This is probably my last post on this speech. The first post basically summarized the speech. The second post commented on the first part of the speech (on racism). This part will focus on the last part of the speech, where Obama transitions.
It's important to note that I think Obama is highly intelligent and I noticed him at the Democratic Convention in 2004. He's a man with a future, but I am suprised that he as risen to this level this fast.
Obama's speech talked in great detail on Racism. But the actual speech was titled "A More Perfect Union". Many in the press thought this would be his speech to defend Rev. Wright or to distance himself. He did talk about Rev. Wright and to some small degree both defended him and distanced himself. But I believe that this all set the stage for what Obama sees as the way to form "A More Perfect Union."
Roughly 4500 words into his speech, Obama transitions. He says "we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division..." Then he points out "if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction." I agree. Racism and Rev. Wright are a distraction. Focusing on these issues (and others like them) take the focus off the real problems in our nation. Obama (and I) has a better idea "we can come together and say, 'Not this time.'"
So what does Obama think we should focus on? Here's where my opinion and the Senator's diverge. Obama lists 1) "crumbling schools that are stealing the future of (all) children" first. Then he talks about 2) health care, 3) the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life (and offshoring) and 4) "how to bring (soliders) home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged."
Here's my differences: 1) Schools should not be federally run. Nothing in the constitution says that every one has a right to education. Leave the schools up to the states and local authorities. Get the federal government out.
2) Health care is an issue, but more of an economic issue. I've talked about my view on healthcare in another blog post (see it here)
3) Job protection (shuttered mills) and offshoring - Obama doesn't say what he will do here. I haven't studied enough of his platform to figure it out. I see the economy as a second tier issue, my comments are here.
4) Obama says the war in Iraq should not have been waged and we should bring the soldiers home. I disagree on both parts. We (including the UN) told Iraq and the world NUMEROUS times that they should comply with certain resolutions and they did not. We looked like the bully who drew a line in the sand, but backed down when the other guy crossed it. Hussein was a ruthles dictator who ground people up in meat grinders. He wiped out most of the Kurds and let his own people die will he lined his pockets. We watched as other countries skirted the economic blockades and profited at our expense. My only complaint is that we waited too long. Actions should have been taken sooner.
As for withdrawing the troops, if we do that now, Iraq will crumble. We have a moral obligation to protect the people and to help rebuild. We did this in Japan and Germany after WWII. It will not be over soon. There have been problems in the way this has been handled, but we shouldn't penalize the Iraqi people because of our cowardice.
5) Nowhere in Obama's speech does he talk about National Security. I believe this should be the #1 issue in 2008 and beyond. He ignores terrorism and in other speeches says we should sit down with known terrorist leaders.
While Obama only spent about 400 words on what it takes to form "A More Perfect Union", I believe this represents his ideas. While he wants to move the focus off of racism, he wants to move to the wrong items. And the way he focuses on those items is wrong.