This is an important speech. I don't agree with everything in it, but it's an incredible piece of oratory.
Yes, he gives Israel a Get Out of Jail Free card. Yes, he shouldn't have had to make the speech in the first place. No, he doesn't make all of the points he could have made. No, he never once mentions non-straight people. Yes, most of all, he does trade heavily in the discourse of American exceptionalism.
Nevertheless, I am impressed. I haven't ever heard a speech by a major national politician that didn't fill me with cynicism, until this one. It doesn't talk down to its audience or break down easily into sound bites (bytes? The toothy metaphor seems more accurate). He (or his speech writers; I can't entirely give up on cynicism) brought up tough issues of race and didn't just deny them or paint a rosy future. He actually honestly presented his ideas of where race problems come from and where they might go. He argued for a politics that surpasses race instead of bypassing it. While this is usually a hollow rhetorical replacement for the same idea, Obama's version isn't. It seems, for whatever reason, to be real.
I must admit, I voted for Obama as the least of several evils, not as a candidate I felt I could honestly support. There are still issues on which he and I disagree. But, he has slowly won me over. I can now feel comfortable saying that I endorse him, though certainly not all of his positions.
At a moment when the Democratic party has consistently disappointed me for as long as I've been paying attention, this guy has gotten me interested again. And not just me, but millions of others who found the whole thing a little too fixed for our taste. Thank you, Barack Obama. Let's see if we can make this happen.