by Marcus Sakey
As I made clear here not long ago, I'm an Obama supporter.
There are a lot of reasons for that. I'm behind his policy, which is at once powered by hope and tempered by pragmatism. I'm floored by his lifelong dedication to making the world better. I'm delighted to have a politician inspire me, to bring some passion and energy to what has become an increasingly jaded field.
But I think the thing gets me most fired up is his ability to address complicated issues with intelligence and clarity, while refusing to oversimplify them. In a world of soundbites, Obama has managed to avoid six-word answers to serious issues--and yet he has dodged the trap many a Democrat has fallen into (John Kerry, for example), of getting so lost in his own rhetoric that he misplaces his message.
For my money, two of the president's most important duties are these: first, he or she needs to inspire, lead, and empower the thousands of very smart people who work for them. And second, he or she needs to be able to communicate effectively with the American public and the world at large.
Obama excels at both of these roles, and he does it in the face of challenging, multi-layered issues. A prime example was the speech he gave last week entitled "A More Perfect Union." The full text is available here; or you can click below to watch the video:
What a piece of rhetoric! Erudite, reasoned, impassioned, and unafraid. It blew my hair back. I loved his head-on acknowledgment that we have racial problems in this country. I loved that he acknowledged the validity of those concerns, the very real basis of them. And I loved that he did that without finger-pointing, but rather with a call to action. This speech reconfirmed my belief that for once we're looking at a politician whose primary goal is to make the country better. Period.
But that's just me. What did you think of the speech? Did it get you on your feet, or did it leave you cold? I'd really like to know.