I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
-Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Speech, 1861
I was reminded of that last night when Barack Obama said the following:
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America -- they have served the United States of America.
Barack Obama took it to a whole new level last night with his acceptance speech before more than 84,000 people. It wasn't all sweetness and light. It was a call for unity, but a call for good people to unite against the status quo, George W. Bush, and John McCain. I don't care which side you're rooting for, if you say you watched it and were unmoved, you're lying. Working for MSNBC, Pat Buchanan -- Pat Buchanan -- ran his segment out of time while praising the text, as Rachel Maddow looked on in amazement. Seriously, he wouldn't shut up about it.
This is a speech we'll be talking about for a long time. This is a speech that will be studied and emulated. Not just by politicians, but by writers in general. This was one helluva speech. An "Ask not what your country can do for you," "Four score and seven years ago," "We few. We happy few. We band of brothers" level speech.
Earlier this week, I wrote that the Republican National Convention was in the better position. By following the DNC, Republicans are in the stronger position of the rebuttal. I'm willing to reconsider that now. This is less like being the rebuttal and more like being some poor guy who has the slot on stage after Jimi Hendrix.
Republicans seem to be coming to the same conclusion. They're starting to talk about pushing their convention back. God, it seems, hates the GOP -- Tropical Storm Gustav is expected to make landfall during the scheduled convention. Possibly in New Orleans. For a Republican candidate running to be Bush's third term, a reminder of Hurricane Katrina is an unwelcome intruder.
On the other hand, Obama had perfect weather for his speech. God did not answer the prayers for rain by the Dobson crowd. Instead, it looks like it may be the Republicans who are rained out. What a debacle. If I believed in omens and I was a Republican, I would consider myself screwed.
As I write, news comes in that John McCain has chosen his running mate -- Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Brilliant. Name someone who's facing an ethics probe.
Associated Press, July 29:
Alaska lawmakers Monday approved an investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power in firing former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.
The Legislative Council, which is made up of seven members each from the House and Senate, approved $100,000 for the investigation that is expected to take place over the next several months.
I think that any Republican reading this can mark this as the moment it all started going to crap. Obama will be a hard act to follow, the nation's about to be reminded of Katrina, Bush and Cheney will address the RNC, and John McCain just chose a freakin' scandal as a running mate. The judgment argument, already sporting a shiner from support for the Iraq war, just went down for the count. A former beauty queen, Palin's kind of a... ahem... celebrity. Someone check and see if McCain's had a stroke or something -- this is an awful choice.
Last night, Barack Obama delivered this line, "[I]t is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend." With all this news, I think we're almost there.
I am loathe to close. Between Obama's speech last night and McCain's VP pick, I've got to check the calendar -- I think it might be Christmas. And I didn't get the News Gods anything.