As a Writer, That Speech? Swoon

The words just fucking sing:

For when we have faced down impossible
odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t
try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a
simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Yes we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the
destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail
toward freedom through the darkest of nights.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and
pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the
ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and
prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this
world. Yes we can.

And so tomorrow, as we take this campaign South and West; as we learn
that the struggles of the textile worker in Spartanburg are not so
different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas; that the
hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are
the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we
will remember that there is something happening in America; that we
are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people;
we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter
in America’s story with three words that will ring from coast to
coast; from sea to shining sea – Yes. We. Can.


16 thoughts on “As a Writer, That Speech? Swoon

  1. Indeed, just beautifully written … and it was impressively delivered, too.
    As I watched him speak these words last night, I was bowled over with what a fine piece of writing it was (as well as his oration skills).
    The way the speech wove the people into center-stage of his vision, “our new American majority” becoming the “we” in “Yes we can” — *literally* enchanting.
    And I hadn’t heard its like since JFK and Bobby.

  2. I’m with you. What’s more, he never once looked down at some piece of paper or out at some prompter, so far as I could tell. Either he has a damn good memory, or he’s just naturally thinks in poetry. Either way, you don’t dismiss anyone with such formidable skills as an empty-head. He’s not more of the same. No way. Not even close.

  3. A.
    This is slightly off topic but kinda ties a couple of things together for me. As I was reading your post the other day about the harm that has historically befallen those that have arisen in America that have given the people the greatest hope I couldn’t help but well up with tears.
    I’m not exactly described by most as a wimpy kinda guy but when I momentarily stopped to think about how my life has been woven with the jolting and tragic losses of JFK and MLK and RFK and all the people that each time had a little hope squeezed from them, I just couldn’t turn it off. It only lasted a moment but I couldn’t have stopped it if I’d wanted to. It’s hard to know where we’ll be or what will trigger the kinds of internal reflection that will cause emotions to rise, so I choose to believe Hillary’s infamous emotional “outburst” was real and most human.
    Dodd, Edwards & Clinton to date have appealed to my more reasoned evaluation of who I think would work best in the next presidential slot – each for fairly different reasons but in about that order of preference. Each one has an emotional appeal – also considerably different from one another. But none of them ignite my passions like Barrack. There were moments last night that I thought I heard MLK, which in my opinion is one of the greatest of all Americans ever.
    Obama greatly appeals to my more emotional desire for a bright and hopeful future and I’m trying to weigh that against if I can feel assured that he has the substance and strength to step up to the presidency. I actually have little doubt left. So now for me it seems to come down to pure policy differences, priorities and how I see each candidate effecting those policies.
    I’m sorry for the loss of Dodd in the race but I suspect we’ll be hearing much more from him in the future. No matter how things shape up in the democratic race I’m thrilled at the depth and character and the passion and the abilities of the whole field. Barrack gives me hope for the future just knowing he’s there to help lead the way.
    I assume that I may have a few more unseemly “emotional moments” before this election is over and before I shuffle off the mortal coil – I’m just glad I won’t have the twits Mathews and O’Reilly to deal with. Although, it they want to look me up…

  4. What jimmyraybob said.
    But being BuggyQ, I must add, I had been uncertain about Obama, and still am to a certain extent. But listening to that speech, I really want this man to become our president. Wouldn’t Holden’s “Your President Speaks” posts be wonderful?

  5. While I usually can get swept up in Obama’s powerful, old-fashioned call-and-response speeches, this particular speech was tiresome to me. I interpreted the “Yes, We Can” as an ingenious translation of “Si, Se Puede.” A way to court Latino voters who will know that the phrase has been borrowed from them while not alienating folks who are insulated from that fact–a brilliant-but-sneaky political strategy. I admire how clever this tactic is, but would prefer to hear him demonstrate his willingness to bring all parties to the table by speaking Spanish. I don’t want people who would resent that at the Democratic party’s table.

  6. [I] would prefer to hear him demonstrate his willingness to bring all parties to the table by speaking Spanish.
    My first reaction: Holy cow, do youwant him to get shot? (Literally or figuratively, I think in the current political climate, speaking Spanish would be about theworst thing he could do — the transmitters for the nativist radical right would have more ammo to throw at him. Eesh.)
    That said, I have to say I find Obama’s whole black-preacher mien (up to and including his public appearance with one of these “ex-gay” homobigot types) to be severely off-putting, for about the same reason as I find the white analogue off-putting in Mike Huckabee. The US seriously, seriously needsless religious posturing of all sorts in its public sphere, not more.
    Where I come from, at least, such things aren’t done, and people publicly inquiring about the religious preferences of candidates are generally met with varying degrees of Trudeauesque “What the fuck business is it of yours?” (The one guy I can think of who was using his Catholicism to prop up his opposition to same-sex marriage — does anyone actually have arational reason for being anti-same-sex marriage?! — got a huge shitstorm of criticism and rightly so. I had been going to go down to his office and picket, but I never made it for one reason or other.)

  7. Pretty clever to use your victory speech as your concession speech. Nice way to keep up morale to the troops.

  8. Doesn’t it bother any of you that this Obama spiel is like recycled 1930s commie agitprop? I mean, the guy looks at America and sees the 1930s, with breadlines and lynch mobs and repressed women and every other species of liberal boogieman. If he really believes that, then he’s essentially degranged.
    It’s actually pretty good out there, ya know? And he’s got to know that. But of course this is just rhetoric for tired old Leftists and ignorant young ones who keep fighting the fights they’ve already won because it gives their empty lives (false) meaning.
    God knows we need an articulate president. But we don’t need one spouting melodramatic fantasies. Ask the Germans where that leads.

  9. I’ll get egged for this. Peterike and liberalrob are right.
    Rhetoric is a danger. Empty words are a placebo — the promise of a balm never realized.
    But if it’s Obama’s words you love, remember: he said the corporate powers couldn’t buy *all* the seats at the table.
    He never said how many they could buy.
    That, to me, makes him lots of things. A real Democrat isn’t on the list.

  10. I sing a song of clouds, rosy clouds
    I sing a song of gas, smoke and vapors
    I sing a song of foggy, steamy mist
    And when I’m finished all my soulful singing
    You can each put some in your pocket and take it home.
    It will nourish you yes yes mmm mmm mmm good.
    If the pretty black man ever does get around to talking turkey
    We will recognize his ideas all right : rotten old failures, every one.
    Shining and stinking like a dead mackerel in the moonlight.
    He’s a naive rookie – and the Billary Express is going to
    flatten him like a copper penny on a railroad track.

  11. I was at this rally in Charleston with my daughter who attended the College. It was pretty thrilling to hear a very large crowd, mostly white, cheer Obama on – all this in one of the most antediluvian, knuckle-dragging, conservative states in the entire country.

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