Monday, March 09, 2015

A Manifesto for Blue America

A great piece by Michael Tomasky in The Daily Beast on why Obama's Selma speech is a manifesto for Blue America:

I wouldn’t blame you if you took a pass on President Obama’s speech in Selma on Saturday. It’s been a long time since he delivered a riveting one. I skipped it myself, and then someone wrote to say, hey, he knocked this one out of the park, so I looked, and boy, he did. It was the strongest statement about the liberal definition of patriotism I’ve ever heard a president deliver. It was also confrontational and challenging—an unapologetic manifesto for the values of blue America.
That’s something we don’t hear a lot about, the values of blue America. No, it isn’t because we don’t have them. It’s that we don’t parade them in the public square quite as much as conservatives do, while conservatives aren’t exactly shy about caricaturing in public their version of liberal values (we love sodomy and baby-killing and so on).
But there are liberal values. Some, we all know about—tolerance, diversity, etc. But another central one has to do with the way in which liberals love our country, and it goes like this: Yes, of course this is a great country. But it is change that has made it so. It’s a country that was founded on the highest ideals of the day, many of which are eternal, but it was also a country where ownership of human beings of a certain race was legal. So no, it wasn’t so great. It had to be made great. And by the way it’s not really as great as it should be yet. That’s a process that, the human condition being what it is, will never have an end.
This is exactly what Obama was talking about on Saturday, and it’s why the speech will be remembered. This wasn’t just another chorus of “Can’t we all just get along?” that you might expect to hear on such an occasion. This was an analysis of why we can’t—and a stirring defense of one vision of the country that was also an implicit and sometimes explicit critique of the other vision.

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