Have you seen President Obama’s commencement speech at Morehouse College? Thunderous applause in the pouring rain, it’s his finest hour.
Not a black president addressing an all black college, it’s an outsider president addressing an all outsider college, reminding them to hang on to their outsider eyes, to see the world through the eyes of blacks who’ve been eaten by poverty, gays who’ve been humiliated by segregated love, women who are paid less money for more work, Muslims who are corralled and branded as a herd of extremists.
I don’t believe in the afterlife. But if ever I felt the presence of Ann Dunham, it was in the way her son looked at those boys who were getting ready to face the world, wide eyed and wet behind the ears, literally.
I don’t believe in the afterlife. But if ever I felt the presence of Dr. King, it was reflected in the content of our president’s character as he lifted the spirits of an audience filled with black women, who endured rain on their hair.
“Michelle would not be sitting in the rain,” Barack joked.
I don’t believe in the afterlife. But if ever I felt the presence of my unborn child, it was in the thunderclap at the end of the commencement speech, putting an exclamation point on destiny, demanding a rebirth of freedom.
Nobody can stop you. Only you can stop you. It sounds impossible. I know it sounds impossible. But so did these words, thrown into the wind, on a cold day, in Springfield.
“And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a divided house to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States.
I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness – a certain audacity – to this announcement. I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”
Thank you, Mister President.