Friday, November 7, 2008

A Victory for Eloquence

It took months, weeks, days of grueling, grinding work to win the presidential election. But within two hours of doing so, President-Elect Barack Obama scored a major victory for the American language: he brought eloquence to the national stage once again.

In his acceptance speech, he made a graceful allusion to Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Then he drew directly from the closing paragraph of Lincoln's first inaugural address when he stated, “We are not enemies, but friends.”

The World Changes, trumpeted the headline in an Italian newspaper, announcing the election results. For all the power that Barack Obama will soon have to change the world, it will be the power of his words that will move many of us—not only to action, but to think.

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