Last night, Tina and I had a wonderful little dinner at Ping Pong, which I'll admit that I've spent much time dissing because of its scene-e-ness, but on a Monday night the scene was mild and the food was delish. Quite affordable too. We enjoyed too much Asian cuisine and then made our way over to see "The Band's Visit", which was cute and well made. I wasn't thrilled with it... but that may have been because my tummy was full and my eyelids were heavy. It certainly captures the feeling of awkward and addresses some tensions in the middle east.
Barack Obama has given a speech today that I'm not sure any politician has given or had to give for many many years. Basically a speech about race and I begin to admire this man more and more. He speaks my language... or the language I want to speak. His speeches convey that he sees a broader context and for me that is what America is about, but in the last years it seems as though we have turned more and more inward.
Here are some highlights (as highlighted by NY Magazine)
• "For as long as I live I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible," he explained, referencing the slave ancestry in his wife and daughter's heritage.
• He exclusively referred to Reverend Wright as his "former pastor." He also conceded that he had heard him sermonize controversial ideas but compared it to the many Americans who have heard similar things from their own priests, rabbis, and religious leaders. He called Wright's opinion "a profoundly distorted view of this country."
• But he added that "[Wright's church] embodies the black community in its entirety." He read a passage from his book, Dreams From My Father, that explained his first experience in the Trinity United Church.
• "As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith," Obama explained. "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother, a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who pass her on the street." [OMG! That's just like our white grandmother!]
• He explained the roots of the quiet anger still simmering in middle-class black families over the social injustices of the twentieth century and compared it to the frustration of similar white families. "The anger is real, it is powerful," he said. "And to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, serves only to widen the chasm of understanding between the races."
• Obama also reminded listeners of his main campaign message: "The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about profound racism in our society, it's that he spoke of our problems as if it was static." After a long pause, he continued. "We know, because we have seen, that America can change. What we have already seen has given us hope, and the audacity to hope."
• He closed by challenging voters and the press not to defer discussions over race to a later date, but to face them now in order to come together to solve larger problems. "The children in America are not 'those people's kids,'" he said, raising his voice. "They are our kids."
In other political news, Alan Greenspan was quoted yesterday as saying:
"The current financial crisis in the US is likely to be judged in retrospect as the most wrenching since the end of the Second World War. The crisis will leave many casualties."
We live in interesting times. I think I am most curious about the ways in which I will feel the impact of this all. I was saying yesterday that financially I don't know that I feel the recession yet, but I wonder in what ways I will.