For me, the moment that I began to cry was this:
He (Wright) contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.
To be honest, I realize this was all I wanted from this speech.
In these two sentences Obama stood up for Black Humanity.
What was wrong with the Wright statements weren't that they were made - we have freedom of speech, he could say whatever he wanted. What was wrong with them was that White folk heard them, as Mama told me.
And, a kneejerk reaction, as is wont by those who have never wanted to understand any CONTEXT behind any Black Anger that could be considered justified. Condemn the remarks, wrap yourself in a flag, and of course, use that tried and true accusation of unpatriotic that can get thrown towards a Black person in a nanosecond. Collapsing a 36 year career of preaching into a 5 minute soundbite, AS IF that is the sum total of a man's life's work.
Obama stood up and said no, I won't let you collapse this man into this soundbite.
No, I will not let you dismiss the anger and the background from which is springs forth.
No, I will not let you turn the strength and the best of the Black Christian Tradition into something to be ashamed of, just because YOU don't understand it and have not bothered to try and understand it.
He stood up for Black Humanity - in all of its complexities.
Roland Martin (who did yoeman's work yesterday) kept on making this point: for all the talk about politics and religion, Barack Obama displayed his Christianity full force with that speech. Obama, in the above lines, mined one of the most persistent overarching themes in the Black Christian Church:
Redemption is what makes Mama welcome home Pookie, Ray Ray and Big Boy back into her home after ANOTHER stint in prison. Because Mama is hoping that the prayers of her, Big Mama, and the women in Bible Study have reached his heart, and this time, he will become The Prodigal Son.
Redemption is what makes this community so unwilling to throw away anyone...after all, some of y'all are still holding out hope for Uncle Clarence (STOP, he's lost) and OJ (though I think you've come around on that one).
Redemption is a cornerstone of the Black Christian Tradition.
Barack Obama's candidacy was always, if it lived out its potential, going to be a turning point for America. Going to be that Racial Rorschach Test. Thrown into a crucible and pushing forth. Obama could have gone safe and conventional with his speech. He didn't. He put it out there, and chose the harder road. It was the most Presidential thing I've seen in a candidate in my lifetime. I feel like I've been waiting for it my whole life.
I want to thank Senator Obama.
I thought this image was powerful and wanted to end with it:
Michelle Obama in Philadelphia Yesterday