Yesterday, Barack Obama made a speech that’s getting quite a lot of attention. If I’d been home in South Jersey, I probably would have recruited some friends to try to catch it; he spoke in Philadelphia, apparently just across the street from the Constitution Center. Thanks to Alma for emailing me the link to its transcript, and now I’ve found it on Youtube. It’s long, but I think it’s well worth watching:
It’s a brilliant speech by a powerful orator. I don’t think I’ve seen such an excellent speaker so long as I’ve seen any political candidates ever. It rivals “Ask not what your country can do for you.” It rivals “I have a dream.”
It is about unity over division.
And it reminded me of my personal favorite candidate, John Edwards.
Obama spoke on race; Edwards built his platform around class, which is just as divisive as race (and is often so intricately tied, one to the other). Division? Yes, there is white and black, Latino and Asian. But there is also 300,000 versus 150 million (top income earners versus everyone else). There is also the Hummer-driving, Starbucks-drinking, valet-parking population of Hollywood and its handful of burbs versus the Coleman stove-burning, seedy motel-showering population of so-called Tent City not even an hour away in Ontario (and probably walking distance from Ontario’s Outlet Malls).
Here’s a speech Edwards gave at the Service Employees International Union (you’ll note, at time of linking, its front page features a banner with Barack Obama):
And a spot he did about his beliefs and hopes to bring America together:
Reading about Tent City gives me a bad feeling; that it’s happening to those people. That it could happen at all. That they are giving out armbands now.
Back in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, a similar situation occurred across the nation.
This is not now a crisis; it’s been headed this way for a while, and it’s only getting worse.
And I think the two subjects of this post, Obama and Edwards, can get us through this, but I think they need to commit. I think it’s about time Edwards quit waiting around to see who might earn the nomination and endorsed Obama before it’s too damned late to do so, and I think, at the same time, it’s time for Obama to shake Edwards’ hand and offer him the VP spot on the ticket. It’s time for the primaries to be Obama & Edwards v. Clinton.
Obama & Edwards: Yes we can