So, this happened two years ago.
I remember that day, and the relief that washed over me that this battle was over. (Let’s leave the SCOTUS aside, for the moment.)
But the moment that was transcendent, for me, is still the speech Obama gave to the House Democratic caucus on Saturday, March 20, 2010.
The speech – the last eight minutes or so are below – is, as Michael Scherer predicted, political rhetoric for the history books. And it was, for those sneering wingers, given without a prepared text or teleprompter.
On Monday, it was still ringing in my ears:
Two days later, I am still gobsmacked by Obama’s Saturday speech to the House Democratic caucus.
30 minutes, a few notes, no teleprompter, and rhetoric that, in places, seemed like Sam Seaborn had crafted it for days.
Every once in a while, every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country, where you have a chance to make good on those promises that you made in all those town meetings and all those constituency breakfasts and all that traveling through the district, all those people who you looked in the eye and you said, you know what, you’re right, the system is not working for you and I’m going to make it a little bit better.
And this is one of those moments.
And so it was. People will be talking about that speech decades from now, even though it’s not clear if Obama flipped anybody, or kept a single wavering yes vote in place.
But by laying out an eloquent vision of service, Obama took what had been a political exercise and transformed it into an affirmation of character.
I still get chills.
I don’t know what the Supreme Court will do, or, God help us, what happens under President Romney (let’s make sure that doesn’t happen, huh?), but considering the hurdles we had to overcome to get healthcare acknowledged as a basic right, what happened two years ago today really was a big fucking deal.