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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

a new dawn « Previous | |Next »
January 20, 2009

The first African-American presidential nominee is giving his acceptance speech 45 years to the day that Martin Luther King Jr told the world of his dream. King's I Have a Dream speech is regarded, along with Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Franklin D. Roosevelt's Infamy Speech, as one of the finest speeches in the history of American oratory.In the speech King paints a picture of an integrated and unified America.

The dream had a radical edge. As King said:

The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation... We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

He advocated collective refusal to be oppressed; a movement using non-violent resistance to end racial prejudice and oppression of black American citizens in the United States.

From the 1967 speech:

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

What will Obama's inauguration speech say? Will it reprise King? Or go back to Roosevelt's 1933 speech delivered when the nation was already in the grip of depression with 40 percent of the work force unemployed?

Update
The transcript is here whilst the video is here.

It is very much in the tradition of we at the crossroads but if we take the right measures then we can once again be a great country, and a beacon for the world. It's about confidence. Thus:

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet .... Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord .... The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

A sobering speech from a President of the US that calls for service and responsibility. It is of the moment and implies reshaping governance on behalf of the public.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:38 AM | | Comments (6)
Comments

Comments

Well I guess Planet of the Apes was all true and this is the beginning of the monkey rule.

Yes its a great day for black america but america isnt a black country.

Things are going to get real bad there, real bad!

America needs to find itself an enemy that all can hate real quick.

Otherwise its Implosion.

Obama emphasizes that he speaks for a united states of America.

The stirring rhetoric came with the foreign policy part of the speech:

As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Does that apply to the Afghanistan people?

Nan
there is a hard edge to the foreign policy:

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the west – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.
To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

America has extended the fist for too long to suddenly pretend to be the country offering "Free Hugs".
It will be many many years before it can establish itself in the opposite way to what it is now perceived around the world as. Not many weeks.

But Obama is the right man at this time to get it started.
Unfortunately those in the world who seek just to bring chaos don't care how they are perceived by others because they are always right (or have God on their side) and care little for the enemies well worded and delivered speeches.

Just remember too that whatever comes out of Obama's mouth at the moment is written by the best speech writers around and then delivered after much practice and coaching.

funny how he aligned his thoughs with 2 guys that had been assassinated (martyrs) Abe and Martin.

KCHING! KCHING!