Like so much in this U.S. Presidential nomination cycle, reaction to Barack Obama's speech yesterday on race in America was all in the eye of the beholder.
My friend, Barry Brown, was exuberant:
I said Barack Obama had to give his inaugural address now and that's just what he did.
His speech on race had been compared to King's Dream for the modern era. Flanked by the flags, he looked completely presidential. He set the tone of what his Administration will be about. Completely consistent with everything else he's said and proposed.
Let's reason together and understand together.
What a novel concept after the Bush years. How tragic that it is so. But how wonderful the long night is ending and a new dawn emerging.
I absolutely agree with the substance of Barack Obama's message.
I've also heard essentially the same message delivered equally well before - by American leaders on race relations from Bill Cosby to Bill Clinton - and I have agreed with them too.
It was a good speech. Well-written and well-articulated, but hardly groundbreaking, in spite of all the hyperbole generated in its immediate aftermath.
It was not even one of Mr. Obama's most electrifying or inspiring moments, in my view. Beyond that, I fear it may add to the polarization already emergent, in spite of its best intentions to the contrary.
I do not see this speech as changing anything in this election.
Or in America.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto