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By Benj DeMott

“They’re like a cult!” exclaimed a Clinton supporter working the crowd outside Zabars. She may have been looking my way because my little boy had an Obama button on. I felt a bit silly about that but his mama is from Africa and she’s rooting hard for her homeboy. (Not to say I’m not!) While the Clintonista’s jibe didn’t really get under my skin, I had a harder time handling Adolph Reed’s hard line on Obama. Convinced that Obama’s just another neo-liberal pol with a For Sale sign around his neck, Reed goofed on me: “You’ve been drinking that ‘Hope’ Koolaid.” But he wasn’t smiling. He’s expressed his disdain for both Obama and Clinton(s) last fall in his piece “Sitting This One Out (See: http://socialissues.wiseto.com/Articles/171139389/?print”)

Obama’s slogan “Stand For Change,” is a non-starter for Reed who’s been working to build a Labor Party in America for over a decade. From where he’s sitting, the Obama campaign seems unlikely to nurture the kinds of class-consciousness needed to transform this country. I doubt I can convince Reed to walk with Obama, but I recently came across a transcript of a video commentary by a Law Professor named Lawrence Lessig (See: http://blog.printf.net/articles/2008/02/05/transcript-of-lawrence-lessig-obama-video) that might speak to other non-believers. I’ve excerpted a portion of it below and then added on some material drawn from Obama’s own statements and writings, from a declaration of the Industrial Areas Foundation (which helped shape Obama's world-view), and from a recent Washington Post article by Charles Peters. While my name is on this piece of web-work, I’m functioning more as an assembler than author.

Let’s get back to Hillary’s fans. They treat her polarizing public persona as a virtue, her “negatives” mutate into positives since a Democrat will need “sharp elbows” to beat the Republicans next fall. Clarity about the limits of civility in politics is all good. If a fight’s coming, roll up on it. But Clintons put a mean, trivializing spin on political conflict. It’s all about them and they tend to cut corners with the truth. Not to put too fine a point on it, the Clintons have lied on Obama. Lessig explicitly connects their tactics in this campaign with Karl Rove’s. Making his case for Obama, Lessig looks back…

When I think about the worst in politics in the last fifteen years there are two features that stand out for me. One is the lack of moral courage of candidates and presidents like Bill Clinton, and second, a lack of political decency, in particular around the elections that got this man (Bush) into office orchestrated by this extraordinary figure, Karl Rove. Think about Karl Rove's tactics in South Carolina, where he made racial suggestions through push-polling that drove many Republicans away from John McCain, probably costing McCain the election. Suggestions that were false and were extraordinarily unfair and that were made for the purpose of defeating the opponent.

Or think about the swiftboating of John Kerry, by trashing his strongest feature — the fact that he alone of all the candidates had voluntarily gone to war to defend his country in an unpopular war, while the President and the Vice-President found ways to escape that war. What Rove did was to find a way to take this strong feature of Kerry’s campaign and target it by suggesting false or misleading facts about his service in Vietnam, assaulting Kerry’s character: that’s swiftboating.

I remember watching these things happen and thinking to myself “How in America can these sort of techniques win?” Yet the worst thing in this current campaign, has been watching this kind of Rovian Republicanism become acceptable to Democrats. Think for example about the issues around the war: Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have launched an attack on Barack Obama, claiming he has been “inconsistent” about the war. Here's what she said in one of the debates:

It was after having given that speech, by the next year the speech was off your website. By the next year, you were telling reporters that you agreed with the president in his conduct of the war. And by the next year, when you were in the Senate, you were voting to fund the war time after time after time.

Now as Hillary Clinton knows, this statement is both false and misleading. It’s false because in fact, the speech that she says was removed from Obama's website remained there throughout the course of the next year. You can know that by going to this site, The Archive org's Wayback Machine...It was there the whole year. And even after that year Barack continued to lead his Foreign Policy section by describing his strong and consistent and principled opposition to George Bush's decision to take us to war.

But the charge is also misleading, because there's no inconsistency in opposing the war and actually supporting funding for it once the war has been launched or supporting funding for our troops once they are there. Think about Howard Dean, who was the strongest candidate in the 2004 election opposing the war: he absolutely and clearly signaled that even though he opposed the war he would not cut off funding for the troops or withdraw them immediately if he became President.

This is a kind of swiftboating — it takes the strongest feature of Barack’s personal, political case: the fact that he made the right decision about the war, and tries to weaken it by false and misleading allegations.

Or think about the brouhaha around Ronald Reagan. At a Nevada editorial event, Barack said this about Ronald Reagan:

I mean, I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America, in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path, because the country was ready for it.

And then a little later he said:

And the Republican approach, I think, has played itself out. I think it's fair to say that the Republican party was the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last ten, fifteen years, in the sense that they were challenging the conventional wisdom.

This statement says two things: a), that Reagan was a transformational president; and b), that the Republicans were a party of ideas.

Both statements are obviously true.

What Barack did not say, however, was a) that he agreed with Ronald Reagan's views, or that only the Republicans had ideas. And here's how that statement was used by Hillary Clinton in the debate at Myrtle Beach just before the South Carolina primary:

She said:

He has said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last ten to fifteen years.

Now you saw what he said, and you can see that what she says here is just plainly false; Rovian in its character. But finally, consider this issue around the question of a woman’s right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy. Hillary Clinton and her campaign have campaigned on the idea that Barack Obama is weak on “choice” in mailings in both Iowa and New Hampshire and in public speeches to women, and young women in particular.

Lorna Brett Howard was a supporter of Hillary Clinton, a former president of the Chicago NOW organization. But she was so outraged by what she called the “false statements” about Barack's campaign that she made this video, now appearing on YouTube where she affirms that during his time in the Illinois State Senate, no one had ever questioned Barack Obama's support for women’s rights, including the right to choose…

[Ms. Howard] has publicly switched her support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama because Hillary Clinton had been using the kind of techniques that we Democrats associate with Republicans…

Now people will say in response to this “Oh, that's so naive. All politics is like this. You can’t punish one candidate because they're stuck on this style of politics.”

But this is the way all politics will be only if we reward this kind of behavior. And that’s a good reason, following Lorna, for people who support Hillary Clinton to either criticize her campaign or switch to support Barack Obama.

Obama himself realizes exactly what he’s up against: “the idea that it’s acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election.” But he’s more than an anti-Clinton who deserves credit for good behavior. One of his responses in the South Carolina debate helps define what makes his politics different not just from Clinton’s but every other presidential candidate of our time (including Edwards, Nader, Kucinich et. al.). Late in the debate, which was held on Martin Luther King’s birthday, the moderator asked each of the candidates why King would’ve or should’ve supported him or her. Edwards responded first. Invoking his commitment to “end poverty,” he offered “two reasons.” A more reflective Obama turned the question around:

Well, I don’t think Dr. King would endorse any of us. I think what he would call upon the American people to do is to hold us accountable, and this goes to the core differences, I think, in this campaign. I believe change does not happen from the top down. It happens from the bottom up. Dr. King understood that. (APPLAUSE) It was those women who were willing to walk instead of ride the bus, union workers who are willing to take on violence and intimidation to get the right to organize. It was women who decided, “I'm as smart as my husband. I'd better get the right to vote”…Them arguing, mobilizing, agitating, and ultimately forcing elected officials to be accountable, I think that's the key...So that has been a hallmark of my career, transparency and accountability, getting the American people involved. That's how we're going to bring about change. That’s why I want to be president of the United States, to respect the power of the American people to bring about change.

Obama’s respectful mode isn’t about false modesty. He wants to be a great president and he knows that’s impossible unless Americans become a great people. That equation is the basis for a radical yet supremely practical politics. Earlier this year, Lawrence Goodwyn, a historian who knows as much as anyone about America’s organizing traditions wrote a piece for the Nation drawing a parallel between the 2006 Democratic sweep and the 1930 Congressional elections that preceded the Democratic landslide two years later. The election of 1932, of course, led to the New Deal’s massive social programs and helped enable the unionization of America’s industrial working class. (An Italian Red sect in the 70’s once suggested there’s been one Dictatorship of the Proletariat in history – FDR’s New Deal coalition.) Obama understands America may be at a moment when a similar a kind of transformative electoral politics is now possible. But only if Democrats refuse to accept Rovian tactics and the micro-management style of poll-driven politicians who assume triangulating toward victory, even by the tiniest margins, is all that matters. Obama made the case for thinking big at the South Carolina debate:

The truth is that we as Democrats have not had a working majority in a very long time. And what I mean by that is a working majority that could push through the kinds of bold initiatives that all of us have proposed. And one of the reasons that I am running for president is because I believe that I can inspire new people to get involved in the process, that I can reach out to independents and, yes, some Republicans who have also lost trust in their government and want to see something new. When you look at Bush and Cheney and their record, the one good thing they've done for us is they have given their party a very bad name. (APPLAUSE) That gives us a unique opportunity in this election, and what we can’t do, I think, is just to take the playing field as a given. We want to expand the scope of the electorate so that we can start getting a 60 percent majority, more folks in the House, more folks in the Senate, and I think that's something I can do. And that's why we've seen record turnout in every election so far. I’m not taking all the credit for it. I think people are voting against George Bush. But I also think that we've inspired people who had not previously voted before, and that's what the Democratic Party has to do.

Obama’s sense of possibility is way over Hillary’s head. And that became apparent when when she picked up on his Change theme at one of the debates:

Well, let me say first, that I think we're all advocating for change; we all want to change the status quo, which is George Bush and the Republican domination of Washington for so many years.

But, as Lawrence Lessig asks, “Is that really all we're trying to achieve in this election, to get the Republicans out of office?” Lessig notes that Obama (and Edwards) not only sounded a call for more fundamental change, they backed up that call by refusing to take money from lobbyists or PACs who rule Washington. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is a quid pro quo pro as the following exchange at the yearly Kos convention last summer indicates:

[A question for Hillary Clinton] Senator Edwards has really a very straightforward question here, which is will you continue to take money from lobbyists or will you take his position...[Hillary’s response] Yes I will. I will, because you know a lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not...represent real Americans.

But as Lessig points out:

The question is not who they represent,though they represent a lot of foreign entities as well...the question is whether their influence represents — mis-represents — solutions for America. Whether the effect they have and the power they have in controlling the agenda and access to members of Congress shifts the way Congress responds to the issues.

Lessig’s analysis of Clinton’s business as usual perspective, resonates even more after one glances at the opening pages of Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, which signal his, Obama’s, seriousness about taking on the culture of lobbyists. Obama evokes his feelings of awe when he first entered the Senate Hall and recalls his first respectful meetings with old masters of the institution. But he’s not just happy to have been there. His eye has traveled. He notes how speeches given in the Senate Hall tend to be canned presentations for the cameras: “In the world’s greatest deliberative body, no-one is listening.” The speeches are for show; the real work is being done on the down-low with the lobbyists behind closed doors. Obama understands his challenge is to open it all up – to create a context where public discourse amounts to more than partisan cover stories, more than empty oratory.

When Obama calls Hillary out now for being too secretive when she approached healthcare reform in the 90’s, he’s not scoring a cheap point. His argument follows from his whole understanding of the right relations between politicians and the people. There’s been a lot of talk lately about details of the candidates’ healthcare plans. (Edwards’ plan seems to have been the best.) But there was an important recent exchange between the candidates that wasn’t so wonky. During the last debate Obama proposed that “instead of negotiating behind closed doors,” he’d push to bring all parties together and have the negotiations “broadcast on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are.”

Because part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process. And overcoming the special interests and the lobbyists who -- Senator Clinton is right. They will resist anything that we try to do. My plan, her plan, they will try to resist. And the antidote to that is making sure that the American people understand what is at stake. I am absolutely committed to making sure that anybody in America who needs health care is going to get it.

BLITZER: I just want to be precise, and I'll let Senator Clinton respond. But you say broadcast on C-SPAN these deliberations. Is that a swipe at Senator Clinton because...

OBAMA: No, it’s not a swipe. This is something that I've been talking about consistently. What I want to do is increase transparency and accountability to offset the power of the special interests and the lobbyists.(APPLAUSE) If a drug company -- if the drug companies or a member of Congress who's carrying water for the drug companies wants to argue that we should not negotiate for the cheapest available price on drugs, then I want them to make that argument in front of the American people. And I will have experts who explain that, in fact, it is legitimate for drug companies to make profits, but they are making outsized profits on the backs of senior citizens who need those prescription drugs. And that is an argument that the American people have to be involved with, otherwise we're not going to get any plan through.

Hillary wasn’t trying to see that – “Now I think we might be able to [put all those deliberations on C-SPAN] but that’s a little heavier lift than what the president is going to propose, because what happens is we have to have a coalition.” At the risk of making too much of this exchange, I was struck (once again) by Obama’s instinct to stimulate political engagement and Clinton’s ho-humming the prospect of the American people joining in a democratic discussion.

The candidates’ very different impulses on this score probably testify to their different life-experiences. I recall reading somewhere that Hillary once wrote a thesis about Saul Alinsky’s projects. But Obama spent a couple years of his life working as a community organizer under the aegis of the Industrial Areas Foundation (which was put together by Alinskyites). Here's an excerpt from the IAF’s mission statement, which still seems to inform Obama’s own approach to politics.

The IAF is non-ideological and strictly non-partisan, but proudly, publicly, and persistently political. The IAF builds a political base within society's rich and complex third sector - the sector of voluntary institutions that includes religious congregations, labor locals, homeowner groups, recovery groups, parents associations, settlement houses, immigrant societies, schools, seminaries, orders of men and women religious, and others. And then the leaders use that base to compete at times, to confront at times, and to cooperate at times with leaders in the public and private sectors

The IAF develops organizations that use power - organized people and organized money - in effective ways. The secret to the IAF's success lies in its commitment to identify, recruit, train, and develop leaders in every corner of every community where IAF works. The IAF is indeed a radical organization in this specific sense: it has a radical belief in the potential of the vast majority of people to grow and develop as leaders, to be full members of the body politic, to speak and act with others on their own behalf. And IAF does indeed use a radical tactic: the face-to-face, one-to-one individual meeting whose purpose is to initiate a public relationship and to re-knit the frayed social fabric.

Obama’s account of his own ("face-to-face") organizing in South Chicago (in his memoir Dreams from My Father) tells how he witnessed everyday people, some of whom he would not have "picked" to become leaders, grow into their own capacities to take on authority figures in public. I’m reminded, just now, of Obama’s story of a crew from Altgeld project who confronted officials at the Chicago Housing Authority who were prevaricating about asbestos levels in their apartments. “Obama’s army” that day included one pious, married lady who was used to being patronized. She started off shaky but steadied as she suddenly found herself holding "her first press conference.” When one CHA official finally stopped disrespecting the Altgeld insurgents and started playing nice, another woman rebuked him: “We don’t need your donuts, we need answers.”

Obama’s tale of how these woman found their voices came back to me when Hillary touted her own moment of self-discovery on the campaign trail. Obama seems to have realized long ago that if politics is chiefly about insiders like him (and Hillary), it’s nothing. The point is to encourage America's outsiders to realize their capacity to change themselves and the world…

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” That line from Obama’s Super Tuesday speech sounded to my ears like a play on the famous feminist line: “We are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” What gives Obama’s rhetoric of hope such amazing grace is his capacity to invoke the truths of identity politics without sublating class matters.

Hillary’s own identity politics makes her preferable to her husband (who stands for zip but his own sense of entitlement). One of her feminist supporters, recently called attention to Hillary’s mid-90s speech in China, where she defied State Department officials and spoke forthrightly about the oppression of women. But, even in this speech, probably her finest moment in public life, she came across as a woman on top. “We come together in fields and in factories. We come together in village markets and supermarkets. We come together in living rooms and board rooms.” [Emphasis added.] But women who “come together” in factories are a world away from those who mix in board rooms. While Obama talks (too) easily about transcending divisions between “rich and poor,” he has a basic street sense of what separates someone who sat on Walmart’s corporate board from the women he organized with in South Chicago.

There’s a section of Obama’s Dreams where he dives into a second wave feminism that’s less class-bound (and race-bound) than Hillary’s. Obama recalls how a black woman he was working with in Chicago -- a single mother -- once showed up for a community meeting wearing blue contact lens. He allows that he responded with less than perfect sensitivity to this woman’s self-image issues. A couple weeks later, he redeemed himself slightly by arranging for his comrade to see the play For Colored Girls…

For the next hour [the seven black women] took turns telling their stories, singing their songs. They sang about lost time and discarded fantasies and what might have been. They sang of the men who loved them, betrayed them, raped them, embraced them; they sang of the hurt inside these men, hurt that was understood and sometimes forgiven. They showed each other their stretch marks and the calluses on their feet; they revealed their beauty in the lilt of their voice, the flutter of a hand, beauty waning, ascendant, elusive. They wept over the aborted children, the murdered children, the children they once were. And through all of their songs, violent, angry, sweet, unflinching, the women danced, each of them, double-dutch and rhumba and bump and solitary waltz; sweat-breaking, heart-breaking dances. They danced until they all seemed one spirit. At the end of the play, that spirit began to sing a single, simple verse.

I found God in myself
And I loved her/ I loved her fiercely

Lights came up; bows were taken; the girls behind us cheered wildly. I helped Ruby with her coat and we walked out to the parking lot. The temperature had dropped, the stars glinted like ice against the black sky. As we waited for the car to warm up. Ruby leaned over and kissed me on the cheek.


Her eyes, deep brown, were shimmering. I grabbed her gloved hand and gave it a quick squeeze before starting to drive. Nothing more was said; for the entire ride back to the South Side, until I left her at the door and wished her good-night, we never broke that precious silence.

I hope feminists who assume Hillary would be “better for women” try to hear that “precious silence.” Maybe they’ll have second thoughts.

Obama notes that his experience with Ruby shook up his own predisposition to erect a wall “between psychology and politics, the state of our pocketbooks and the state of our souls.” Obama’s body and soul talk here doesn’t quite fit that IAF template and I can imagine skeptical responses from organizers who know black (and white) working class people need unions and broad-scale solidarity more than fleeting personal experiences of self-validation. But you don’t need to buy into Generation O – Obama! Oprah! Orgasms? – to recognize that class consciousness is necessary but not sufficient to comprehend the life of desire in America. Obama’s responsiveness to the varieties of urgency (and suppression) in our culture isn’t a sign that he’ll give into the Imperial Middle muddle. It’s a testament to the range of his sociological imagination and his recognition that most Americans choose NOT be defined solely by their lives on the job. (While that makes it hard as hell to organize them, there’s something life-affirming about their Great Refusals.)

Obama’s variousness can seem like a con. Especially to those who assume politics must be about potholes, not uplift. “Obama is just a preacher,” said a Hillary-backer with undisguised contempt. Skepticism of his Churchy side is widespread among secular “progressive” types. I know where they’re coming from. I recall feeling superior when Bush claimed (in one of his debates with Gore) his favorite political philosopher was Jesus. But that just proved how little I knew about the genealogy of morals. Right around the time Obama was getting into the race, I came across Jean Bethke Elshtain’s Public Men, Private Women, which turned out to be right on time for the upcoming campaign. It was a kick in the head to discover Hannah Arendt and Cornelius Castoriadis – great 20th Century philosophers of democracy and freaks for the Greeks – missed how the originary Christian Moment turned this Man’s Man’s Man’s World upside down. For it was Jesus – God Bless ‘im – who upheld homey values of kindness and compassion that had always been consigned to the domestic sphere and dissed as women things, unworthy of the agora.

Obama doesn’t bow down to Christers. He went out of his way to push the congregation at Martin Luther King’s church. “We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them.” In that setting, the underscored word underlined the deeply unchristian aspect of homophobia. Obama’s ease with gay people is probably a sign of his worldliness and urbanity. But he has the wit not to mix up his rejection of intolerance with off-putting tics of bi-coastal elites. Recall that line from his 2004 Keynote speech: “We got some gay friends in the Red States…”

Obama the empath irritates both hard leftists and Democratic party partisans who know that anger is an energy. A capacity to imagine others from within will tend to make enemies seem less hateful, more human. Obama is, notoriously, not an Angry Black Man. But his cool shouldn’t be confused with a lack of passion or a lack of clarity. His line on the American Dilemma is marked by his lucidity about “the trouble with friendship.”

Unfortunately, all too often when we talk about unity in this country, we've come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. We've come to believe that racial reconciliation can come easily - that it's just a matter of a few ignorant people trapped in the prejudices of the past, and that if the demagogues and those who exploit our racial divisions will simply go away, then all our problems would be solved. All too often, we seek to ignore the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way of ensuring opportunity for all children, or decent jobs for all people, or health care for those who are sick. We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price.

If that seems a little abstract, check his one-liner protesting against: “Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others.”

Obama has backed up such words with deeds. His most important achievement as a State Senator was the bill he got through the Illinois legislature which mandated all police interrogations and confessions be videotaped. The idea was to stop cops from beating confessions out of suspects. Charles Peters recently offered an account of how Obama got his “heart and soul” bill passed over the initial objections of the law enforcement establishment, Illinois’s Governor, Republicans who were “automatically tough on crime,” Democrats who were scared to seem “soft on crime,” and anti-death penalty advocates who worried that Obama’s bill “by preventing the execution of innocents would deprive them of their best argument.” When the police lobby proposed to limit the videotaping to confessions, Obama held out “knowing that the beatings were most likely to occur during questioning.” He not only prevailed, he was so persuasive “that the bill passed both houses of the legislature, the Senate by an incredible 35 to 0.” And then Obama talked the Governor into signing the bill, making Illinois the first state to require such videotaping.

Peters argues that Obama’s successes in the Illinois Legislature (where he passed other significant legislation) indicates “Obama’s campaign claim that he can persuade Americans to rise above what divides us is not just rhetoric.”

Obama's campaign may falter. Perhaps it won't amount to much more than a re-run of Jesse Jackson’s last try. But, then again, Obama’s deeds as a legislator distance him from Jackson’s decades of speech acts. That and the fact that the race for the nomination is still on suggest that maybe there really is something new under the sun.

Obama explained how/why he believed change is going to come at the end of his speech on Martin Luther King’s birthday. So lets end this by giving him the last word.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organizes for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She's been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and the other day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

So Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we begin. It is why the walls in that room began to crack and shake.

And if they can shake in that room, they can shake in Atlanta.

And if they can shake in Atlanta, they can shake in Georgia.

And if they can shake in Georgia, they can shake all across America. And if enough of our voices join together; we can bring those walls tumbling down. The walls of Jericho can finally come tumbling down. That is our hope - but only if we pray together, and work together, and march together.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone.

So I ask you to walk with me, and march with me, and join your voice with mine, and together we will sing the song that tears down the walls that divide us, and lift up an America that is truly indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all. May God bless the memory of the great pastor of this church, and may God bless the United States of America.

From February, 2008