Category Archives: speech

obama: a more perfect speech

Dear Readers,

So I go back to Oakland, CA, where I once lived, and dropped by my old apartment building, to see who I could see.  My boy Erick is at work, but he left me a key under the mat.  Gloria, the nice and nosy building manager is home, I ring her bell, she says what she always says when she open the door and its me, her voice high and weathered, a warm cackle, “I always know its you because I look through the door window and I can never see who it is, I can never see you!”  

That’s because I still ring her doorbell like how I used to when I lived next door to her, ring, then get my lean on the stucco wall between our doors, waiting patiently.  I do it the same way now because I love knowing that there’s this apartment building on a little slope in Oakland, where a white woman in her 60’s is going to greet me how she always greets me. 

I ring her bell and move out her field of vision now just because its such a gift to have pushed down roots on Montecito Ave, just up from the gum splattered 7-11, which is just across from the new Whole Foods, my old apartment building where I organized a traveling Christmas party and told all the tenants a heartwarming holiday tale from off the dome, that building is less than one block away from the most perfect cherry tree, its blooming right now in hushed violets and lip parting pinks, a vision of spring, and all you have to do it cross the street to get to Children’s Fairyland, where parents clasp hands with children, little ones leaping and chirping like birds, this is Lake Merritt, where trees cry sap down wood tongues back to me, I came back to see, how home one of my homes can still be. 

I walk into Gloria’s spot, she hands me a sherry and we start talking about Obama’s state of race in the nation speech.  She was taken.  I was listening. 

The speech was called: A More Perfect Union.

This is my take on Obama’s speech, with quotes from him (in italics), and quotables from yours truly, Naxal, political prophet with All the News That’s Fit to Flip. 

March 26, 2008: A More Perfect Speech

words like kindle

start the fire 

citizen, we the people, america, an improbable expiriment in democracy

i grew up indian on california land, neighbors filipino and mexican 

si se puede means yes we can

fix lowrider classics, cook pansit, and light diwali candles on the same block

improbable expiriment in democracy

family tree, half america, half mockery

in no other country on earth is my story even possible

cept for all of europe and those places refugees run to

uk, sweden, spain, france

come on people

obama lets dance

it was the india trip of 1999 that i realized i was proud to be born and raised

cut, chopped, and braised


for better and worse

lilke my parents, like my education, like not being black or white, like beauty, like this verse is

seared into my genetic makeup, the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts, that out of many we are truly one

cliche’s are hella fun

but don’t elevate

just keep sedate, children’s fingers, triggers, guns

too black or not black enough

obama i like this beat

i gots to put it on ya

her name was sonia

foster kid, mixed black and white

annouced real loud

we fighting after school

im the

bitch you think you black

ho you act too white

im the

muslim when i wear a headwrap

latina when my mouths dark red

indian when i remember

you can see me

because its the american democracy

im waiting by the door

to social citizenship

granted daily, individually 

by we are america

white and black people

a few of whom


a view that elevates what is wrong with america above all that we know is right with america

a view that sees all that sees the conflict in the middle east as rooted primarly in the actions of stalwart allies like isreal

instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideaologies of radical islam



this can of words



a more perfect speech

would not have just dropped an anti-war sound bite to applause

which is political

it would have big upped the muslim people to the narrowing of black and white eyes

which is personal

human we are

the afghani people

the iraqi people

the indian people 

the malaysian people

the palestinian people

the pakistani people

if we are, at all, anywhere

we are also, american

let me take us there

obama is in philadelphia, pa, at constitution center

a u.s. senator explaining himself, his relationships

a jaded citizenry, loving their new suitor already

they finding reasons, tensions, asking him for assurance

instead of just listening to our gut we pepper him with questions

a black u.s. senator

explaining himself

talking about his first days in reverend jeremiah wright’s flock with

the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang banger

listen to obama break black america down

the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence, and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and biases that make up the black experience in america

from the blood soaked flag 

obama wrung out nuanced tales of white america

his white grandmother, grandfather, a white campaign organizer named ashley, the micheal moore factory worker, watching his job go oversees

opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, your dreams come at my expense

these people are part of me

am i a part of you too?   

do unto others as we would have them do unto us, brothers keeper, sisters keeper

we must combat the synicism that those kids who dont look like us are some one elses problem

the children of america are not those kids, they are our kids

those kids who do not look like us are wearing clothes we have been taught to fear

clothes you got “caught” wearing

the gladiator crowd raises their eyes from the tv war

goes wild 

look at obama wearing muslim clothes

look at obama distancing himself from any muslim connection

a more perfect speech

we havent heard in decades

a more perfect speech

would have embraced all the browns

between black and white


Stay tuned for more.