May 7th, 2008
12:50 PM ET

'A change is gonna come'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/07/art.obama.victorspeech.jpg]

Editor's note: This blog appeared on TheNation.com on the campaign '08 blog.

Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editor, The Nation

American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado had just finished singing Sam Cooke's 1964 classic "A Change is Gonna Come" when Obama strode onto the stage in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Syesha wept, as she reminded Randy, Paula and Simon of the civil rights movement which fueled Cooke's song, life and power.

Obama spoke of the change that was coming –the attacks, the rightwing playbook, and he worked to inoculate himself with power, passion, and words that soared.

Obama, tonight, gave a definitional speech. Some considered it a convention acceptance speech.

It was a redefinition of the American Dream.

A Change is Gonna Come.

Let me tell you who I am, Obama told us, reintroducing himself after a rough and rocky week. Let me tell you what makes me tick.

He spoke of his love for America, challenging those who would define patriotism through lapel pins.

Obama spoke of the movements and government which gave his grandfather the opportunity to go to college on the GI bill when he came home from war; which gave his mother,who was on food stamps, the opportunity to send him to the best schools; which gave his father-in-law, a shift worker with MS, the opportunity to send his daughter and son to one of the best colleges in the nation.

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