A week that started with mourning over 9 people killed by pure, unadulterated racist thought and ignorance that ends with the upholding, again, of the ACA (Obamacare to the uninformed), the right to fairness in housing and among other things, the rights of gays to marry. This was amazing to say the least.
But there was one other thing that not all may have seen or heard. Last night, June 26th, President Obama gave a eulogy for The Rev. Clementa Pinkney at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, who was gunned down over a week ago.
Now, folks, I don’t care who you are, but you need to do yourself a favor and listen to this speech. It is 40 minutes long, but it ends in a most fascinating way. It ends with Barack Obama leading the congregation in the sweetest, most extemporaneous sounding rendition of Amazing Grace I’ve ever heard. Now I say that it sounds extemporaneous because I’m not so naive as to think that presidents utter a single word that isn’t written for them and scrutinized over and over before those words are spoken, but this was so pure, so sweet, so courageous and so apparently heart-felt, that I’m willing to consider that possibility that he decided to do it on the spot.
The authenticity we find in this guy is incomprehensible. If you listen to it, he’s off-key, misses some notes, at times he’s hesitant to be the loudest voice, hoping others will fill in the gaps…nothing like the polished and perfected sound-bitey things that spill from the lips of most presidents, including Obama. In 59 years of my life, I have liked and disliked lots of presidents. Not one has ever made me cry. This one did.
YOU CAN SEE THIS EULOGY HERE It is broken down into segments.
Now, those who know me know that religious sentimentality is not my cup of meat. What was so striking here was the conveyance of human kindness and thoughtfulness from him to those mourners. It was obvious that Obama chose this moment to use his high office to take a shot at being a black preacher, allowing and, in some cases encouraging the “yes sirs” and “um hm” and other utterances from the congregation so typical of those churches. It was one of the most moving speeches I’ve ever heard from Obama, and he sets the bar pretty high for speeches.
What struck me afterward was a bit of melancholy though. How, after having heard the love and emotion that he allowed himself to show us last night, the vulnerability that he displayed in that church, the willingness to drop his presidential facade that abandon himself to his speech and that song, how, how, can anyone consider replacing him with Hillary Clinton?
I know that I’m giving you whiplash here, and for that I’m sorry. But that’s what came over me last night as he ended his speech. We, as Liberals, have shown the world that we’re willing to take a chance on someone who displays intelligence, understanding of complex issues, and the ability to speak from his soul. We’ve shown that we have the courage to elect a leader who started in a humble place, the often ridiculed “community organizer”. We’ve shown that we have the courage to elect a man whose name was considered too foreign and Muslim-sounding to be electable, and, after 6.5 years, we’ve been proven prescient in having done so. We were right about this guy folks. He really is a Great President, and will go down in history for having had the courage to pass health care, kill Osama bin Laden and the other hundreds of things he’s done, sometimes at huge political risk.
But now that we’ve been to the mountaintop, now that we’ve seen that there are better people out there than run-of-the-mill political automatons, now that we’ve seen that we can do better, how can we now consider replacing this brilliant guy with Hillary?
We stepped out of a shiny, new Tesla to get to this party. Are we going to leave in a used Oldsmobile?