Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama on the Cost and Struggle of Change

David Sirota was one of an estimated 100,000 who heard Senator Barack Obama speak over the weekend in Denver. He writes:

“What really seemed to capture those 100,000 Coloradoans (including me) - was his [Obama’s] discussion about struggle. I may be an old seadog from the many campaigns I've worked, and I may have learned enough to not be easily mesmerized by politicians, but I will admit right here: the flash I saw from Obama at the end of his speech really blew me away.”

“Indeed, as he was closing his remarks, he touched on how making change is incredibly painful and incredibly grueling - and how it always has been throughout our history. And the best part - the part where the audience was most silent and rapt - was when Obama veered off his prepared remarks and made it personal.”

‘Maybe some of your parents or grandparents, they were born in another country without freedom of speech or freedom of worship, but they said, you know what, we know there's this land across the ocean called America, where it's a land of opportunity and a land of freedom, and we're willing to take the risk to travel to that place to create a better future for our children and grandchildren. In this audience, there are people whose parents or grandparents couldn't cast a vote, but they said to themselves you know, maybe my child or grandchild, if we march, if we struggle, maybe they may be able to run for the United States Senate, maybe they might run for the Presidency of the United States of America.’

“Those references to the courage of immigrants and the civil rights movement are clearly personal to Obama, and they are rarely voiced in Colorado politics - an arena that has often been about bashing immigrants. That he departed from his prepared text to talk about those issues, and tied them to a discussion about how difficult change is – well, it suggests that very "transformative" possibility of the Obama candidacy.”

“Whether you believe Obama represents real change or not, I came away believing that he understands the challenge of actually making change, should he win. That is, he understands that if he really attempts to fundamentally alter the status quo on major issues, it is going to be a very tumultuous and difficult process - one that only begins on election day.”

Source: David Sirota, The Moment Obama Grabbed 100,000 Coloradoans, Huffington Post, 26 October 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Obama Grabbing 100,000 Coloradoans. (Courtesy of David Sirota and HP at the above link. This picture has been modified into an artsy style for use as a desktop photo.)