Obama gets a pass for the mom jeans. Hell, Obama could have trotted out to the pitcher’s mound in Prince’s leopard assless pants and still be good in my book after this speech.
Our President spoke before the NAACP for its annual meeting and it was that old campaign-stump-speech-giving Obama that made us so excited to vote for him in the first place. You could almost tell he was excited to let his hair down again and give an impassioned speech like old times. Though the “no excuses” speech has been done before, Obama was able to give it in a very accessible way that didn’t sound like “I did it. Why can’t you?” I hope you’re taking notes, Mr. Huxtable.
Two more personal reasons the speech resonated with me:
1. I went to that same slave castle Obama mentions during a three month study abroad semester in Ghana. And it’s really been difficult to articulate what it was like to walk in the same, dark desolate dungeons our ancestors had to live in while waiting to be sent to America. Obama hit the experience on the head. It’s eerie and angering. Yet it’s oddly hopeful to see how far a group of people can come. I can only imagine how surreal it must have been for the person walking through the point of no return last weekend to be the first African-American leader of the free world.
2. At 9:56, Obama talks about three Civil Rights workers in Mississippi who sacrificed their lives. In case you didn’t know, they were James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Micky Schwerner. They were lynched in 1964. And my dad was supposed to be in the car with them. But by the grace of God my dad, who rarely gets sick, had bronchitis and stayed at home. He gave those three men their fateful assignment and has been dealing with the guilt ever since. He has even told me on a few occasions that he sometimes thinks he should have been in that car with them. Yet, because of that serendipitous illness, my dad is still alive to see the first African-American President calling them heroes.
When I get home, I’m going to sit my nephews down and make them watch this video. This was one for the ages, Obama.