Some people like to speak about American exceptionalism. And then there are those who simply live exceptional lives. Barack Obama falls into the second category.
It was both electrifying and awe-inspiring to watch and listen to this food-stamp, student-loan, single-parent-grandparent-raised kid of mixed African and Caucasian background, married to a woman from the poor-side of Chicago, evoke Abraham Lincoln's humility 'to go to his knee when there was nowhere else to go' under the weight of the presidency.
It was Rev. Al Sharpton who commented, immediately after the final speech in the Democratic convention, that Obama 'has just won the election' with his speech.
The pundits and the doctoral candidates will pore over the text for decades, if not centuries, but this morning it is enough to be thankful to have been given the opportunity to witness and to celebrate another moment in American history that gives hope and confidence to Americans and those of us living elsewhere, at a turbulent time of seismic-shifting tides for which there is neither a road map nor a security blanket.
Obama is far from perfect; however, he is the best hope for Amercian recovery, and for American justice and for global co-operation, and for American inner resolve without histrionics, and for the steady-hand of leadership. He makes all Americans and all world citizens better by his role model, although he plays in an arena under a critical microscope that exposes every minute flaw and hiccup.
He did himself, his family, his country and his fellow citizens of the world proud in his half-hour in the spotlight.
Now it is legally and factually up to the people of the United States to get out and vote for a renewal of his contract as President on November 6!
U.S. election: Bill Clinton puts it all on the line for Barack Obama
By Mitch Potter, Toronto Star, September 6, 2012
Washington Bureau CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Bill Clinton, riding a wave of popularity greater now than on the day he became president, put it all on the line for Barack Obama Wednesday night with an endorsement for the ages.
Ending days of speculation over their once-brittle relationship, Clinton cast his lot with President Obama with rule-breaking audacity — all but abandoning his written script and speaking straight from the heart.
Clocking in at an epic 48 minutes — almost double the allotted time — Clinton drove teleprompter operators to distraction, ignoring the text to free-riff his way through a president's-eye view of why Obama is the obvious choice on Nov. 6.
“When we vote in this election, we'll be deciding what kind of country we want to live in,” Clinton told a jammed arena of Democratic loyalists in Charlotte. “If you want a winner-take-all, you're-on-your-own society, you should support the Republican ticket.
“But if you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility — a we're-all-in-this-together society — you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”
Clinton rounded on Republicans, reducing the message of last week's GOP convention in Tampa to a single self-incriminating sentence: “We left him a total mess, he hasn't finished cleaning it up yet, so fire him and put us back in.”
“I like the argument for President Obama's re-election a lot better,” Clinton said. “He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses and lots of new wealth for the innovators.”
It was an astonishing performance — one that transformed the night, the convention, perhaps even the race itself.
Clinton drilled down into detail with a folksy candour, making Obama's case on economic recovery, health care, jobs, debt and the threats that loom over Medicare and Medicaid, the country's two most expensive and beloved entitlement programs.
It all added up to full-throated endorsement likely to be studied for years in political science classes everywhere.
Coming on the heels of First Lady Michelle Obama's tear-tinged testimonial Tuesday, it all sets up Obama for a convention-ending finale Thursday. But the former president's performance introduces a vexing new challenge — how, precisely, does the current president outdo this?
No one doubts the capacity, ability or willingness of the president (Obama, that is!) to confront a monumental challenge and to succeed. On Thursday night, following both his wife and President Clinton, both of whom "hit home runs," Obama will demonstrate two things:
- That he has an in-depth grasp of both his political reality and the challenges inherent in that reality: millions are starving, sick and hopeless in the richest country of the world, while the rich's share of the pie continues to grow exponentially and tragically
- That his grasp brings to the table both a comprehensive approach for addressing the challenge, including his creative and unique and personable and pragmatic approaches to "building bridges with the opponents.
This man may read the polls but he is not a prisoner of their restrictive vice on policy potentials.
He may read 10 letters from ordinary Americans every night, pleading their case for a better life, but he never becomes publicly trapped by any interest group.
He has favoured the removal of tax breaks for the wealthy, narcissistic and even opulent oil companies, whose profits are off the charts. He has raised the requirements of the auto companies for imprioved gas efficiencies in their cars, to help control climate change and global warming and also to lower the cost of energy to the consumer. He has succeeded where other presidents failed, to bring in a health care law that will provide coverage for some thirty million who previously did not have coverage. And he has kept his calm deliberate and moderate demeanour and policies in the face of the toronado of opposing political rhetoric and invective from the opposition...a sure sign that he can ride above the tempest in their tea-pot and the many other roiling pots around the world.
Tonight, he is in the biggest challenge of his brief but startling political career.
Tonight, he has to convince at least 5% of those undecideds ( of which there are approximately 7-8%) to vote for him, and he cannot do that with platitudes.
Specifics, details, mastery of the files, and mastery of the presidency and mastery of the intangible of "public trust" are the ingredients that he will have to "bake into the cake" of his per-oration.
He has big and strong shoulders to walk on, from previous speakers. And the bar is set as high as it could be. And like Michael Jordon, in the last minute and a half of a tied seventh game of the NBA finals, Obama is the one the country, indeed the world, is turing to to finish the campaign, for his electoral victory on November 6.
The ball is in his hands, and the path to the basket is clear...and the clock is ticking!
The great American drama, once again, is on display for the world, and we will be watching because this election is not only important for Americans but for every citizen in the world.