I called it a bellweather vote, but recently I'm feeling a bit more optimistic about Obama. Listen to a speech he gave today:
Unity is the great need of the hour Ė the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because itís the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country. Iím not talking about a budget deficit. Iím not talking about a trade deficit. Iím not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.It's a pretty good speech, with certain passages appropriately reminiscent of MLK Jr., and this is how he closed:
Iím talking about a moral deficit. Iím talking about an empathy deficit. Iím taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brotherís keeper; we are our sisterís keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.
We have an empathy deficit when weíre still sending our children down corridors of shame Ė schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.
We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers canít afford a doctor when their children get sick.
We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.
We have a deficit when homeless veterans sleep on the streets of our cities; when innocents are slaughtered in the deserts of Darfur; when young Americans serve tour after tour of duty in a war that shouldíve never been authorized and never been waged.
And we have a deficit when it takes a breach in our levees to reveal a breach in our compassion; when it takes a terrible storm to reveal the hungry that God calls on us to feed; the sick He calls on us to care for; the least of these He commands that we treat as our own.
So we have a deficit to close. We have walls Ė barriers to justice and equality Ė that must come down. And to do this, we know that unity is the great need of this hour.
But it is where we begin. It is why the walls in that room began to crack and shake. And if they can shake in that room, they can shake in Atlanta. And if they can shake in Atlanta, they can shake in Georgia. And if they can shake in Georgia, they can shake all across America. And if enough of our voices join together; we can bring those walls tumbling down. The walls of Jericho can finally come tumbling down. That is our hope Ė but only if we pray together, and work together, and march together. Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone. In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone. In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone. So I ask you to walk with me, and march with me, and join your voice with mine, and together we will sing the song that tears down the walls that divide us, and lift up an America that is truly indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all.If this is the politics of change, the Executive is only the start of the equation. We need better legislators too. Bill Clinton's administration was optimistic and idealistic too, and then the curmudgeons in Congress derailed much of what they hoped to change.