A speech, rare in form

Last week brought about a timehonored but fading relic of the American political tradition – the good speech. Barack Obama should be commended for speaking directly and honestly to America, in the words of Jon Stewart, “… as if we were adults.”The speech, and the media coverage it received, provides us with a distant but real hope. It is a small kernel of reason burning dimly through the miles of fog and unreason that congest today’s airwaves.His talk was not littered with platitudes – none of the same tired and tiring phrases that choke and sputter from the mouths of all the big players these days. It provided us with, for the first time in a long while, a credo that was crafted and penned in the hand of the speechmaker.It was art.Yet, his speech was more than a call for better race relations. It was a plea for rationality and sense within the media. It was a hand plunged into the muck and morass searching for fingertips. It may bethat his intentions are no better than any of his opponents and that, for him, a speech is simply another way to score points – he may be cast out of that same wretched and duplicitous mold from which politicians have been stamped for generations.Even this scenario – when we stack the cards against his character to the utmost degree – marks a turning point in modern U.S. politics.For the first time since we have held the capacity to think such things, we have witnessed a politician appeal to the part of our brain that calculates, makes decisions and bears within it all the rationality and reason that makes human beings so special.It called upon individuals to rethink the ways they comprehend politics and to crack a pattern of unreason that has echoed across our nation and throughout its halls of government.His speech lay bare what seems to be the Obama credo – “think,” which is something we haven’t done as a nation in a very long time.