Obama In 'Bama

The folks at No Left Turns have a series of posts on Hillary and Obama's speeches at Selma last weekend. Follow the first link to transcripts of each. I don't think there's a dime's worth of difference in how either of them would vote on anything, but I must say Obama's rhetoric at least is refreshing. So far at least he always speaks like an American and couches his comments in the context of American principles and America being true to herself. I haven't found us v. them race-baiting in his speeches, and there's also this, for which he deserves praise:
One of the signature aspects of the civil rights movement was the degree of discipline and fortitude that was instilled in all the people who participated. Imagine young people, 16, 17, 20, 21, backs straight, eyes clear, suit and tie, sitting down at a lunch counter knowing somebody is going to spill milk on you but you have the discipline to understand that you are not going to retaliate because in showing the world how disciplined we were as a people, we were able to win over the conscience of the nation. I can’t say for certain that we have instilled that same sense of moral clarity and purpose in this generation.
[E]ven as I fight on behalf of more education funding, more equity, I have to also say that, if parents don’t turn off the television set when the child comes home from school and make sure they sit down and do their homework and go talk to the teachers and find out how they’re doing, and if we don’t start instilling a sense in our young children that there is nothing to be ashamed about in educational achievement, I don’t know who taught them that reading and writing and conjugating your verbs was something white. We’ve got to get over that mentality.
And this:
We have too many children in poverty in this country and everybody should be ashamed, but don’t tell me it doesn’t have a little to do with the fact that we got too many daddies not acting like daddies. Don’t think that fatherhood ends at conception. I know something about that because my father wasn’t around when I was young and I struggled.

I like this even more, and frankly this is a message no longer apt only for minorities:

the civil rights movement wasn’t just a fight against the oppressor; it was also a fight against the oppressor in each of us.
Sometimes it’s easy to just point at somebody else and say it’s their fault, but oppression has a way of creeping into it. Reverend, it has a way of stunting yourself. You start telling yourself, Bishop, I can’t do something. I can’t read. I can’t go to college. I can’t start a business.


part of what the civil rights movement was about was recognizing that we have to transform ourselves in order to transform the world. Mahatma Gandhi, great hero of Dr. King and the person who helped create the nonviolent movement around the world; he once said that you can’t change the world if you haven’t changed.

Good on 'im for saying that. Now if he would only recognize that the welfare state creates that mentality --and not only in minorities, in all of us.