A great unifying speech

I took time out last night to re-read Barack Obama’s extraordinary 12 January Tuscon, Arizona, speech. Doubts about whether Obama was able to empathise that first surfaced during his campaign for the White House have lingered. But this speech will surely have put those doubts to rest for a long while, if not forever. It was one out of the top drawer, as was his delivery (watch here). His tributes to the dead, coloured with affectionate personal detail, were clearly heartfelt and deeply moving. But his reflections on what could and should be learnt from the tragedy and the way in which he argued against prejudice and sought to heal the wounds in the American psyche were marks of the great President that I believe Obama will become. His obvious affection for the common Americans whose lives he briefly described – both the victims and their relations and the everyday heroes (‘heroism is here, in the hearts of so many of our fellow citizens, all around us, just waiting to be summoned – as it was on Saturday morning’) – were the marks of one who, as Dreams From my Father vividly attested, happily worked among them in what was to become an apprenticeship for greater things.


  1. Hugo Kijne

    Good egg, Martin.

  2. Joe

    After two years, it’s too late to believably make that inferrence. He threw away two years ignoring real economic issues in favor of jamming through an agenda, saying that “it would be stimulative”.

    It was plain to see that only his small clique of academia and social-services-based sector were interested in an effort to nationalize health insurance, and that the majority of the population saw it as a job-killer. He simply refused to face his inner circle with it.

    Our circustances as a people was almost entirely ignored, except for attempts to seek out empathy. To begin with, the agenda he suggested upon election sent a chill through the economy – THAT was when employment dropped off, the markets REALLY fell, and the poor and middle income started getting it in the pants.

    Hardly a soul in the US still buys his advance PR. When his said “we are who we’ve been waiting for”, he must have been referring to him and the wife, and maybe a handful of political activist types who never held down a job they could actually lose in their lives, or actually earned their living – not just “getting” their earnings.

    His entourage is made of people who have been driven by contempt for the common man in this country, in favor of radicalism, and have gone through enough narrative-and-messaging seminars to not just be dangerous, but alien and antithetical to the will of the population they purport to be working for.

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