B and I watched Obama's acceptance speech last night. He spoke for 45 minutes, and we listened, entranced, to the entire thing without getting bored, despite our limited tolerance for political speeches. I know there are lots of Obama's specific policy proposals that I disagree with. But the America he is working for - the one that he wants to make - is the one I want to live in. We might disagree some on the details, but we definitely agree on the desired outcome.
At the beginning of the speech, after his acceptance, the crowd was going wild clapping and waving tens of thousands of signs that simply read CHANGE. I was completely caught up in the emotion of it, but then B brought me down, as always, by remarking "it's like a giant crowd of panhandlers." For the rest of the speech, I had to giggle every time the camera panned across the crowd and I saw those CHANGE signs.
One of my favorite excerpts:
The record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.Oh, and this one, which almost made me cry again until I saw the CHANGE signs:
These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.Phenomenal. He is taking the offensive, which is what needs to happen, but being fair about it. I think he is another FDR or another JFK. What we need isn't specific policy proposals, but a renewing of spirit, a rebirth, a new beginning. We need ideals and inspiration again. That is what I will be voting for.
But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America, they have served the United States of America.