In explaining why Booker T. Washington High School won the Race To The Top challenge to earn its commencement speech Monday from President Barack Obama, the White House cited statistics of various school achievements.Surely a little buttery praise always helps, but there's also an historic flood going on in the region.
But anyone who watched the videos submitted by finalists could see elements in BTW's entry that numbers cannot measure -- passion, motivation and, quite clearly, an enthusiasm for Obama.
"He is coming into a community that is proud of his achievements and appreciative of his hard work," Hutchinson said.It's understandable why communities who supported him at a rate of 99-1 over McCain are supportive of his hard work and achievements, but is he saying they are the only ones?
"He's an iconic figure in American history and an iconic figure in the African-American community," said Cohen, who often refers to the Obama family as the "Kennedys" of the 21st century. "His popularity is unsurpassed."The Obamas are the new Kennedys? Sounds like a slam considering the notorious party lifestyles of Jack and Teddy compared to the solid family life of the president.
"I do think it's important to say that if this had been a George Bush commencement address, they would have fought just as hard to get it and be just as proud," Hart said. "But it is hard to ignore the historical significance -- the first African-American president coming to the first black high school in this city."A little honesty never hurts. Of course this is more important than a Bush or even a Kerry visit. Racial pride is OK. Despite all the criticisms there's no denying that Obama is certainly an inspiration to many people who are now proud of their country for the first time.
Whether that same misty inspiration would have been there had the first black president been someone like Condi Rice is unknowable, but we'd like to think they'd have been just as proud and that the local paper would have written their story the same way.
This, on the other hand, is a much better effort.