The fuming, frantic reactions to the speech made by Democrat Barack Obama has had heads wagging and tongues twisted, which makes me think Obama's comments were quite accurate. Racial divisions hold on in America with a ferocious grip.
It was a wide-ranging speech about perceptions and divisions, about media, and about distorted reality, and about the desire he has to move forward on these ideas and not surrender to them. And yes, it has taken some time for me to read his words and ponder on them. No insta-reactions are justified here on this page.
What is certain is that the media will wallow in the speech and ignore another speech which has equal if not greater relevance - the one made yesterday by the President defending his war in Iraq. It isn't just five years since we began the current war, it's almost five years since he made his dramatic "Mission Accomplished" speech about Iraq too. It isn't and wasn't accomplished, but supporters and enablers are far too shy to call him out. It has also been five years of war in Afghanistan, too, with no clear sign of accomplishment there either. This week his view is "no end in sight".
I have seen and read some notable coverage on the ongoing war, but the television is focused on the speech from Obama. For many folks, his speech is rock-solid proof Obama is a Bad Man, for others proof he is a Good Man. As with so much in politics and in war, we each create what we believe and nurture it, no matter the true reality.
Here's a prediction - no matter how intense the presidential race has been, no matter how intense the summer's nominating conventions will be, the late summer and fall will be an ugly, brutal mess which will be an historic and a shock-filled time for most of us.
I watched the new mini-series on HBO this week about John Adams and the early days of the American Revolution and decision to declare independence. In Adams' time, the issue of slavery and it's moral costs were very much a part of the debate about what kind of nation we would be.
Most interesting to me though, was the inter-cutting of scenes about the wrangling for votes for a declaration of independence and scenes of Adams' wife and children being inoculated against smallpox as their doctor took live pox tissues from one patient and cut into their healthy bodies to insert the diseased samples. Not all could survive this self-induced transmission - a controlled infection. I could not help but see the comparisons of the political efforts and the transmission of the virus. The decisions made in that Continental Congress, like that of Abigail Adams, would mean some would be risking death, but that the promise of a better life for many more would thrive.
It's a metaphor that is most instructive in our times, too.