The audacity of focus

While I’ve seen different sources call Obama’s speech this evening “falling short of his goal” or “improperly targeted”, I think the criticisms miss one of Obama’s central points (and gloss over the value of the direct things he said about race relations in the US).

In speaking of how it is tempting to focus on the sound bites, the Obama’s pastor said or Hillary’s aide said or “white men will flock to McCain regardless of his policies”… or we can say “Not this time.” We can focus on what the real issues are and not on the speculation, the sound bites and the expert opinions that seem to form so much of our discourse anymore.
In this and in the course of action he proposes in light of “Not this time” he’s asking a lot from us. Look at people outside our insular groups as part of “us” rather than as “them” and see how similar their problems are to ours. 
In that sense, Obama’s speech voices something I’ve been hoping we’d hear more articulately from candidates for some time. Let’s talk about the real stuff, not all the crap that flies around a campaign. What I’m most excited to see in that respect is how Obama will meet the challenge he’s laid before himself.

Originally posted on


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