a fantastic speech(which his speech was well delivered) would I have a free pass?

Obama is damaged goods in my eye's

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savwboy savwboy (3/19/2008)
If I was a member of a White supremacy group or church..If I wrote a fantastic speech(which his speech was well delivered) would I have a free pass?

Obama is damaged goods in my eye's

So you've made up your mind about Obama and have nothing to add to a discussion about racial problems in America. Then move along and let the rest of us discuss the problem.

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savwboy savwboy (3/19/2008)
If I was a member of a White supremacy group or church..If I wrote a fantastic speech(which his speech was well delivered) would I have a free pass?

Obama is damaged goods in my eye's

So you've made up your mind about Obama and have nothing to add to a discussion about racial problems in America. Then move along and let the rest of us discuss the problem.

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savwboy savwboy (3/19/2008)
If I was a member of a White supremacy group or church..If I wrote a fantastic speech(which his speech was well delivered) would I have a free pass?

Obama is damaged goods in my eye's

And I noticed that you ignored my questions about Obama's comments regarding affirmative action in order to make your partisan swipe.

Care to comment about Obama's recognition that white anger about unfair treatment (affirmative action) as legitimate?

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FalconsFor6 (3/19/2008)
What would Obama step down for?

Unlike Imus, the words that he's being held accountable for didn't even come out of his mouth?

This makes no sense...

Imus was quoted as saying what he did. Obama has not been confirmed to utter any such words...

Moreover, the Imus comment was a flat out racial slur. Wright's statements were divisive and inflammatory and stupid, but he never used a slur to refer to white people.

But now you're talking subtlety and nuance and intellectual complexity. Those are not the strong suits of partisan hacks who like to troll internet boards starting flame wars.

So again, please don't feed the trolls.

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Steve_Bartkowski (3/19/2008)
FalconsFor6 (3/19/2008)
What would Obama step down for?

Unlike Imus the words that he's being held accountable for didn't even come out of his mouth?

This makes no sense...

Imus was quoted as saying what he did. Obama has not been confirmed to utter any such words...

Imus made an inappropriate/racist comment and Obama was the first US senator to jump out and say FIRE HIM!.

Then Obama's pastor spews divisive hatred on the pulpit for 20 years and Obama says:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And what is your point?

Obama has no control over what his pastor says...

Imus has full control over the words he lets leave his mouth...

The cases couldn't be any more different and trying to compare the 2 is a blatant act of desperation...

And the part about him disowning his pastor is correct. You nor I have any idea what his relationship with his pastor is. And just like you might have family members whose actions you don't always agree with or whose comments you don't always like, but you love them, the person, none the less...

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FalconsFor6 (3/19/2008)
The cases couldn't be any more different and trying to compare the 2 is a blatant act of desperation..

True, it's an act of desperation to keep people from discussing the real problems underlying racial divisions in this country. So don't give them that victory by distracting you with a bunch of inane pap that everybody sees through. It's better to focus on the content and ideas in Obama's speech than to continue feeding the trolls.

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Steve_Bartkowski (3/19/2008)
FalconsFor6 (3/19/2008)
Steve_Bartkowski (3/19/2008)
FalconsFor6 (3/19/2008)
What would Obama step down for?

Unlike Imus the words that he's being held accountable for didn't even come out of his mouth?

This makes no sense...

Imus was quoted as saying what he did. Obama has not been confirmed to utter any such words...

Imus made an inappropriate/racist comment and Obama was the first US senator to jump out and say FIRE HIM!.

Then Obama's pastor spews divisive hatred on the pulpit for 20 years and Obama says:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And what is your point?

Obama has no control over what his pastor says...

Imus has full control over the words he lets leave his mouth...

The cases couldn't be any more different and trying to compare the 2 is a blatant act of desperation...

And the part about him disowning his pastor is correct. You nor I have any idea what his relationship with his pastor is. And just like you might have family members whose actions you don't always agree with or whose comments you don't always like, but you love them, the person, none the less...

I am saying that if Obama was not a hypocrite and wants to FIRE Imus then he should call for his pastor to be FIRED from the church and wipe his hands of him.

If you say so. Imus was a face on one of the biggest media firms in the world, Wright is a pastor of a church in Illinois...

How you can compare the 2 is beyond my comprehension, but one thing I am sure of is that I'm not about to try. Comparing the 2 is a lost cause...

To you he's a hypocrite anyway, even if he never made the statements his pastor did, and he publicly denounced them...

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I think the speech is brilliant and will very likely be studied for years to come. I tend to lean toward the Democratic side of things, though as I get older I have embraced some of the conservative views.

That being said, I believe that Obama scares the **** out of the ultra conservatives and the conservative talking heads. I feel sure that most of them imagined Obama slowly falling apart, and running from this situation. What I find admirable is that he has planted his feet, dug in his heels and faced it head on. Both sides in the "race debate" have legit gripes. But to ignore views of those who disagree with you is the most counter-productive thing a person or country can do.

No doubt that the Dems and Reps are equally capable at trashing the other party. Long term that is a useless strategy and will accomplish nothing. But in the short term it can win an election. If that siutation is going to change then the voters on both sides need to ratchet down the hyperbole and actually discuss the issues facing out country. Sometimes progress requires significant change. Change is often frightening and we find it easier to stick with what we've done in the past. I hope we can get over that hump and put it in our rearview window.

I sitll have doubts as to whether Obama has "the goods" to actually lead the country. But I have doubts about all of them. It's possible that our economy is going to swoon so deeply that the next President is doomed to be viewed as a failure no matter what he or she accomplishes. But I will say that I believe Obama has strong conviction in his beliefs and hopes for the country. He presents the possibility of significant change for the better and I for one like the idea of that.

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Stevie B...  You're fighting a losing battle on these boards because you're talking to the Baby Boomer generation who believes they are entitled to a fairy tale ending... one where Obama comes in and makes everything right.  Never mind the FACT that his church Hates America... never mind that his pastor Hates white people, never mind the fact that his wife said, QUOTE, "This is the first time I've ever been proud to be an American (on her husband's presidential nomination), Never mind that he won't say the Pledge of Allegiance or awknowledge the flag during the pledge or wear a flag pin, or that he won't say what he's clearly for or against; nevermind that he doesn't disown the racist things his pastor spews or that his church is fully anti American and fully pro Africa... Nevermind that he's a good public speaker with no real agenda to help America...ETC...

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Ramen (3/19/2008)
FalconsFor6 (3/19/2008)
The cases couldn't be any more different and trying to compare the 2 is a blatant act of desperation..

True, it's an act of desperation to keep people from discussing the real problems underlying racial divisions in this country. So don't give them that victory by distracting you with a bunch of inane pap that everybody sees through. It's better to focus on the content and ideas in Obama's speech than to continue feeding the trolls.

I agree there are some strong racial divisions interwoven in the fabric of this country. It's the same sentiment I've expressed to family, friends, and co-workers alike...

No matter who is right and who is wrong, for good or bad, there needs to be a very frank discussion about it...

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xnex (3/19/2008)
I think the speech is brilliant and will very likely be studied for years to come. I tend to lean toward the Democratic side of things, though as I get older I have embraced some of the conservative views.

That being said, I believe that Obama scares the **** out of the ultra conservatives and the conservative talking heads. I feel sure that most of them imagined Obama slowly falling apart, and runningfrom this situation. What I find admirable is that he has planted his feet, dug in his heels and faced it head on. Both sides in the "race debate" have legit gripes. But to ignore views of those who disagree with you is the most counter-productive thing a person or country can do.

No doubt that the Dems and Reps are equally capable at trashing the other party. Long term that is a useless strategy and will accomplish nothing. But in the short term it can win an election. If that siutation is going to change then the voters on both sides need to ratchet down the hyperbole and actually discuss the issues facing out country. Sometimes progress requires significant change. Change is often frightening and we find it easier to stick with what we've done in the past. I hope we can get over that hump and put it in our rearview window.

I sitll have doubts as to whether Obama has "the goods" to actually lead the country. But I have doubts about all of them. It's possible that our economy is going to swoon so deeply that the next President is doomed to be viewed as a failure no matter what he or she accomplishes. But I will say that I believe Obama has strong conviction in his beliefs and hopes for the country. He presents the possibility of significant change for the better and I for one like the idea of that.

What Obama brings to the table that others have not is a genuine intellectual curiosity and desire to understand opposing sides of an argument. He is firm in his beliefs, but he is not so dogmatic that he dismissed opposing views as illegitimate or immoral. Opposing views represent different perspectives to be understood and examined, not threats to our well-being that must be destroyed. That kind of intellectual approach to politics is what has been missing.

It's the same type of approach that people like Patrick Moynihan, William F. Buckley, and Paul Wellstone brought to politics, and the type of approach that people like George Will still embodies.

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