Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Obama Acceptance Speech

Theme: UNITY

Boilerplate aside, this was an interesting speech. As the French horns lingered in cascading sixth chords, President Elect Obama stressed again and again the need for everyone to come together. In his litany of the types of Americans making up the whole, he included "gays and straights" along with everyone else—something unimaginable for a Bush or McCain Presidency. Of course he also set the furniture for a new Camelot, mentioning his wife Michelle and his children Sasha and Meliya, and a First Dog yet to be named. Young partiers whooped and stalked the streets in cities across the nation, as the new President urged Americans to abandon cynicism and embrace the idea that "change has come."

An acceptance speech may be viewed as the first act of a new Presidency, though the Inauguration will not come for a couple of months. Obama emphasized the two occupations, which he called the "two wars," as challenges for his new Administration, but he also pointed to the financial meltdown, and, encouragingly, mentioned "a planet in peril" in the same breath. As I listened to the list of agenda items that followed, I was pleased to note that this euphemism for climate change had come in the first tier. Following that primary category of challenges, the shovel-list continued: Healthcare, education, jobs—"putting our people back to work," as he said, which is a better formulation than the usual boilerplate indicating breaks for the rich that we've heard since Reagan—and then he acknowledged that he needed to "repair alliances" with the globe, and he then called for patience.

He will need a lot of patience, not least because his entire prospective treasury has already been robbed, in a maneuver of arrogance, cynicism and collaborationism that he also voted for. I believe that this is the time to lay the groundwork for a completely utilitarian and necessary maneuver, one that is unthinkable now but will become inevitable later, that is, that Obama will be unable to move forward without confiscating the wealth of the great corporations. Obama will need to nationalize Exxon, Mobil, and BP, and he will need a solid groundswell of support from all of us. So start talking about it, please!

Obama also departed from the toxic attitude of the Bush Administration by stating directly, though not in as many words, that he would be open to dissent. Dissent has been nearly criminalized under the neocon regime. What a breath of fresh air that is.

Citing the experience of a 106-year old African American voter, Obama pointed to what he called the genius of America—the ability to change. He had already stated that only here could he have such social mobility—a point easily challenged by anyone familiar with social mobility statistics in France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, of Finland, but a hopeful sentiment all the same.

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