Wednesday, November 5, 2008

'Change has come'

"Change has come," read the headlines on the Plain Dealer's front page and the Washington Post web site this morning. It's a quote from President-Elect Barack Obama's speech in Chicago last night.

It's not just a turn of Obama's campaign slogan. Obama was echoing "A Change is Gonna Come," the Sam Cooke song and civil-rights anthem.

Cooke wrote the song in 1963 as a reply to Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and a response to his arrest after he tried to stay at a whites-only hotel in Louisiana. Here's the third verse and chorus:
I go to the movie, and I go downtown
Somebody keep telling me "Don't hang around"
It's been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come
And here's Obama's line in the speech last night:

"It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America."

By echoing the song, Obama acknowledged that his election showed America can live up to the civil rights movement's moral ideal.

I've embedded a video of the speech above (the line comes at 2:10), followed by Cooke's recording of the song from YouTube. Or, you can read the transcript of the speech here and read the lyrics here. Here's Wikipedia's entry about the song.

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