Obama Chrysostom

Glancing quickly through my favorite blogs, I'm astonished to find very little positive reaction to Obama's big speech on race. Which is magnificent, at least qua speech. Don't be so small or so dull you can't give the man his due, people!

I have hardly any quarrel with Obama's assertion of our nation's ideals or his depiction of the state of race relations today. I thought he evoked fairly movingly the various tensions and anger in the different races and was effective in saying the Rev. Wright's big mistake was in thinking of the country as static, rather than as perfectable --in other words, he's lost hope. Powerline's got further thoughts on the Rev. Wright portion --with which I concur, although while reading I was able to suspend disbelief long enough to just enjoy.

The problem is the same-old, same-old statist policy paths Obama wants to take us on as a path to unity and color-blindness. You can't build a nation of free and equal citizens by making all citizens more and more dependent on the government, replacing work and discipline with a sense of entitlement that breeds more and more anger --not less. It's not just the dependence; the more the government gives us, the more our lives are governed by regulations that make it difficult to exercise the virtue of prudence and be a man at all.

Update: I agree with this reaction to the reaction.
I read the various posts here on "The Corner," mostly pretty ho-hum or critical about Obama's speech. Then I figured I'd better read the text (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn't). I've just finished. Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I'm concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we're used to from our pols.... But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie.
Maybe the difference is the two of us read the speech and others seem to have watched it.
Mind you, I think it's a rhetorical triumph, not a substantive one. See Prof. K's response for more on that. VDH is unsparing.
to Obama, the postmodernist, context is everything. We all have eccentric and flamboyant pastors like Wright with whom we disagree. And words, in his case, don’t quite mean what we think; unspoken intent and angst, not voiced hatred, are what matters more. Rather than account for his relationship with a hate-monger, Obama will enlighten you, as your teacher, why you are either confused or too ill-intended to ask him to disassociate himself from Wright.
That is rather neat, isn't it? "Hate crimes" are when we prosecute people a little extra for what we think they thought while committing heinous crimes; but for some people, what you think gets you off the hook?
Obama is right about one thing: We are losing yet another opportunity to talk honestly about race, to hold all Americans to the same standards of public ethics and morality, and to emphasize that no one gets a pass peddling vulgar racism, or enabling it by failing to disassociate himself from its source — not Rev. Wright, not even the eloquent, but now vapid, Barack Obama.
Well. I still say it read well.