Read the full text of the speech here.
The cynics will say that Obama’s plans are too lofty and could never be accomplished. It may be so. He certainly has an upward battle ahead of him and it is dubious whether he’ll be successful against so many powerful interest groups. As first lady, Hillary Clinton worked hard for accessible health care for all but the outcry against any sort of reform of the currently lucrative health care system run by private insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies was too strong. Al Gore understood only too well that a green platform would not get him elected in the 2000 elections. There’s not guarantee Obama could succeed where so many have failed before. But the issues he raises are important ones that need to be discussed and brought to the agenda. He has been very clear that it won’t be easy and that whatever change that may come will not happen overnight. Yet, there’s hope. His astounding popularity might actually allow him to pull it off. If there’s one thing that congressmen listen to in a democracy is public opinion. Canadian PM Harper backed off from re-visiting gay marriage and abortion laws in Canada when he sensed the public was not behind it. The American government keeps the arrival of the bodies of soldiers who died in Iraq away from the public eye to maintain some degree of support for the war. Heck, even the Nazi government responded to public opinion by moving away from its plan to eliminate the mentally ill and handicap when the German people complained. So there is a chance that Obama can convince the American people to support his ideas, which would lead congressmen in Washington to listen. Who knows? It’s all up in the air at this point. But what if Obama fails? What if he just turns out to be another mediocre president? It won’t matter. Suddenly, even here in Canada, young black men and women as well as children of other minority groups can stand a little taller and trully believe that dreams are possible. It was fascinating to see young children across the Canada fascinated by his example. How many politicians have had that reach recently? It’s quite remarkable and it should be interesting to see what he does with that in the next few years.