It was a decent speech. Very slow to start, but it picked up at the end. The highlight, for me, was his comment on the Republicans' tiresome strategy of scapegoating and wedge politicking:
We don't think the government can solve all of our problems, but we don't think the government is the source of all of our problems any more than our welfare recipients or corporations or unions or immigrants or gays or any other group we're told to blame for our troubles because, America, we understand that this democracy is ours.And even with that, I had a quibble: There are lots of people who make this country their home who aren't citizens. And I don't just mean migrant workers and undocumented immigrants—I mean people who reside here on all types of visas, most of whom are required to live here for long periods before they qualify for citizenship, if they ever qualify at all. I love the spirit of what he's saying, but, listen, I am married to an immigrant and I have friends who are immigrants who understood and appreciated and worked for this notion of national community more than Republicans ever will, even before they were citizens.
We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.
As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That's what we believe.
And, you know, I'm not saying that to be a jerk; I'm saying it because I believe our President genuinely believes those words, and I believe he might value thoughts on how they could be even more inclusive.
I was extremely pleased with his use of female and male pronouns last night, too. That was very meaningful.
I was less pleased that reproductive rights did not even merit a single complete sentence of its own. Its only mention was a clause, here:
If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void, the lobbyists and special interests, the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are trying to make it harder for you to vote, Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry or control health care choices that women should be making for themselves.What I wanted to hear from my President last night was an affirmation of his personal support for the idea that my body is my own. I did not want to hear a reference to my right to make healthcare choices for myself stuck at the end of a sentence that is essentially a gussied-up version of the same old refrain: If you don't vote for us, you'll lose your reproductive rights.
What I did not hear was my President saying, unequivocally, that he supports women's right to choice because that is the right thing to do. A big opportunity, and a big miss. I expect more.
What did you think?