During my commute yesterday, I listened to Barack Obama’s speech in Philadelphia on race and religion. It was amazing and inspiring, but not in the usual way one expects to use the words. The oratory was rarely soaring and it didn’t build to huge crescendos.
Instead, what made the speech so good was the combination of Obama’s honesty and the sense he was not talking down to his audience. I heard a smart, black constitutional lawyer speaking about American history, politics, race, religion, and his personal story in simple, straightforward language. This shouldn’t be shocking, but it is. There was no political correctness, no “red meat” for the diehards, no sound-bite pablum, and no simple answers. I felt like I was being treated as a thinking adult, not a demographic, not just a vote up for grabs.
If you’ve only seen or read clips of the speech, I recommend reading or listening to the whole thing. It’s one of those moments we should aspire to.
(Thanks to Dave Winer for the link.)