Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Political Speech as a literary genre?

Political speeches of historical merit arise from and address specific historical situations, and in doing so, rise above the usual level of generalities, naming the elements of conflict, crisis and aspiration that mark that generation and that moment, highlighting the problems, not hiding them--or from them: I think this speech does that--and may prove to be one of the great political addresses in the American experience.

The weakest point: the reference to Israel as our staunch ally and--countering Rev. Wright--identifying radical Islam as the source of the attack on the trade towers. Better he'd left this out altogether--the one purely politically contrived piece in the speech... better left out, because a more truthful response would have required another comparable address--explaining how U. S. policy has used and corrupted Israeli politics, turning a once vibrant democracy into a right wing puppet of American bought-and-paid for interests in the Middle East: Israel as surrogate military outpost... but how much can you do in one speech?

HERE'S the text...

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