Posts Tagged ‘Obama speech’

The Sunday Review: Obama’s Arizona speech

16/01/2011, 02:30:01 PM

by Anthony Painter

On a chilly April night in 1968, America’s second greatest poet-warrior in modern times climbed onto the back of a truck and gave a speech of transcendent power in the aftermath of the assassination of its greatest poet-warrior. Largely ad-libbed, Robert F Kennedy defined the moment, eschewing violence and outrage in favour of hope and healing.

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black”.

The words could almost have been uttered by Martin Luther King himself. Perhaps in a strange way they were channeled through King – at a conceptual level at least. The theatre of modern politics is less chaotic, more stage-managed, and more crafted. Even in the context of higher production values, words can retain their moral force. President Obama’s challenge in the University of Arizona on Wednesday was to comfort a moment of national tragedy and set a new course. He did so and reminded the US of his poet warrior status at the same time. (more…)

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