Barack Obama – more than an orator

There is something to be said for a man who stands at a podium with nothing more than a microphone, and his character, displaying who he really is, for all the world to see.  You can tell a lot about someone by the way they speak in public.

There is also something to be said for a man who can do this without note cards, speaking clearly and concisely, all the while looking each and every member of a huge audience directly in the eye.

His critics will say that Barack Obama has gotten this far simply because he is a good orator.  I’m not sure I understand.  What is a good orator?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines an orator as “An eloquent and skilled public speaker”.  But what does it take to even do that?

As someone who breaks out into a cold sweat at the mere thought of speaking in front of a crowd, hell I don’t even like to WALK in front of a crowd, I can’t imagine what it would take to dig down so deep as to be able to stand tall on a stage and let flow my ideals, beliefs, and convictions, all the while inspiring those listening to come along with me to affect real change in this country.  And not just change for change’s sake; change because it is the right thing to do.  What I do know is that during the very few times in my life when I happened to be in front of a large group of people and spoke my mind freely and coherently, I was so passionate about what I was saying, and believed in it so much, that being nervous, or embarrassed, or scared, never even crossed my mind.  So I believe that having confidence in yourself and your ideas is what it must take to speak in front of a crowd and do it well, without little blue index cards. 

How disheartening it was for me to watch Hillary Clinton give a victory speech in Ohio after that primary, when all she could do was read from notes.  Did she really need note cards to say things like “Thank you Ohio” and “This one’s for you”? 

And to listen to John McCain start or end just about every sentence with “my friends”?  I’m not his friend, he doesn’t even know me.  I would prefer he say “my fellow Americans” over “my friends”.  I know that the phrase “my fellow Americans” conjures up some bad memories of Richard Milhous Nixon, but it is still better than calling me your friend when you don’t know a thing about me.

As my regular visitors know, I implore all of you to do your own homework, do your own research, and make your own decisions on the candidates based on what you, yourself, have done to figure it out.  Don’t make decisions based on what a loved one, a coworker, or a neighbor thinks.  Don’t make a decision based on what you hear on the television or radio.  None of that will give you enough information, or at least not enough good information to make a decision.  It may take some extra work, but go look at voting records, historical documents, transcripts of speeches, biographies, or anything you can get your hands on that you feel would help you make a decision about who you want to represent you.

At the risk of sounding hypocritical since I just said that we should all do our own homework, I would like to offer a few things that might help get you started.  I did some research on Senator Obama and found a great speech he gave in New Hampshire on the night he lost that primary to Hillary Clinton. It’s pretty inspiring considering he lost.  And take note of this man who with a big smile, a slight giggle, a stern stare, or a thoughtful pause, shows you his true love for this country.  It’s about 13 minutes or so but well worth it.

Compare what you see here to any speech you can find by Hillary Clinton or John McCain. There are just as many examples out there of them as there are of Barack Obama. They are just not as interesting.

Being able to give a good speech is about more that than vocal talent and brain power. I believe it is a true reflection of who you are.

Look at George Bush’s speaking “abilities”. He can pronounce only about 50% of the words he says in a speech, and even those, he must read from a piece of paper.  And, all the while those beady little eyes and that smirky smugness give you a gut reaction that you just can’t trust him. That’s exactly who he is.

John McCain stands with his shoulders shrugged; uses words like “my friends” in a desperate attempt to make a connection with his listeners, and changes his tone and message depending on his audience. That is exactly who John MCain is.

Hillary Clinton tries to be uplifting, talks a little too loudly to make sure she’s heard, can easily go into a rant about any subject or any person, and must read from note cards so that there is no chance for improvisation. That is exactly who Hillary Clinton is.

If I spoke in public, I would need notes so I don’t screw it up.  I would be as nervous as hell, and probably sweating because I would be so worried about what other people think of me.  It would all go so much easier if I was passionate and truly believed what I was talking about.  All the while I would be praying that something I said would connect with someone and I may even change somebody’s mind, or even get them to think about something a little bit differently.  That’s exactly who I am as a person. 

If you want to see how Barack Obama inspired me, take a look at his speech which was the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.  This one speech will tell you just about everything you need to know about Barack Obama.  He was speaking on behalf of the Presidential nominees at the time, John Kerry and John Edwards.  Sit down with your children and play this speech for them.  Let them know that there are unique, strong, patriotic Americans out there who love their country regardless of its flaws and so should they.  And these unique Americans are the ones who should be leading this country.

Part 1

Part 2

If you’re going to play these recordings, please listen to the whole thing.  And if you listen to what he had to say then, and what he has to say now and you still think he does not have what it takes to be our next President, then I don’t know what to tell you.  If you really listen to what Barack Obama has to say and listen to how he says it, and you feel NOTHING, then I will have to check your pulse, and your birth certificate.


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