In Order to Form a More Perfect Union

Today I felt pride and hope in the possibilities of these United States of America. The elephant that has not only been in the room, but sitting on top of us, has finally been revealed and we are stronger for it. Without guile, Senator Barack Obama talked openly about the progeny of a nation conceived in liberty and yet mired in the most heinous of institutions–slavery. Sen. Obama identified that progeny–racism, Jim Crow laws, discrimination, black anger, and white anger, and the world did not come to an end.

Finally, someone has just flat out said, “Let’s talk about race.” If we listen, and I mean really listen to what Sen. Obama has to say, we can move towards an understanding of America’s race problem that is an essential step in healing the racial divide that weakens and undermines our nation.

I became a lawyer because I believed in the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. When I re-read those documents, which I frequently do, I am still moved at the ideology expressed therein.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I am not naive, and I do not believe that we, as a nation, have always lived up to these ideals, but what gives me sustenance is the ideals themselves, something worth striving for, worth working to achieve. In the words of Robert Browning, “Ah, if a man’s reach does not exceed his grasp,then what’s a heaven for?”

Obama’s speech today joins my list of inspirational documents. I hope that it is the catalyst to begin conversations at the dinner table, around the water cooler, and in our places of worship about the the ways in which we relate to one another. I hope that we engage in dialogues in which we acknowledge our biases but also recognize our commonalities; I hope that we work together to discover a healing place, grounded in respect and love for all of humankind.

To read the full text of Sen. Obama’s speech, please click here. If you would like to watch and listen to him deliver the speech, please see the video below.


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3 responses to “In Order to Form a More Perfect Union

  1. Eventually, Obama is going to show some flaws, and I want to make sure we don’t put him too high on a pedestal that we punish him for revealing himself to be human. Right now, I’m just incredibly grateful that it looks like we might have a President who’s smarter than a 5th grader’s teacher’s teacher teacher, as opposed to the 4th grader we have now.

  2. nice blog do chk me out one day and if u like what u read add me to your blog roll and stop by more

  3. Over the last few weeks of this campaign we’ve been subjected to the intersection of race and politics again and again. Some comments, such as Bill Clinton’s, were open to various interpretations, probably deliberately. Others, like those from Geraldine Ferraro’s second ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ became clearer with each follow-up she offered on camera. (There’s a lot to be said for knowing when to quit.) Still others, such as Reverend Wright’s, are ‘crystal clear’ when removed from the context of their creation, but take on a more nuanced meaning when considered more completely. Regardless, all will disappear from the collective memory in due time. Probably faster than most political junkies would expect.

    That leaves the words of Barack Obama to consider. While the Wright and Ferraro sound bites were instant headline news, did Obama’s words on race blaze across the evening news later that day? Hardly. At first, that disappointed me. But after some days have passed, I now consider them as a fire of a different kind. A grass fire. Slow to start but resolutely spreading. Becoming the spark that ignites a million small fires at dinner tables and bus stops around the nation. Fires that will slowly help burn out old misconceptions and like the prairie fires of old feed the new growth of the new century. But rather than simply inflaming, his honest discussion on race acknowledged shared responsibility, and so brings light rather than just heat. His were words that have caused people to question themselves; their beliefs, their actions. His were words that will live. Words that will rank with others that have inspired us.

    Remember. How many of us actually heard the ‘I have a dream’ speech in when it was first given in 1963?

    Yes, we can.

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