CommonDreams, by Naomi Wolf
President Obama is a class act. He told Americans the truth — that things will be difficult, but they are well worth doing — and we cheered. He stood right in front of George W. Bush, and in no uncertain terms declared, “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals,” — and then he moved into his house.
Here’s Naomi Wolf’s take on the speech:
I know that Barack Obama is incredibly smart, and it’s not that I’m surprised that he gave a fantastic speech. But I’ve been following American politics for a long time, and sometimes you see something that works on so many levels that you kind of have to gasp at its sophistication.
This speech marked a sharp line in the sand, breaking overtly with the past administration. That message was clear and intentional. It is a much more confrontational approach than inauguration speeches have typically been in America. I am overjoyed.
I thought Obama did three things impressively. Firstly, he sounded a note of our dire circumstances that was in line with a reality that many have been in denial about. That is technically brilliant, because he’s inheriting a mess, and he’s telling people, “We’re not going to dig ourselves out of this easily.” But also, “Don’t blame me for it all.”
The second was that he reasserted the primacy of the constitution and the rule of law. With Bush sitting behind him, that was like showtime at the OK Corral. I have written in the past that it is going to take a grassroots movement to support him in reasserting the rule of law, because there are so many vested interests that stand opposed to it. But that was a shot across the bows.
Thirdly, most amazingly, I feel that he dialled down the threat level of the US with just a few sentences. He reached out a hand to the Muslim world. For Obama to say, “I’m not going to demonise you” – that is extraordinarily stabilising.
Reality — it’s a good thing.
Read the rest of Wolf’s article here.