Indiana Daily Student (Indiana U.)
3/18/08 U-Wire 00:00:00
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As I drove along I-74 from Cincinnati to
Indianapolis on Saturday, I casually scanned the radio to pass the
time. I only got through three stations before I picked up a
broadcast of a Sen. Barack Obama speech. He spoke passionately to a
packed gymnasium in Plainfield, Ind., about all of the struggles
facing our country.
After listening intently for a while without the distractions of
a television broadcast, which inherently clouds our judgment, I
realized something: This man is brilliant, this man is articulate
and this man has no idea what he's doing.
It made me feel bad for the people standing in that room, caught
up in a candidate-loving fervor, fawning on this good-looking man
while hanging onto his every word. It reminded me of a scene from
the film "Varsity Blues" when the star quarterback gets up to
address the student body before homecoming.
Despite supporters' reactions to the speech, Obama did a couple
of things wrong in my opinion. He relied on race far too often to
make a point in his speech. Leave it to Obama to cite
then-presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy's Indianapolis elegy after
the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. to talk about the
future of America. Such impassioned talk loses its personal touch
when people find out you lifted similar rhetoric from Massachusetts
Gov. Deval Patrick's "Just Words" speech. It makes you look like an
opportunist only interested in capitalizing on your race.
His naivete on foreign policy also shined through when he
mentioned returning the war on terror to its original strategy in
Afghanistan. The idea that we can withdraw troops from Iraq while
protecting its future for democracy is laughable. This would only
serve to further destabilize the region. Perhaps the junior senator
from Illinois should have suggested that we petition the almighty
United Nations for its gracious support.
He did something that I respect, however. When a young man asked
how he would better teach black history in schools, Obama responded
by saying that we need to teach more about other minorities and
groups as well, including women and unions. I think whether black,
white, Democrat or Republican, it is important to know where we've
come from so we know what we are capable of accomplishing. I just
don't think Obama is the man to do it simply because he's black and
"Hey, isn't it about time?"
Obama can't win unless he transcends race in the minds of voters.
This trouble with his pastor who spouts anti-American and anti-white
rhetoric coupled with his seemingly unending references to race is
not helping. He should have long ago addressed the topic of race and
moved on. If he would move on, the American people would too.
But instead, he reinforces racial identity throughout his
speeches as he did in Indiana, and it seems many Democrats think
they have a moral obligation to vote for a black man to prove that
they aren't racist. Considering race as a factor in nominating their
candidate might allow the Democrats to give themselves a collective
pat on the back, but it won't make Obama a good president.