If you haven't heard Sen. Barack Obama's 38-minute speech on race relations, "A More Perfect Union," take the time to sit down and watch it. If you're lucky enough to have your family all in one place for 38 minutes, gather everyone in front of the computer and watch it together. This is the most important speech given by a U.S. public figure since the 1960s, and you should not let the moment slip by without checking in.
No public leader has displayed this type of critical thinking since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's. "I Have a Dream;" President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address, or Robert F. Kennedy's speech on the death of Dr. King.
For me, Obama's speech essentially lifts him above Hillary Clinton and John McCain as the presidential candidate who will have the biggest impact on the U.S., now and in years to come. Sen. Obama may not have any experience with foreign policy. He may be too idealistic, or even naive, especially when talking about sitting down and having lunch with world leaders like Cuba's Fidel or Raul Castro, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or Venezuelian President Hugo Chavez. OK, he's a little green when it comes to getting things done in Washington D.C.
This speech, for me, however, sets him apart as the candidate exemplifying the best judgment, character and sincerity of the three, all traits that are evident in the best of our U.S. presidents past.
I think Obama's speech just opened the door to a new era in the U.S., and quite possibly the world. It's just a gut feeling, but I think we may be entering a phase similar to the 1960s where people will come together again as a nation; one with differing points of view, yes, but one that is again involved together in national and local affairs - a people that cares, and not the fleeting type of interest witnessed in the days following 9/11 when everyone stuck American flag magnets on their vehicles.
I can't put my finger on it yet, but just watching the way the media is reacting to this, there is a buzz, an excitement I've not felt since ... well, that I have not felt or witnessed in my lifetime.
I still don't know who is going to get my vote, but I do know this - Obama just revealed himself as a thought-provoking, forward-looking leader, and that is exactly what the U.S. and the world needs at this point in history.