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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.

Fight on!

Originally posted to jab on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 02:50 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  his framing of global warming made me hopeful: (8+ / 0-)

    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.

    I'm so glad that the environment seems to be a top-shelf issue this season.   Finally.

    "Terror kills thousands of people. Global warming could kill millions. We should have a war on global warming rather than the war on terror." --Stephen Hawking

    by jab on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 02:49:36 PM PST

  •  Very nice (11+ / 0-)

    Obama is special, we're lucky to have him.


    •  He seems to be channeling Dean's message (6+ / 0-)

      "You have the power"

      yet he does it in a way that somehow doesn't alienate the MSM and moderates.

      Edwards understands the hope thing, too, and probably some of it has rubbed off on Hillary from her husband.  In a way, the Democratic brand really is hope, while Republicans represent cynicism.

      "Terror kills thousands of people. Global warming could kill millions. We should have a war on global warming rather than the war on terror." --Stephen Hawking

      by jab on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 02:54:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  unfortunely this is by being unspecific (5+ / 0-)

        "A health care system for all Americans." What does that mean, specifically? The proof is left to the reader.

        The leftist thinks "finally some sanity in DC, after years and years of death by spreadsheet, we'll get rid of the leeches who are draining our resources that could be used to pay for health care for all."

        Whereas "MSM millionaire punditman" fills in the mental blank with, "and then the 'free market' provides health care for all, with candy and lollipops and cupcakes with your name on them! And I won'd have to pay a cent more in taxes. Yay, Obama! What a hero!"

        The hope thing works because it lacks any specific policy positions. Once you fill those in, somebody will be unhappy.

        •  He also addressed Families USA . . . (4+ / 0-)

          He was very impressive, but said vis a vis his health care plan, that it was being formulated by the experts.

          So he has really not announced the specifics yet.

          Stay tuned.

        •  Yes, you've put your finger on it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tiggers thotful spot, mollyd

          Politicians who utter general positive platitudes are Business as Usual, and therefore don't get the MSM and corporatists up in arms.  

          Obama has a lot of loverly generalizations but darn few specifics at this point.  And as an old timer, I have learned to distrust platitudinous speeches of this type rather a lot.

          I hope the specifics, when and if Obama finally proposes some, will have some substance.

          •  Pablisms (0+ / 0-)

            A lot of political types speak in little nuggets of pablum to fool Joe and Jane American and to avoid pissing off the campaign donors and the high and mighty.

          •  Yup! "Morning in America! What about "..ask not (0+ / 0-)

            what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country"

            Yea you can't believe leaders who speak in platitudes.

            The Lord wants us to be spiritual fruits not religious nuts. "It's the solider, not.."

            by Lady Bird Johnson on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 07:56:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well (0+ / 0-)

              I was forced as a child to listen to all of President Kennedy's speeches at jr. high school.  That would be one reason I don't like this tripe.  It can be boring tripe. Or good quality tripe.  But these days, all this crap tells you is:

              1.  In the rare case where the candidate writes his own speeches, it tells you whether he can write.
              1.  Otherwise, it tells you whether he can read tripe convincingly.

              In other words, it tells you nothing at all substantive.  Just because a politician uses it doesn't mean he is 'bad', only that he is Business as Usual.

              In short, "Don't watch their eyes.  Watch their hands."

              Obama has one big plus for me, that he originally came out against the war.  This would impress me even more if I didn't feel that it might have been a calculated ploy to get money from DFA when he was one of the original Dean Dozen.  You weren't getting money from DFA if you were Pro War in 2003/2004.

              Other than that, he's a blank slate, maybe bad, maybe good.

        •  Why would he talk specifics now? (0+ / 0-)

          I don't what people continue with this line.  He hasn't even announced he is running.  I'm almost sure that when he official announces his candidacy for President he will get specific.  He will have all his "white papers" in a row.

          The Lord wants us to be spiritual fruits not religious nuts. "It's the solider, not.."

          by Lady Bird Johnson on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 07:54:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Terrific - imagine to have been there at Mason (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jab, DemDog, extradish

    Thank God for young people -- young people with hope and drive.

    May the old fogies here -- and out in America follow the lead of the students at Mason - their hope - their inspiration - and get moving to elect Obama.

    There is a generational divide when it comes to Obama - and for some it will be a leap of faith to go with Obama.

    But as you say -- it is all about hope.

    and after years of despair with Bush --

    we need hope now.

    Proud to be a Bleeding Heart Liberal

    by sara seattle on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 03:15:33 PM PST

  •  I prefer my hope (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Snakes on a White House

    without hot air.  Mr. Obama, who started out looking so great, is now a big liar like the rest. He's proposing his own plan to 'win' in Iraq, who is he kidding.  He should tell the truth, that Mr. Bush's  'war' is lost, terror has won, Mr. Chevez is hardly out to lunch when he speaks about our pres (as Cheney writes him, but with a line through it), there is no way to avoid a bigger blood bath, only a way to avoid our kids getting caught up in taking inadvertent sides and not only dying but participating in killing and maiming more innocent Iraqis through Muktada's 'get back' policy of engaging our military against his rivals.  Mr. Obama turns into a disappointment, and a tad too soon for my taste. It was nice for a while. But, I'll give him a do-over if he wants to start speaking the truth. I'll suggest he start by reading Maureen Dowd's Feb. 3 column, for an educational boost.  

  •  Wow this guy is something and he hasnt even (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jab, Lady Bird Johnson

    Got off the blocks yet! So Clintonesque in delivery! And he will only get better!
    Barring any major 'gaffs'/scandals he can only go up!

    There is something in the air folks!

  •  Thanks, jab (0+ / 0-)

    glad to read about this event.  I think he's going to have a huge following among young people and other outsider groups.  Encourage everyone you know to read "Dreams From My Father", his first book.  It is very thoughtful and interesting.

    another american against the war(s)

    by extradish on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 07:30:06 PM PST

  •  Thanks for a wonderful diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and great videos. Can't help but love him. He's like Bobby Kennedy. Please dear universe, protect him and keep him safe.

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