It's after midnight, and I just got home from our Obama London Convention Watch party - dozens of us clustered on floors and perched on the arms of chairs in a central London basement to watch the tape of Barack last night accepting the nomination.
I've seen the speech twice now - and countless Obama speeches before that. And each one gets better. So, I need you all to do me a favor. I need you, first of all, to watch that speech. Seriously, click on the image above and watch it. I'll wait.
Done? OK. Now, give me one good reason why that man shouldn't be President of the United States. I mean that sincerely. What skill, what knowledge, what judgement, what temperment, what wisdom could a human being reasonably have to make them better suited to the Presidency than this man is at this time in history?
I don't pretend to be unbiased here - I've obviously been a huge Obama fan since way back when. But I don't consider my bias evidence that I have lost all rationality - the opposite in fact. I first decided to support Barack Obama precisely because he was consistently, surpassingly, excellent at everything he did. And because he struck a cord with me. I had no idea how fed up I was with the way we do politics in America, until I heard Barack say that it was broken.
McCain and his folks like to belittle Obama as a celebrity and his supporters as mere groupies or camp followers. It seems to me that their pathetic attempts to tie Barack to non-entities like Paris Hilton or Britney Spears masks precisely their fear that Obama is something special and his followers know it. That he is not a celebrity at all, but something rarer and more priceless - an artist.
An artist is someone who is able to express something in a way that the rest of us understand immediately, but never could have expressed ourselves. A musician who combines words and lyrics in a way that is more than the sum of the parts. A writer who can devastate or elevate with a single surgically implanted word. An athlete who combines grace and strength to the point where it surpasses what we thought humans could achieve.
People respond to that. It means something - something more than a good tune or a clever phrase or a world record time. Sometimes an artist speaks to some people in a way that they thought no one could. These people become fans. And that kind of fan - and that kind of artist - form more often than not when times are tough. When we struggle.
And this country has been struggling for the past 8 years. We're only now starting to come to terms with the traumas of 9/11, and Iraq. Katrina and Abu Graib. An economy on it's way down and prices heading up.
And at this crucial time in history, during our period of stormy adolescent funk, the nation is presented with a man of seriousness, purpose, passion, commitment, and extraordinary talent. Someone who practices the art of politics often with the dexterity and grace of an athlete, with a musician's ear for the right note and the writer's faith in the power of words. And a pragmatism that is unique only to politics. And he uses that talent in the service of naming our nation's problems - holding accountable those who have failed us and asking the country to live up to it's own vision of itself. He weaves together all his various talents with a vision of where this country needs to go and an unshakably clear vision of how far it has been left behind.
So yeah. I'm a fan. Aren't you?