nyceve: we feel your despair. We feel the despair borne of a political-military-industrial establishment that invents wars and ignores looming environmental catastrophe, that enriches itself without limit and without regard to the public good, that shreds the principles our society was built on, lies about it with impunity, and laughs.
But while it may be irrational to hope, hope is our only chance. Without hope, we don't have the strength to organize and to act. With it, then there's at least a chance we can. Barack Obama, the Audacity of Hope guy, gets that.
Obama made not one but two major speeches yesterday. The first, covered extensively here, was his subdued, cerebral speech to the DNC Winter meeting. Saying repeatedly "politics is not a game," he challenged the party to treat the campaign as a unified effort to raise the political discourse of our nation, rather than as blood sport.
But it's his second speech -- to a crowd of 3000(!) students at George Mason University -- that infused me with hope, and might cheer you up too. As a bonus, it previewed the six policy themes that may form the backbone of his campaign platform.
Excerpts and video below.
Excerpts from speech #1, DNC winter meeting:
Speech #2, student rally at GMU:
These are the closing lines of Senator Obama's speech. I've boldfaced the six policy themes that, I think we all agree, represent places where despair may be warranted, but hope is sorely needed:
"It reminds me of something Dr. King said 2 weeks after Bloody Sunday, after some of those young people had gone down and risked their lives, after the marches had been turned back... he gathered people up and he said I understand that you're fearful, I understand you may be near despair, but let me tell you something, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. It bends towards justice.
But here's the thing, George Mason, here's the thing, young people, it doesn't bend on its own, it bends because you put your hand on that arc and you bend it in the direction of justice. It bends in that direction because you decide that you're going to stand up to a war that should have never been waged. It bends because you decide that we need a health care system for all Americans. It bends because you make a decision that every child in America deserves a decent education, even if they're not wealthy. And that every senior citizen deserves to retire with dignity and respect. And you make a decision that we don't want to just be feared in the world, but we want to be respected in the world. And you make a decision that we're willing to make the sacrifices and take the steps, to avoid melting of the polar ice caps, and a drowning of the coasts all across this world.
You make that decision.
And if you grab that arc, think about all the power that's represented here if all of you decide that you are going to get involved. If you all grab that arc, then I have no doubt, I have absolutely no doubt, that regardless of what happens in this presidential year and regardless of what happens in this campaign, America will transform itself. And the future for my children and my grandchildren and my grand-grandchildren is gonna be bright.