On air: Do speeches change the world?

And do they change how you vote? It had been previewed for months, and whether he wins or not, it’ll be talked about for years. But what real impact will Barack Obama’s speech have?

Is this an out-dated political traditional which journalists and politicians like to tell us is incredibly significant? Or are speeches the real deal? Do they introduce ideas, language and emotions in a way no other means of communication can do?

We’re looking for examples of speeches which have had an impact on your life and your country, and others which failed to make any difference at all.

183 Responses to “On air: Do speeches change the world?”

  1. 1 Bob in Queensland
    August 29, 2008 at 13:52

    No. The world changes then the significance of speeches previously ignored becomes obvious.

    The “I have a dream” speech wouldn’t be famous today if MLK hadn’t died (and certainly not if a modicum of civil rights reform hadn’t happened). JFK’s “we choose to do the hard thing” speech would have been forgotten if NASA had said “can’t be done”.

    Even Winston Churchill’s “never have so many owed to much to so few” came AFTER the RAF managed to hold the Luftwaffe at bay for just long enough.

  2. August 29, 2008 at 13:52

    speeches are a way politicians use to make us think they think. Come on Ros the way you are charming if you ran for political office in labor party. To survive you would have to go lock yourself in the closet and conjure up the right words to make us think you are a jack of all trades.(nothing personal Rose) Its the way politicians do, and it has worked ever since. If speches changed the world here in Kenya we would be all billionaires since every politician in Kenya wants to address everything from cows taken to a cattle dip to funeral gatherings. Its actions that change the world.

  3. 3 Jess
    August 29, 2008 at 13:55

    Yes, speeches do change the world because they inspire. I’ve never been inspired my a political figure before Barack Obama came onto the scene, and I think it feels nice to enjoy listening to your leader. We’ve had 8 years of Bush’s tripe. I cringe everytime I hear voice. Americans need a president of whom they can be proud.

  4. 4 Brett
    August 29, 2008 at 13:56

    Speeches are like eye / ear candy. With politicians deviating so far from their speeches, especially pre-elected, in their policy and decisions, it’s hard to believe that everything they say will happen, or that they’ll even be held to it.

  5. 5 Iddi Musyemi
    August 29, 2008 at 13:58

    A change in the world is brought forth by changing the minds of individuals and making them believe in your vision. When a speech is well crafted and embodies the hopes and aspirations of many then the chances of such speeche changing a society are just so real! I woke early today in the morning just to watch Sen. Obama give his acceptance speech. Here in the office, everyone seems to have been moved by it and it felt much more like he was addressing us (with an especial Kenyan connection) and the entire world! There are no many examples in Kenya which I can readily pick and show to the world through WHYS but Raila seems to be the only person in Kenya who does captures the imagination of this our society and moves the country but just a bit.
    I believe speeches change the world. And Sen Obama’s is the best example I can pick yet.

  6. 6 steve
    August 29, 2008 at 14:00

    Just like in every other aspect of life, it’s actions that matter, not words.

  7. 7 selena in Paris
    August 29, 2008 at 14:03

    Some would argue that this short speech changed history.

    The Spanish Armada a Speech by Queen Elizabeth I of England
    Addressed to the English army at Tilbury Fort – 1588

    My loving people, we have been persuaded by some, that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people.

    Let tyrants fear; I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood, even the dust.

    I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms: to which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.

    I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble and worthy subject; not doubting by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

  8. 8 Christopher
    August 29, 2008 at 14:06

    Speeches – or “speechifiying” if you’re President Bush – have less and less relevance in today’s society in general. The greatest orators have their places in history – those who held their audicences spellbound – but the time of the orator is passing, or has passed, as media outlets and production values have passed the time-honored tradition of public oration by.

    MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech electrified because of when it was, where it was delivered, how it was delivered and, most importantly, who delivered that speech – and I disagree with Bob in Queensland – I saw that speech as a little boy, on a grainy B&W tv set – and even as a little kid, it was electrifying at the time. My mom is a South Philadelphia native raised well, but in a fairly close-minded, bigoted white society, who moved to the midwest when she married – and, until this speech, she still carried those close-minded thoughts. Afterward, she was a changed person, and when the news hit April 4 that MLK had been assasinated, she made all us kids, right then, drop to our knees to pray.

    Last nights BO speech was just too much of a production for me – too Hollywood, too network, too planned and scripted, and not enough heart to it; when MLK delivered his speeches, you felt like he meant every word. I can’t say the same for BO.

  9. 9 Jonathan
    August 29, 2008 at 14:24


    [applause] Elizabeth I rocked!

  10. 10 amod shrestha
    August 29, 2008 at 14:25

    no,definitely not.it’s the work that counts and one who regard the work as worship will conquer the world.but in my opinion obama is not only confined within his speeches ,he is the best democrat for the white house

  11. 11 Kelsie in Houston
    August 29, 2008 at 14:34

    Mr. Obama’s speech certainly changed my conservative mother’s vote, but did not convince me he (or any of the political candidates, really) is more than simply clever, “beautiful” rhetoric. It’s important also not to conflate the speech with the speaker him/herself. Adolf Hitler gave few memorable speeches, text-wise, but his methods of delivery and personality projection made those unmemorable speeches into formidable propaganda weapons.

    Oratory is impressive and, especially given our present President, a talent sorely needed in the White House. However, Mr. Obama’s oratory remains largely static: a pastiche of stock, Kennedy-esque phrases that are only slightly more appealing than John McCain’s typical neocon scare tactics. The rest of the world may be totally gaga for Obama after this “performance,” but I simply don’t think the speech or its deliverer merit such effusive praise.

  12. 12 Katharina in Ghent
    August 29, 2008 at 14:40

    Speeches are nice but I doubt that they still have the same power over people as they (possibly) used to have. It may be due to our decreased attention span, something that rocks us today is forgotten tomorrow and we move on to the next interesting bit of news like there was no yesterday.

    Al Gore gave much better speeches than GWB, but I remember that immediately after 9/11 everybody said that they were glad that GWB was their president, because he shows more emotions… meanwhile I watched him on TV giving a speech that he barely managed to stumble through. And yet, he even managed to get re-elected!

  13. 13 Elias Ratteng
    August 29, 2008 at 14:43

    Speeches are the in thing. They are the windows through which a leader is evaluated. If one cannot talk his mind then how else will we know he is able? Coupled with the speech is the passion with which the words are uttered. The honesty or otherwise of a speaker is the depth of his passions. Whoever cannot speak has no business in leadership. You may call Obama all the names, but the guy has convinced the world that he can lead the supperpower nation. Whether he manages it will be for the future to tell, once the Americans give him the mandate, which currently is highly likely.

  14. August 29, 2008 at 14:45

    obama really has a lot of potential ,a lot more than his republican counterparts.i am from nepal and a great supporter of his .and not only hillary ,he
    rocks too.

  15. August 29, 2008 at 14:47

    Sorry, I don’t live in a world patted out and made for me nor do I think thought formed for me to think. I am not a governments pet.

    Politics and the media is just a form of presenting to the world thoughts that color and misshape the truth. It all is a shroud, that aided and allied communication keeps in place over a populous.

    Nations are totalitarian and by violence the public are policed. A bureaucratic dominance exist that citizens are demanded to adhere to. A introduced passive nature has it’s citizens allowing crimes against humanity, even fighting wars and killing people brainwashed like them self.

    It would be wonderful if elected office today changed the world and made it a better place and it isn’t going to happen. By having naive individuals in public office more convincing become the exploiting schemes of a government entangling from within, the cognitive ability of a citizen. Maintained is the skeleton of the truth, that can not be embodied.

  16. 16 Jonathan
    August 29, 2008 at 15:03

    A speech that especially impressed me:

    “Ignorance and misinformation can handicap the progress of a city or a company, but they can, if allowed to prevail in foriegn policy, handicap this country’s security. In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, American’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem. […] Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of handling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live.”

    From Jack Kennedy’s speech scheduled for November 22, 1963, unspoken because he was murdered earlier that day.

  17. 17 rash
    August 29, 2008 at 15:06

    speeches can inspire people. but it can never change the world, because its the actions that create a difference and facilitate to change..even the world.

  18. 18 1430a
    August 29, 2008 at 15:08

    hello everyone,
    well,yes speeches do ‘Change’the world.Thats what we saw today when Obama gave an almost great speech.
    A speech is the ability to talk and express your feelings.
    In a speech a person should be able to express what his ideas,plans or feelings are.But it is true that if you are sucessful to deliver a speech but fail to do it practically then the speech is a mere’Fluke’.We should be able to turn the words into action.

  19. 19 Drake Weideman
    August 29, 2008 at 15:09

    There are quite a few notable sppeches from the past that served to inspire peoples and nations…several of Churchill’s wartime speeches seem to have have helped inspire Britain to endure during the dark early years of WWII, Roosevelt’s fireside chats helped the US physchologically weather the depression, Ghandis speeches helped unify India, amongst other examples (and I won’t even bring up the ‘speeches’ made by religious figures…although I just did).
    Whether these speeches ‘changed’ the world is more of a subjective thing, but they certainly had an effect.
    I think that these kind s of effects are perhaps no longer possible…just not e the cynicism of the previous posters (and I think my own cynicism surpasses what I’ve read above). Governments and media are suspect, speechwriters are professionals with degrees who use ‘weighted’ words and phrases designed to inflame rather than inform & inspire…I think that it is no longer possible to change the world with mere words…we’ve heard too many inspirational speeches that time proves to be mere rhetoric.

  20. 20 Jessica in NYC
    August 29, 2008 at 15:12

    No and yes…

    Speeches by politicians don’t change the world alone. Obama’s speech was powerful, now the actions follow will determine the strength in his words.

    Speeches can have a profound impact on this world. Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” is an example of a speech that had a huge impact in the United States. I had a teacher show our class a recording of Dr. King’s speech in grade school. It certainly changed my life and how I viewed people. His vision helped shaped my mind and that has an influence on my family and others in things I do.

  21. 21 Freddie Singini
    August 29, 2008 at 15:15

    Speeches are the old, tried and tested means of provoking thought, connecting with the electorate, sepearting onesself from the others thougts and entrenched positions, communicatring political ideals and isms and largely defining public policy in brader terms.

    Speeches do change the way we and I vote.

    I zambia, sadly, our sitting president, Levy Mwanawasa passed away nearly a fortnight ago, at Percy Military Hospital, Clamart, in Paris France.

    Two days before his departure for the fateful African Union Summit in Egypt, he addressed a Catholic Bishops Conference in Lusaka. He said a lot of things in cluding his having reconciled with his once sworn political enemies,his having renewed his faith with the church, his having set the country on prosperous path, and his wish that when he was gone, Zambia should unit around “one-zambia-one-nation’.

    He came out strongly against Uncle BOB in Harare, not earning himself many friends in the process, but ensured that the voiceless were heard.

    Speeches spar ment to action, if said in the positive sense, they are a recipe for positive change in society.

    Obama is the right man for the moment. His speeches have challenged our long held positions about the near imposibilty that yes we can have a black man in the Oval Office, not a joker, but a reformer, one who connects and has demonstrated his ability to change thorugh persuasion.

  22. August 29, 2008 at 15:16

    No. Speeches don’t change the world. More it depends on how the speaker get tackle to the problem and move ahead.

    In Nepal till now we experienced that political slogan and speeches never seen and came into reality. Majority of the leader always used inspiring and popular words in their speech to reach in the power. When they reach in their destination they totally forget their words. This is the biggest problem in modern Nepali politics.

    But every leader is not same. Definitely there are some exceptions too. Thus it depends on leader’s honesty and faith towards people.

  23. 23 GB
    August 29, 2008 at 15:29

    Well I don’t know if they actually change the world but it’s refreshing to at least have 2 guys that can actually make them! That in itself is evidence that the times are changing here. We may actually get past the “who you would rather have a beer with” this election. I won’t miss this “aw shucks” decade that’s for sure and it’s acceptance of the dumbing down of the English language.

  24. 24 Dinka Alpayo Aliap, Kampala
    August 29, 2008 at 15:34

    Yes . Speeches can change they minds of people for the time being but one can do what he/she had intended to do before they speech because polician can even TELL PEOPLE TO BUILD THE BRIDGE IN PLACE WHERE THERE IS NO RIVER/LAKE EVEN EXIST IN THE FIRST PLACE. So it can change the minds of gullible and wise people as well.

  25. 25 Aboko Silvio from Sudan
    August 29, 2008 at 15:35

    Speeches are the expressions of ones inner feelings. In most cases, speeches can change which will either be positive or negative change.

    In our case in sudan our former leader Dr garang used sweeping and patriotic speeches which made many southerners to rally behind him for the cause of our south sudan.

    However, speeches can bring change.

  26. 26 1430a
    August 29, 2008 at 15:44

    I completly aggree with what you have to say.it is indeed sad that political leaders have failed to deliver the action most of the times.But its not only in Nepal,look into the politics of our neighbours India!All the same.
    Taking that in mind America’s politics is very clean.I still cannot think that two Democratic candidates who were fighting for a place few months back are now great friends.Thats called politics and thats why probably America will always remain a politically stabe nation.

  27. August 29, 2008 at 15:55

    I am not a Obama supporter for reasons best known to me but I must accept he had sustance in his speech and no doubt most of my friends follow suport Obama after what hearing what he says.
    Yes and No
    Speeches don’t change the world but they guide people. As we remeber what Luther said, we are also in position to realise that it has taken us years to embrace the change he preached, his words have always checked how we live, hence guiding us.
    On the other hand a friend has become positive about what Obama says but not sure whether those words will be put to pass successively.

  28. 28 Dee in Chicago
    August 29, 2008 at 16:12

    I do believe speeches have an impact on people. I remember a visit to New Zealand where someone quoted U.S. President Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you . . .” And, Martin Luther King’s speeches certainly inspired people, at least in the U.S. Whether Obama joins this league remains to be seen.

  29. 29 Eseme Ojaruega
    August 29, 2008 at 16:19

    Speeches stunningly change the world. We have witnessed in the past or in the present where speeches have erupted violence and averted same.

    Oratory is a very powerful toll, it is a skill that great intellects have used in swaying a person or people.

    The President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernandez Reyna is a very eloquent person, and after series of the speeches made by Sen. Barack obama, there is no misgiving that he is good at it as well.

    In the history of great minds and scholars, there is no individual who lacks this characteristic, that would succeed in inculcate his/her message.

    I am of the strong conviction that properly thought out speeches backed with facts of reality is invigorating, because it impacts the potency of the mind.

  30. 30 Lamii Kpargoi
    August 29, 2008 at 16:24

    I made a speech on March 15, 2004, which I thought was my best ever effort. At the time, the civil war in my country had just ended, and as a student leader, I had the honor of addressing dignitaries at the birth anniversary of the first president of Liberia, Joseph Jenkins Roberts. The bottom line in my speech, which received a resounding applause, was that the transitional government at the time was more concerned with the frivolous than with making the change that they were mandated to do. The point here is that, though the people in the hall, and perhaps the audience listening on the radio felt some transient effect as a result of the speech, no change occurred in the government’s attitude.

    This would probably be the situation with Mr. Obama’s speech. Speeches are seldom remembered, especially if something remarkable doesn’t happen as a result. If Obama wins the elections, his speeches would be remembered, but if he doesn’t he and those speeches would fade into obscurity.

  31. August 29, 2008 at 16:26

    Speeches can be the most inspiring things that anyone can do. But it is, as has been said here, the actions of the man/woman that count.

    One word in Sen. Obama’s speech still stands out to me today – only one word but one that I feel so many of the American people feel it so much…”Enough!”

  32. 32 Dennis
    August 29, 2008 at 16:26

    Speeches are like eye and ear candy!!!! That is the thing!


  33. 33 selena in Paris
    August 29, 2008 at 16:31

    Arguably, the most important speech in the history of mankind was the Sermon on the Mount.

    Did it change the world? You bet it did!

    Did it change the world for the better? No!

  34. August 29, 2008 at 16:47

    First, my general response. Words are very underrated. They absolutely change things, for better or worse. An excellent speech can crystallize a moment in history and can sneak into the consciousness, moving people to action. Few good leaders on a large scale have been really poor orators. I didn’t say “none,” but I don’t think very many. In order to lead well, the people you are leading have to be inspired to have ownership of your vision. How do people learn about and get invested in a vision without that verbal communication? Whether or not words are followed or preceded by action are what validates and gives them depth and strength – but that does not mean that words themselves cannot be immensely potent. When they are delivered well, with passion and wit and intelligence in a constructed way that builds a cogent piece of information words can do an awful lot of good or bad.

    Secondly, Selena – care to elaborate on the negative change that the sermon on the mount had? And care to explain why once again there is a need for out of context shots at Christians on the WHYS blog?



  35. August 29, 2008 at 16:54

    This week has being Obama in Focus. Hope next week will be McCain in Focus otherwise we would know that something is up …

  36. 36 Taban Alfred David
    August 29, 2008 at 16:59

    At the moment of the speech it change the world, but after the speech ended no one can think about it.

  37. August 29, 2008 at 17:01

    Nelsoni, by “something is up…” are you hinting at some kind of conspiracy? The focus is simply a direct result of the Democratic Convention. If you’re worried, don’t be. The Republicans and McCain will certainly get their time in focus during their convention and nominating process.

  38. August 29, 2008 at 17:02

    Hi folks!!
    The truth is, speeches have always changed the course. However, it depends to a larger extent the elocution,persuasion and oratorship of the speaker. Pope Urban II precipitating the Crusade. Mark Anthony to the Romans. Patrick Henry’s Virginia Address, Martin Luther King, Jr., ” I have a Dream”, and the list is endless. The Impact of Obama speech will not be realized in a matter of hours but in time to come and i bet it will be on November 8.

  39. 39 selena in Paris
    August 29, 2008 at 17:02


    (Steve, please read this post in relation to our earlier discussion.)

    The last thing on my conscious mind was to make a shot at Christians.

    The Sermon on the Mount was a wonderful departure from the norm of the time. Out of that speech, which was supposed to point to a better way for humanity, came centuries of war and strife in the name of the person who made the greatest speech.

    That is how I see it. How do you see it?

  40. 40 Shannon
    August 29, 2008 at 17:02

    Speeches can indeed inspire but whether they can motivate people into action seems the true test. I agree that many are eye and ear candy like previous posts have asserted but I don’t think they are useless. How else would we know a person’s positions on issues, beliefs, etc? I have made a few speeches and in my life and have always enjoyed giving them. MLK was a great orator and I vehemetly disagree with the person who said his “I have a dream” speech was made popular just by his death. Some people have the ability to speak and carry a message but sadly most people don’t. If Obama’s speaking ability is any indication of how he will lead the US then we have a chance at greatness. If McCain gets in….well, I’m outta here.

  41. 41 Jennifer
    August 29, 2008 at 17:10

    @Bob in Queensland

    I agree.

    Also, it’s not so much about the speech itself as about the putting the rubber to the road after all has been said.

  42. August 29, 2008 at 17:10

    The Democrat Party-controlled Ameican media made it sound like all of Germany had turned out to hear Nobama in Berlin. Actually, they had turned up because
    ot the two biggest rock bands in the country who were playing there on each
    side of his boring talk. They made it sound like they’d come to hear B.O.. Actually, since many couldn’t understand it, and couldn’t care less, it was quite a coup of the Democratic puppet-masters to achieve. Don’t be fooled by
    smooth talkers and pitch salesmen ! Open your eyes as well as your ears !

  43. August 29, 2008 at 17:13

    The fourth line of the missive above needs to read ‘ of ‘ instead of ‘ot’ .

    Sorry for the typo !

  44. August 29, 2008 at 17:20

    @ Keith ~ I am by no means bothered. I only hope we can also discuss Did the Republicans make the wrong Choice?, Do you still think McCain is the wrong choice? The McCain make a dumb move by selecting Palin as a running mate … ?

  45. 45 Vijay
    August 29, 2008 at 17:22

    Yes ,of course speeches can and have changed the world.
    The media,the medium is not the message.
    What annoys(one of the things) me about journalists is that they think their views or commentary is more important than politicians speeches,this is particularly true during the British conference(convention) season which is about to start next month.The broadcasters have the conference in the background while they talk to some of their old Oxbridge pals about what ,the speeches eeally mean,instead of allowing us to hear and see the speakers ourselves.

  46. August 29, 2008 at 17:26

    Brilliant speech. Can’t help but be proud of his family, and his bearing, but still when you look into his flowery speech it is always safe and calls upon the basic goodness of the American people to be excited about the words.

    The insulting part where he attacked McCain by saying, “he says he wants to chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won’t go to the mouth of his cave”, or words to that effect. My thought is, well, how come you never even wore the camo and served you nation and when to the caves of our enemies.

    His comment on abortion….”we can disagree on abortion, but we can also do something to lower the number of abortions?” So this must mean he supports the right of women to murder people and contribute to one of the most obsene and subtle genocides on the planet, but we should try to convince women not to kill so many of our citizens?

    He accuses McCain of voting 95% of the time for Bush in the Senate, while he Obama voted 90% of the time for Bush agenda.

    He crafts his words and meaning so well, but under it all is what?

    How does he make America a money making business to get all the people and the government out of debt…….the greatest debtor nation in the history of the planet. We are worse than a totally zero broke nation who does not have all this debt. We need a guy who can use the human resources to pay off the debt and enrich their own lives to at least struggle with the bills and have a good outlook on life.


  47. August 29, 2008 at 17:29

    Speeches can change the world as long as words are deeds. Some speeches have resonant effects.

    But many speeches are just empty words. They are in the form of promises that fail to materialise. One of the reasons that in elections, many people don’t vote is that they think that the politicians of whatever side can’t change anything. Speeches are made on the spur of the moment to calm a situation or to reveal a big plan for the future. But as each country has its state secrets, not everything is revealed in a speech. It remains just a means to keep in contact with the public in the hope of keeping a positive image.

    It is known that governments in their speeches try to project their policies as right while the opposition focuses just on their negative side.

    What matters is that the public should be smart enough to analyse speeches and not to swallow them or reject them according to the analyses they receive from other sources.

  48. 48 Virginia Davis
    August 29, 2008 at 17:34

    I am listening to John McCain introduce his VP in Ohio. He’s making a good case for her.

    Oh, and since we are throwing gold dust all over Martin Luther King, Jr. remember that he, like JFK, was a womanizer. As well as Bill Clinton!

    Selena: Thanks for the Elizabeth I speech. And your response to being designated “anit-Christian” for your Sermon on the Mount.

    Are speeches important. Depends. I like Obama’s outlining what he is going to do if elected president: equalize wages so his daughters will get a fair shake; educate all of America’s kids, and get more pay for teachers and support; eliminate our dependence on Middle East oil in ten years, etc. And do something about a 20th Century federal bureaucracy now that it is the 21st Century.

    It is the VP’s 20th anniversary, she’s a fisherwoman, it is McCain’s 72nd birthday.
    It is either astrology or “Numbers” from the Bible!

    Bye folks!

    Virginia in Oregon

  49. August 29, 2008 at 17:36


    That is a little more clear. I don’t entirely disagree, but you are only looking at half of the legacy of the sermon on the mount. The other half is people who took the core of it’s message to heart and have lived by it, serving those with the greatest need and littlest resource. Over the centuries that is the quieter legacy, but with great impact. There is a great book by a Mennonite theologian called the Upside Down Kingdom, the title of which exemplifies the positive impact of the sermon on the mount – a picture of a society where the helpless are honored, where the humble are valued, where the proud and wealthy have to take their turn. It is quite a stretch I think to suggest that the words of the sermon on the mount specifically have led to great violence and bloodshed. Which words, I am curious, particularly in that sermon have been so misconstrued to cause atrocities such as the crusades?

  50. August 29, 2008 at 17:52

    Look back to the speeches of ex corporal Hitler, he moved the german people to follow his every whim and fancy which lead to Germany’s doom, such was the power of speech.
    On the other hand we remember the speeches of Winston Churchill which lifted the spirits of the british people and lead to winning the war with Germany.

  51. 51 Ashok
    August 29, 2008 at 17:55

    Remember Mahatma Gandhi? How he achieved what he wanted and how he convinced people of the path to be forged? By word of mouth is a more generalised aspect of speech. And that is how many in India carry on. The speeches in regular congregations do matter in building up a psyche. Lectures are also forms of speeches. Scientific society meets to hear speeches by brilliant achevers. Speeches transform, when change is called for.

  52. August 29, 2008 at 17:59

    Anyone who thinks that speeches can’t change the world is a poor student of history. Moreover, this is a convenient position for necons to take, given the special place that Ronald Reagan has in the annals of the GOP. Or Abraham Lincoln. Or Theodore Roosevelt. Please, do show me how it was that the speeches of these three men did not change the world.

    I’ll be happy to argue with you about how they did.

  53. August 29, 2008 at 18:02

    Speeches can have just hypnotizing effects without affecting any change. Some speeches are just a play on words with resonant expressions and intonations. Speeches made in front of a huge audience create just an atmosphere of cheering or jeering.

    But words need to be based on substance. Fidel Castro of Cuba made the longest speeches which he continued making on TV after the Cubans had gone to bed. However, his speeches didn’t bring the changes the Cubans were looking for.

    Perhaps a short and centred speech embodied on the ground is better than long speeches that fill the air the moments they are pronounced but fade into oblivion just after they are made.

  54. 54 Scott (M)
    August 29, 2008 at 18:03

    Obama’s speech was not a great speech. It didn’t have the vibrancy it needed in the words or the delivery. It’s impact will be minimal. The historical significance of the event might have more impact then the speech itself in the history books.

    At this time, it might be harder for one speech to have a profound impact, because we already have easy access to the views of the speakers in the media, more then ever before. There is a lot of power in less is more. There is a lot of power in mystery. The power of mystery may not be objective, but it still has impact. When a candidate already receives so much exposure, it becomes harder for one speech to make a huge difference.

    At this time, a bad performance or a speech screw-up is more likely to have greater impact—the Howard Dean scream!!!—This changed history.

  55. 55 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    August 29, 2008 at 18:04

    Speeches inspire people and people change the world. It takes people to move not moving speeches.

  56. 56 michael gagne
    August 29, 2008 at 18:06

    Speeches change the world because they reflect the intelligence of the speake-their connetedness and dignity. All parts of our perception of wether the words spoken add up to a deeper understanding or just words written by someone else.

  57. August 29, 2008 at 18:09

    @ Scott,

    Pat Robertson liked it. He’s a Republican Speech writer. What are your credentials?

  58. August 29, 2008 at 18:13

    “I say of Jesus, as all humanists do, ‘If what he said is good, and so much of it is absolutely beautiful, what does it matter if he was God or not?’ But if Christ hadn’t delivered the Sermon on the Mount, with its message of mercy and pity, I wouldn’t want to be a human being. I’d just as soon be a rattlesnake.” Vonnegut, A Man without a Country, pp 80-81

  59. 59 anonymous
    August 29, 2008 at 18:18

    Perhaps the first modern “sound bite”, so short the photographers did not have time to take the photo, was a speech of relatively few words, so powerful, so dynamic that it had the force to change a nation and continues to be studies, is Lincoln’s Getisburg address. Great writing combined with great speakers will always have their place to inspire, mobilies and unite.

  60. 60 John Smth - Jamaica
    August 29, 2008 at 18:19

    In the past, there was little opportunity for people to be heard, public speaking was powerful. Today, it is so easy to get messages out and there are so many, that the effect of speech on the world is more limited.

  61. 61 steve
    August 29, 2008 at 18:20

    Remember the Kennedy speech about putting a man on the moon and getting him back by the end of the deckade. That actually happened! How often do what they promise actually happens?

  62. 62 Jim Nordblom, Oregon
    August 29, 2008 at 18:20

    I am a 63 year old Republican. I have voted Republican since Goldwater. I voted twice for Bush, and I apologize to the entire world for that. Obama’s speech was the most incredible I have heard in my lifetime. I will proudly cast my vote for him, and I pray that my country will follow my example.

  63. 63 Baerbel Merrill, Gillette
    August 29, 2008 at 18:21

    Tonight’s speech by Senator Obama assured my decision in who will get my vote, Senator Obama. It is ime that we have change in this country.

  64. 64 Michael Rossi, New York
    August 29, 2008 at 18:21

    Obama has energized the American people. I’ve voted Republican nearly all my life – I’m still a proud Ron Paul supporter. But Obama has clearly convinced me he’s a far better candidate than McCain, who is basically George Bush with intelligence (and that might be even more dangerous). I’m ready to rebuild this country, and rebuild America’s moral standing throughout the world. Obama can bring that.

  65. 65 David Shrader, Jefferson
    August 29, 2008 at 18:22

    Obama gave an excellent, inspiring speech. For the first time in years, I feel a little bit hopeful, although cautious. The democrats’ margin in congress since the 2006 elections has been too small, and subject to Bsh’s veto, to have been able to affect the bush agenda. Democrats now have a real chance to change the disastrous direction our country has gone for the last 8 years. Obama and a stronger democratic congress deserve a chance. I am hopeful!

  66. 66 Alexander, San Diego
    August 29, 2008 at 18:22

    Anyone watching who has been anywhere in the World would appreciate the majestic and humble speech we heard tonight. There is still life other than MILITARY might and LIES in America. As for McBush and his my friends speech that should be like watching Burns and Allen. FANTASTIC!

  67. 67 Leslie, Grapevine, Texas
    August 29, 2008 at 18:23

    America needs someone at the helm who understands foreign policy and can articulate a sensible position.

  68. 68 Rick Choi, Los Angeles
    August 29, 2008 at 18:23

    I just finished listening to Obama’s speech and all I can say is, “Wow!” This was the most important speech of his public life so far and he delivered. The US needs Barack and needs to rid itself of 4 more years of McBush. The US standing in the world was destroyed by by Bush and Republicans. Only Obama can restore the standing of the US and work with allies, not force them to do our bidding. Don’t pay attention to the McCain campaigners spamming this board.

  69. 69 selena in Paris
    August 29, 2008 at 18:23

    Churchill’s speeches rallied the people of England and inspired them during a time of war. The irony is that they couldn’t even say thank you after the war ended. They couldn’t wait to get rid of him.

  70. August 29, 2008 at 18:23

    As a musician, I can tell you that speeches are much like songs. You write them from wherever you get your inspiration. You put it out there for the world to judge. The only true way decide its full weight is to stand the test of time. If 25 years later a song is still getting airplay, you did a good job. No way you can know that when you write it.

    A speech is the same way. If people are still quoting it generations later, then you have made a mark.

  71. 71 Mike Cuz, Sacramento
    August 29, 2008 at 18:23

    Empty rhetoric…how many times will people honestly believe he will “break US dependence on foreign oil”, “Unite the country”, “Save Social Security”…etc, he never actually says how he plans to accomplish those goals. How is he going to afford everything he’s promising? Obama and many of his more cult like supporters are going to have a rude awakening when they discover that not everybody is going to become leftist liberals because he talks about “change”.

  72. 72 Jason Garcia, Atlanta
    August 29, 2008 at 18:24

    Obama had the opportunity of a life time to bring republicans and independents together…instead he sounded like a partisan hack…what a wasted opportunity!

  73. 73 Quincy kwasi, Canada
    August 29, 2008 at 18:24

    History is in the making! I think it’s unfair to judge someone without premise to back our judgement. I think Obama is different and those who are always attacking his lack of experience should check the facts.Secondly I think only presidents serving second terms have the experience to be president. So let the argument be civilised with facts not just bubbling. McCain says he is a war hero, everyone knows America lost that war,and that does not make him fit to be president.

  74. 74 Max, Singapore
    August 29, 2008 at 18:24

    His speech hit ALL the right notes in terms of preference for the MAJORITY of people i.e. middle class and lower. Let’s face it the life of such people IS the life of a country. The plundering few have ridden on the backs of the majority for eons. The struggle to remove that yoke is what is & will be needed. Can he transform his intentions into a reality for Americans? That depends on the sincerity and hard work of the Democrats but I’ll bet that the vested interests will be the spoilers!!

  75. 75 Syed Mateen, Karachi, Pakistan
    August 29, 2008 at 18:25

    I’ve been watching the speech of Barack Obama on television. Obama has become a ray of hope for the US. Americans can see that there is a light at the end of tunnel. God willing, America will change under the leadership of Barack Obama. Good luck Obama! May God Bless You!

  76. 76 Andres Jimenez, Bogota, Colombia
    August 29, 2008 at 18:25

    I can’t stand seeing all these worldwide liberals and American democrats buying all this ‘messiah’ setup some of us are hardly enduring. He should advice Chavez’s ‘aló, presidente’ and Fidel’s speeches. Or was it the other way around?

  77. August 29, 2008 at 18:28

    Speeches can absolutely change the world because the strength of being able to communicate effectively to a mass crowd is an ancient talent that has brought our human civilization to where it is now.

  78. 78 Brett
    August 29, 2008 at 18:28

    Crowds have a large impact in the weight of speeches and how they are viewed in the minds of those there and observing via TV or Radio.

    Take a look at the millions sucked into Hitlers ideals and the mass numbers he brought out for many of his speeches.

    Power in numbers. And many people want to be a part of that and share in whatever power it is.

    So yes, crowd numbers and enthusiasm plays a very large part in how the speech is perceived.

  79. 79 Scott (M)
    August 29, 2008 at 18:28

    @ Jack (in a flimsy box),

    Gee, Jack what are your credentials? Didn’t realize I couldn’t have an opinion on a speech in a topic based on opinions. Credentials—I’m too much of a radical to think they matter.

    Your words: “Anyone who thinks that speeches can’t change the world is a poor student of history.” Your credentials? The ability to making sweeping statements? I don’t decry the sweeping statement though. And all of our hands are bloody.

    P.S. David Brooks – NY Times didn’t like it. Should we go back and forth advocating our views with the views of others?

  80. 80 B John
    August 29, 2008 at 18:28

    Speeches do change peoples ideas. Educuation provides a fillter to what is said. Hitler was a great orator but the message was not filted by the listeners education, hence diaster

  81. August 29, 2008 at 18:30

    Its hard to grade a great speech one day after it was given. The greatness of a speech can only be graded by its effect.

  82. 82 eric
    August 29, 2008 at 18:31

    Think of MLK’s “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” There is a loose parallel to be found here when judging the quality of anyone’s formal speech. Words can either create a superficial misreading or can communicate the speaker’s deepest truth. Judge each in it’s own context and a greater understanding about the speaker can always be discovered.

    Eric in Oakland. Ca.

  83. August 29, 2008 at 18:31


    Churchill’s speeches rallied the people of England (Britain, not just England) and inspired them during a time of war. The irony is that they couldn’t even say thank you after the war ended. They couldn’t wait to get rid of him.

    I have to answer that one. It wasn’t a matter of not saying thank you – for many years millions of Britons said thank you in so many ways – even today people still say thank you to his memory. We even voted him as the greatest ever Briton. He was given a State funeral. Many things.

    The issues were what lost Winston Churchill the election. He fought on a Conservative ticket and lost because of that.

    That is what an election campaign should be, issues and policy.

  84. August 29, 2008 at 18:36


    No denying that it was a production. But so is Shakespeare. The Saint Crispian’s Day Address in Henry V was likely a lot more inspiring than anything that King Harry gave leading up to that battle. It’s designed around creating emotion – and in Obama’s case, it worked. I wasn’t there to see MLK, though I’ve seen the speech repeatedly on film. But I was there to see the reaction to Senator Obama’s speech. I saw an elderly black woman covering her mouth; the expression on her face was the answered prayer, the coming dawn, the journey’s end.

    MLK’s I have a Dream speech was perhaps the greatest oratory of the 20th century, on par with Churchill’s Our Finest Hour speech. Saying that Obama’s speech wasn’t as good as Dr. King’s is like saying the 1984 Mustang [automobile] isn’t as good as the ’57 Bel Aire. The greatness of Chevy doesn’t make the Mustang a lemon.

  85. 85 Jarvaris Goss, Anderson
    August 29, 2008 at 18:36

    I am very very proud of Barack Obama’s. I sit here and read the other post, I wonder why people are afraid of him winning. There were a few who said he will not win the primaries. Against all odds he overcame. As a American we have been through a lot of down fall and hard times for the past eight year under Bush. It is time we have fresh people in Washington. I have faith in Obama.

  86. 86 Mahabala Shetty, Oceanside-San Diego
    August 29, 2008 at 18:37

    Obama has rekindled hope on a lot of American lives tonight. For a CHANGE it seems to be a reality that an American President is coming who can speak multi-syllable words. Not just cowboy talk. Intelligent, thought-provoking and genuinely original! Go Obama. Rise to the top!

  87. 87 Zainab
    August 29, 2008 at 18:37

    Salam all,
    Oh yes speeches change alot.
    Speech is an art, so i do believe it has a powerful ability to change the opinion of people …
    Speech depends on how the speaker is able to convince those how are in front of him, it requires special characteristics like being able to draw the emotional attention of people by bringing an important issues, and manage his language, and pick his words that are understood to all people (all classes: rich , or poor, educated, or not…etc), moreover a good , clear, and loud voice…etc and many other characteristics.

    And the most important thing in any Speech is to be as short as the speaker can. Cuz people used to get bored quickly

    yours truly,
    Zainab from Iraq

  88. 88 David Shrader, Jefferson
    August 29, 2008 at 18:37

    Obama gave an excellent, inspiring speech. For the first time in years, I feel a little bit hopeful, although cautious. The democrats’ margin in congress since the 2006 elections has been too small, and subject to Bush’s veto, to have been able to affect the bush agenda. Democrats now have a real chance to change the disastrous direction our country has gone for the last eight years. Obama and a stronger democratic congress deserve a chance. I am hopeful.

  89. 89 Sunil
    August 29, 2008 at 18:38

    In my view, there were probably always people who were sceptical when Dr King, Churchill, Gandhi, President Kennedy etcetera gave their speeches. These are people who are on the other side of the camp. It is only later, after some powerful change in events (which are linked to the speech itself) that these sceptics realize the power in the speech.

    The bottom line is people want results. But when can’t expect the speech and results to occur simultaneously (or you violate the law of relativity;o), you need time; so to see results, you need to give the speaker a chance, and that is the risk you must take. I think even when Dr King gave his speech, there were definitely people who felt what he said was rubbish and will never happen (as it was impossible to them).

  90. 90 HUGHES
    August 29, 2008 at 18:38

    Giving a speech is an action that can either inspire more action. without the speech to inspire people would not act on their own.

    a poor speech by it’s lack of quality can be damaging by causing complacency and cynicsim and deliberately keeping people under control.

  91. 91 Paul Juno, Milwaukee
    August 29, 2008 at 18:38

    As an independent voter I listened today to find out more about the candidate. Personally, I liked the speech. He talked about more concrete items such as spending more intelligently on education, evaluating the budget items and eliminating those items that no longer make sense. What I really like about him though is that he sees the world as a complex place, republicans think in black and white. If only it were that easy. Ah, back when the soviets were the bad guys, those were the days!

  92. 92 krisjanis
    August 29, 2008 at 18:38


    my life was greatly changed by Mr. Gorbachev’s speech in 1990 about freedom and openness. That speech gave great hope for all East European people in that time.

    Also I have been moved by speeches of Mahatma Gandhi and British colonel Tim Collins.

  93. 93 Alejandro Ramos, Naples
    August 29, 2008 at 18:39

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness….Seems to me that Barrack Obama has achieved these promises….

  94. 94 Arian Jay, Texas
    August 29, 2008 at 18:39

    This man won it when he said, “This is not about me, its about YOU”.

  95. 95 Ratko Maltar, Cleveland
    August 29, 2008 at 18:40

    If you want another Socialist in the White House, then vote for Obama, because that’s all he is. If you want to see America slide even further into the mire of left wing collectivism, vote for Obama, because that’s what you’ll get. Avoid him & his ilk like the plague. He’s just a cheap conman with a mediocre talent as a showman. Don’t be fooled by his Marxist promises.

  96. 96 Gayle from California
    August 29, 2008 at 18:40

    Marianne Williamson’s “Our Deepest Fear” speech has absolutely changed my life. And I quote: And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

    Change begins with ourselves and making ourselves better is not selfish or self-serving. Obama, in telling the people that this election is about “you” or us, tells us to empower ourselves so that we can lift up those around us and the country as a whole.

  97. 97 Karl Beyer, Minneapolis
    August 29, 2008 at 18:40

    If we were a socialist country, maybe Obama’s speech would make a difference. Thankfully, we are country driven by the private business and individual. The more government interferes with the private market, the worse it gets. It was politicians who told lenders to give mortgages to the less fortunate – so ‘that every family could own a house.’ Fast forward a few years and now we have a mortgage crisis.

  98. 98 Greg, Dallas
    August 29, 2008 at 18:40

    Many people here are praising Obama’s ability to speak to the audience and mesmerise the crowd. I recall someone else who had this ability about 70 years ago.

  99. 99 William Burt, Melbourne, Australia
    August 29, 2008 at 18:41

    My one wish is that all the non Americans who think they have a right to express an opinion on this matter would butt out. Let the Americans run their own country; elect their own leaders. The rest have us should have no opinion and if we do we should keep it to ourselves.

  100. 100 Daniel Atakora
    August 29, 2008 at 18:41

    Lets ask ourselves, what do we listen to from the pulpits and we get inspired to what is spoken of? Speeches I guess. You can reach a persons heart by your actions and speech, the manner of delivery touches your very innermost person and that mostly results in action. Yes, I will say speeches change the world.

    Woodbridge, NJ

  101. 101 J Falcao, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    August 29, 2008 at 18:41

    The US is a blessed country – everybody knows that – but the actual administration made this country to lose her brightness. Barack Obama has lit up the hopes of a Great America. Of course is too easy to say nice things without saying how to do that, however we cannot leave a hope go away without grabbing to her.
    It’s better to hear a man talking about nice plans and peaceful wishes than to hear another one talking about the same things and more war!

  102. 102 Harsha Nagaraju, India
    August 29, 2008 at 18:41

    Barack Obama has given a new lease of life for the great American dream. His sincerity, humble beginnings, pragmatic idealism and heartfelt emotions were very palpable in his speech. It is in the interests of America and rest of the world that his countrymen help him realise the vision for a better and brighter tomorrow. For global terrorism to be vanquished, whether one likes it or not, but has to admit that America has a decisive role to play.

  103. August 29, 2008 at 18:42

    Political speeches during an election are intended to get votes by pleasing people, belittling the opposition and leaving a whole lot unsaid. I barely listen to things said by either candidate in an election year. However, speeches with the purpose of drawing people together for a higher purpose (King, Ghandi, Churchill,etc) or to heal (Pres.Lincoln), now THOSE speeches I could read or listen to over and over. And YES, they inspire me to change the world.

  104. 104 Francis Chishimba, Rome, Italy
    August 29, 2008 at 18:42

    Obama is the man for the next US president. His speech says it all!

  105. 105 Zelwe Mwanza
    August 29, 2008 at 18:43

    Its time to change world leaders and replace them with new generation Obama is the right man for america. Speeche inspires and changes peoples and gives hope of catching up or rediscover what you had lost

    Zelwe Mwanza

    +260 977 810088


  106. 106 HUGHES
    August 29, 2008 at 18:43

    Ratko Maltar, Cleveland

    lets keep this about speeches and not radical right wing fear mongering.

  107. 107 Ray
    August 29, 2008 at 18:46

    In a speech long on cliché typified by the “8 is enough” line and short on substance Obama showed us that he has no new ideas and that he is a candidate of it’s all been done and America’s a bad actor on the world stage. Obama knows that if he mentions specifics of how he’s going to fill out his empty rhetoric mainly higher taxes he loses. The more he talks during the campaign the more the American people will come to know that he is inexperienced and unqualified to hold the highest office in the country and I welcome these revelations.

  108. August 29, 2008 at 18:47

    Speeches can do as much harm as good.

    Some, one of your past guests included, see Ronald Reagan as a great orator. Many of us in the U.S. see him as a snake oil salesman.

    Once he left town, the euphoria of the tonic had worn off and he had emptied our pockets.

  109. 109 Adrian
    August 29, 2008 at 18:48

    Speeches do matter, but increasingly it is the media that controls their importance. I believe people now form their view around what the ‘talking heads’ say after the speech. As a result the biases in the media play back into the storyline the mainstream media has constructed about the person and their ideas.

  110. August 29, 2008 at 18:48

    Speeches can do as much harm as good.

    Some, one of your past guests included, see Ronald Reagan as a great orator. Many of us in the U.S. see him as a snake oil salesman.

    Once he left town, the euphoria of the tonic had worn off and he had emptied our pockets.

    Fort Worth, Texas

  111. August 29, 2008 at 18:49


    Touchy, aren’t we. Perhaps the speech was better than I thought. It sure has you neocons worried. The same party that ignored Hurricane Katrina, leaving New Orleans in ruins is now talking about taking about postponing their convention because of the comparatively mild Gustav. And you’re clearly agitated. Are you Bushies taking a knee?

  112. 112 mfb
    August 29, 2008 at 18:50

    if you doubt the imapct of obama’s speech, look at the choice mccain just made for vp…that’s a desperate move…

  113. 113 Vijay
    August 29, 2008 at 18:54

    Neil Kinnock 1992(we are alright, well alright)still sends shudders down my spine,that blew Labours election chances because he lost all credibilty.
    Biden is a Kinnock fan,

  114. 114 Sunil
    August 29, 2008 at 18:55

    I also have the view that a president’s oratorical speech gives us an idea of how well he can put his point across. The importance here are two fold:-
    (i) it gives us an idea how well he can communicate with his people (i.e. they have an idea of the direction he is taking on policies etcetera),
    (ii) it gives us an idea of how well he can engage with other world leaders (very important in our globalized world)

    In addition, if a president has good oratorical skills, we know he will speak more often with the nation (and pro bably get feedback). I guess President Bush has bad oratorical skills and so stays aways from speeches as much as possible. As a consequence, many Americans have no clue with regards to the decision making process in the White House.

    So oratorical skills are important, in my view.

  115. 115 Scott (M)
    August 29, 2008 at 19:02

    @ Jack,

    You can dance if you want to—or not. I don’t like boxes, but I am an ‘elitist extreme liberal.’ Just so you know!—Cause of your interest in credentials and all. For full disclosure: I will admit I am not an Obama worshiper, if you want to use that to question my objectivity. But, there aren’t many people I advocate for. I left that at the church doors.

  116. 116 Scott (M)
    August 29, 2008 at 19:06

    I guess if a speech causes change it doesn’t mean its great in the positive sense, perhaps a motivational one.

    I know we hate the easy mention of:
    Hitler / but / terrible person / but / the speeches assisted in changing the world.

    Speeches: they can be used for positive change and they can be used for terror.

  117. August 29, 2008 at 19:07

    I believe that William Shakespeare has the final say from Julias Ceasar.”Friends Romans and countrymen lend me your ears”. for me this is magnificent. Obama needs to be less dramatic.

    Linda in France

  118. 118 Bryan
    August 29, 2008 at 19:18

    Jack August 29, 2008 at 6:49 pm,

    I’m not American but why are you blaming George W. Bush for New Orleans? I know the BBC blamed him at the time because it couldn’t be bothered to do the basic research to discover that it was the mayor of New Orleans and the Democratic governor of the state who were primarily responsible for the lack of response to the disaster. That was because of the knee-jerk desire to bash Bush, of course.

    Why spread that incorrect information?

  119. August 29, 2008 at 19:29

    @ Dunkelberg,

    I happen to share your views with Ronald Reagan. His presidency was a little bit like having someone tell you it’s cold when the mercury is rising. The “tax and spend” accusation that Republicans continue to indulge themselves in, simply isn’t supported by the facts. But other than his runaway deficit spending, I don’t see how Reagan’s rhetoric was terribly harmful, in comparison to another talented orator, Adolf Hitler. And likewise, people must learn to have the judgement to know when they’re hearing a call to much needed action (Churchill) or when their being goaded through the use of fear and hate (Hitler).

  120. 120 Bjay
    August 29, 2008 at 19:30

    Lincoln Ditum ’this too shell pass’. Talk front of a fuel pomp – see if the prise will change. However. We do need speechez to keep a hope alive.

  121. 121 Aren
    August 29, 2008 at 19:31

    Obama is a world icon & hero. Barack Obama is inspiration to teens. I feel *proud to suport brk & spk truth. TNT LOV OBAMA 100%

  122. 122 Jo
    August 29, 2008 at 19:32

    An example of a speech that had great influence, albeit contrary to its author’s intentions, is Enoch Powell’s so-called ’Rivers of Blood’ speech. This was meant to open up the debate on immigration, but had the opposite effect of scaring people into silence for fear of being thought racist. Jo in Kent, UK.

  123. 123 Aren
    August 29, 2008 at 19:34

    Blacks in my opinion have a leader that has inspired the world. I’m not black & I’m proud to say I want to be just like him. From Aren, 14 yrs

  124. 124 Paul
    August 29, 2008 at 19:35

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s “Sorry” speech this year historically changed race relations and national identity in Australia – not in how it was said, but simply because it was said.
    Paul from Brisbane

  125. 125 Peter
    August 29, 2008 at 19:36

    Truth is a breakthrough, go ahead Barack Obama and Americans will give you what you deserved.
    Peter Kuol Lual, Juba, S. Sudan.

  126. 126 Rabin
    August 29, 2008 at 19:37

    Speech does not affect Nepal. Can weakest Nepal be the world’s strongest country by late 50? Speech, I think, is only an old and bad key to attract votes

  127. 127 Patrick
    August 29, 2008 at 19:38

    Speech is one thing and action is another. We are used to our lying politicians’ speeches, so we always follow our gut-feeling.
    Patrick, kampala.

  128. 128 Madira
    August 29, 2008 at 19:39

    Barak Obama is the man that the Americans needed, he is the man that the Africans need, he is the man that the people of Middle East and Far east needed.
    Madira Denis from Uganda Arua.

  129. 129 Paul
    August 29, 2008 at 19:40

    Barrak Obama and John McCain are the same. They’re all Americans. They’re all devils – accept one is more devilish than the other. Spin and manipulation is all what American politics is all about.
    Paul Kaela, Zambia

  130. 130 Lovemore
    August 29, 2008 at 19:41

    You wanna listen to inspiring orators? Go to Church!

    Lovemore Nanjaya,

  131. 131 Dut
    August 29, 2008 at 19:41

    John McCain – he is the old man, let him rest his brain. If white American need really, they can vote Obama 4 White House.
    Dut Gak in Rumbek, Sudan.

  132. 132 Alkali
    August 29, 2008 at 19:43

    For America to redeem its name, it needs Obama. He will win great battles without the use of bullets. What the world expects from America is respect of others views and the use of conectivity rather than disconnection. When people feel included and recognised and not being intimidated, there’ll be peace.
    Alkali in Nigeria

  133. 133 Kader
    August 29, 2008 at 19:44

    Words transform into actions and as a leader you must be able to convince and inspire people to do your job.
    Kader in Freetown

  134. 134 Andrew
    August 29, 2008 at 19:45

    Mere speech can’t bring about change for the better because we’ve had such powerful speeches in my country, Nigeria, but without any result.
    Andrew from Nigeria.

  135. 135 Eric
    August 29, 2008 at 19:45

    It really does, because whatever we do was once said before. Speeches really transit the world from dormancy into action. Eric Antwi, Ghana.

  136. 136 Lucy
    August 29, 2008 at 19:46

    To Chris: I can not believe that you felt Obama’s speech was not awe inspiring, Perhaps your TV’s audio was turned down too low. Please be open-minded.

  137. 137 Idriss
    August 29, 2008 at 19:47

    I do believe that speeches do change the world, like one delivered in the 40s by Churchill and in the 60s by Dr King.
    Idriss in Ghana.

  138. 138 Samba
    August 29, 2008 at 19:49

    Ninety per cent of Obama’s appeal are his speeches, so words do matter.
    Samba in Freetown.

  139. 139 J.M. Kariuki
    August 29, 2008 at 19:51

    Speeches from politicians have a great impact on the masses. For example, all that happened in Kenya in January was due to politicians’ utterances.
    J.M. Kariuki, Nairobi, Kenya.

  140. 140 Malick
    August 29, 2008 at 19:52

    It’s easy to focus on Obama’s speech, it’s what he’s the best at. But don’t forget to listen to McCain: nobody expects much, and he has a message. That’s why he’s going to leave us in awe.
    Malick, an American in the Gambia.

  141. 141 Richard
    August 29, 2008 at 19:53

    I don’t know why you are asking that question, but we all know speeches are the only indicator we can use to assess our leaders.
    Richard, Kampala

  142. 142 Paulino
    August 29, 2008 at 19:54

    Obama and McCain all have equal right to become president but the question is who will the interest of American citizens.
    Paulino Ayoljongany

  143. 143 Kamil
    August 29, 2008 at 19:55

    The late Emperor Haileselase of Ethiopia to the League of Nations changed the outcome of Italian aggression.
    Kamil Shafi, from Adwa, Ethiopia.

  144. 144 Jens
    August 29, 2008 at 19:55

    Paul in Zambia,

    You are a right numpty. How can say that all americans are devils. you have never been here and come out with what is a clearly rasist comment. look at your own country an tell me how perfect it is…………

    if you do not have anything but hatred to contribute you better just do not contribute.

  145. 145 Abdulahi
    August 29, 2008 at 19:56

    My perspective towards the US presidential election is that Barack & his vice president will win as they accept their historic Democratic nomination for the White House.
    Abdulahi Madobe, Huddur

  146. 146 Achiek
    August 29, 2008 at 19:58

    I wish Obama should be the next president in US despite his race to unite the whole world and solve the problems of Africa.
    Achiek Mechanic, a Sudanese in Johannesburg, South Africa.

  147. August 29, 2008 at 20:00

    Jasen, thanks for the Vonnegut quote. That’s a good one. Vonnegut falls somewhere a bit below Jesus in the list of people I love. ha ha. Selena, still interested to hear your response to mine regarding the sermon on the mount.

    and Arian Jay, thank you for highlighting that line from the speech. I absolutely agree. My feeling all along has been that this guy genuinely has aspirations much bigger than himself and that he is pushing to make this election about progress and change (I know it’s a cliche, ok.) instead of about himself. I was waiting all night for him to say that exact line, and he did, which was gratifying. Most importantly though, I think he really means and believes it. We have had very few presidents in the last few decades who meant and believed more than a fraction of what they said. This, more than anything, is why I really have some hope about this one.

  148. August 29, 2008 at 20:04


    To answer your question, or rather to make a bit of a correction – in our country we actually do have a number of other ways – voting record in the senate, for one. there are also matters of personal integrity and character that come out along the way – personal details which I think happen to really matter, like one candidate is upper middle class, and the other is uber-rich and more than a little out of touch with the price of a loaf of bread. I think speeches are very important, but they are just one piece of the puzzle we have at our disposal to formulate our choices.

  149. 149 selena in Paris
    August 29, 2008 at 20:04


    What was that? I haven’t been able to read all the posts. Sorry if I missed something.

    Ask again.

  150. August 29, 2008 at 20:04

    Hi Bryan,

    This may come as a shock to you, but I’m neither a Democrat, nor a Republican. My support of Obama isn’t based on his brand name. As a matter of fact, the last time I voted for either of the two parties was in 1996, when I voted for Bob Dole – who I still think would have been a great president, and was, incidently, not a particularly good speaker.

    I honestly wasn’t aware of the BBC blaming of George Walker Bush for the fiasco that followed Katrina. I blame him for the failure of FEMA to act after Katrina because FEMA is under his authority. I assure you, I make it my business to research everything that George W. Bush is accused of – he’s that important to me. But since you brought it up, here’s one of dozens of links that I got from Google a few minutes ago.


    I confess that I haven’t investigated to Louisiana Governor. For all I know, he might be as corrupt as the New Orleans Police Department. But then, I don’t live in Louisiana, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I haven’t kept tabs on their governor. I do, however live in the United States, a place that has been irrevocably shaped (and not for the better), by the man you champion.

    So yes, I bash him. I bash him everytime I pick up the phone, because I know that the NSA is listening in, violating my fourth amendment rights. I bash him in emails and in blogs, exercising what’s left of my first amendment rights. I write my Senators and Representatives, bashing him for violating the sixth through tenth amendments by torturing and holding people for as long as six years that were known not to be enemy combatants, such as Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj.

    And I’ll bash him to you, Bryan because he is the worst President since Andrew Johnson, and frankly, if there were any Democrats other than Kucinich and Feingold who had the courage of their convictions, he would have been impeached and convicted by now.

  151. 151 Thomas Murray
    August 29, 2008 at 20:34

    Just dial up The Churchill Centre and read Churchill’s 4 June 1940 House of Common’s Speech (“We Shall Fight on the Beaches”) to see if a speech can’t change the world. I’m a Yank, and even I remember that one.

    But what Juan Williams (an African-American NPR commentator) said of Obama’s speech was how unmemorable it was. I tried making notes, but parts of it seemed a rhetorical copy of the short documentary they ran before his speech. Though Barack stayed mostly to the the left of the middle, that speech could’ve been given by a Republican. At least it was mercifully under an hour long. Bill Clinton gave speeches like Castro, he’s never learned how to shut up.

    But it wasn’t the speech that was most telling. It was the general mood in the stadium last night.

    Oddly enough, it reminded me of the euphoria met with Richard Nixon’s acceptance speech at the 1968 Republican convention, when Nixon promised to throw off the yoke of the war-mongering Democrats, and find an end to an endless unpopular war.

    I’m going to trundle over to the blog about McCain’s new running mate.

    Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  152. August 29, 2008 at 20:48


    This is what I said earlier:


    That is a little more clear. I don’t entirely disagree, but you are only looking at half of the legacy of the sermon on the mount. The other half is people who took the core of it’s message to heart and have lived by it, serving those with the greatest need and littlest resource. Over the centuries that is the quieter legacy, but with great impact. There is a great book by a Mennonite theologian called the Upside Down Kingdom, the title of which exemplifies the positive impact of the sermon on the mount – a picture of a society where the helpless are honored, where the humble are valued, where the proud and wealthy have to take their turn. It is quite a stretch I think to suggest that the words of the sermon on the mount specifically have led to great violence and bloodshed. Which words, I am curious, particularly in that sermon have been so misconstrued to cause atrocities such as the crusades?

  153. 153 selena in Paris
    August 29, 2008 at 21:00


    The Sermon on the Mount was inspiring, leading to many people following Jesus.

    Like all speeches, and as is evidenced here today, the followers heard different things.

    No sooner had Jesus died than competing visions of his ministry were launched into practice.

    Those competing visions have not been good for the world or its people.

  154. August 29, 2008 at 21:13


    Your comments are extremely general. I of course agree about the competing visions. But to say that the competing visions have not been good for the world or it’s people is broad and a far too simplistic way of discrediting the faith wholesale.

    Your comments were specifically about the sermon on the mount. Could you please point out what in that passage has been widely misinterpreted to cause so much harm?

    Again and again, I am amazed at how people look at the harm that has been done by Christians over the last two millenia and seem to have historic amnesia for all the good. To say “have not been good for the world or its people” is just silly. Devout Christians abolished slavery in England, in the U.S., and the first abolitionist movement? A non-violent conversion of Ireland via Patrick and his missionaries which transformed a culture, including wiping out a centuries practices of slavery and human sacrifice. I could go on and on and on.

    And not that I am interested in pitting Christianity against any other specific ideology, but how do people seem to forget that one of the greatest genocides was perpetrated by Stalin, a communist and atheist? I would challenge you to look at numbers…how many deaths was Stalin responsible for? versus, say the crusades and the Spanish conquistadores? What about Hitler….what ideology did he kill for? He was privately an occultist and a essentially a humanist who employed darwinian logic and experiments? Kmehr Rouge? shall I go on?

    In light of all of these atrocities performed in the name of other ideologies, why is so popular and simple for some people to return to Christianity?

  155. 155 selena in Paris
    August 29, 2008 at 21:27


    This is a discussion so being general seems the only way to go.

    You know, I think the reason people dump on Christianity is because Christianity had so much potential to bring peace to the world.

    There is nothing to fault in the Sermon. Yet some people still manage to see it in terms of us vs them, as in I will love my neighbor as long as he is a carbon copy of me.

  156. 156 Bert
    August 29, 2008 at 21:32

    Speeches only change the world to the extent that art does. They are like a painting, a sculpture, or music. They are window dressing, a nice exterior facade.

    What changes the world is actions, and commendable actions may or may not have been accompanied by a fabulous speech. Conversely, a good speech is no substitute for action. Too often there is no correlation between the two.

    Some folk are clearly more susceptible than others to the intoxicating effects of a good turn of phrase. I find the spectacle of genuflecting, adoring masses to be disturbing. No one deserves that sort of public display. I might argue that it is just that type of groupie behavior that ruins actors and other celebrities. It twists their minds. It makes them believe they really are larger than life.

    One thing though: it will sure be nice not to have to hear “nucular” for another 4 years.

  157. 157 Bryan
    August 29, 2008 at 21:39

    Keith, I couldn’t agree more with your comments. It seems that Christianity is coming under attack these days like never before, except perhaps if you go back to the Romans. I’m not a Christian but I am quite disturbed by these attacks because so often they are wild and irrational and betray a deep bias in those making them.

    Very often the BBC is in the forefront of this onslaught, even propagandising against Christians in its TV dramas. The BBC has a helluvah lot to answer for here.

  158. 158 Bert
    August 29, 2008 at 21:46

    If humans need to create a religion to encourage good behavior in their society, I suppose it’s hard to object to that. Whatever it takes, I’d say. Even good speeches.

    It’s when that creation of theirs becomes detrimental to society, and surely no one needs examples of that these days, that we have to stop and think. An quit mouthing the formula phrases we invented.

  159. 159 Bryan
    August 29, 2008 at 21:50

    selena in Paris August 29, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    There is nothing to fault in the Sermon. Yet some people still manage to see it in terms of us vs them, as in I will love my neighbor as long as he is a carbon copy of me.

    Yes, fine, there are a lot of attempts to convert others to Christianity but what about Christian charity? How many Christians all over the world help others no matter what faith they belong to or whether they belong to no faith at all? Can the same be said about other faiths, and are they even a fraction as generous as Christians in this regard?

  160. 160 Scott (M)
    August 29, 2008 at 22:03

    Even if humans or a culture need-ed to create a religion to control good behaviour. It does not give any merit to the beliefs of the religion—other then it controls behaviour.

  161. 161 Christopher
    August 29, 2008 at 22:05


    You said “Saying that Obama’s speech wasn’t as good as Dr. King’s is like saying the 1984 Mustang [automobile] isn’t as good as the ‘57 Bel Aire. The greatness of Chevy doesn’t make the Mustang a lemon.”

    A strangely apt comment – while a ’57 Bel Aire is roundly considered a classic, a 1984 Mustang was, by all measures, a compete and utter lemon on its own, without comparison to the ’57 Chevy.

    I think you made my point for me, in your own way. Thanks.

  162. 162 Bert
    August 29, 2008 at 22:26

    Achiek, may I offer a different perpective here?

    You said, “I wish Obama should be the next president in US despite his race to unite the whole world and solve the problems of Africa.”

    I would suggest to you that the extent to which American people feel Obama might actually attempt this, i.e. solve all of the problems of Africa (or for that matter, any other parts of the world), that would be the extent to which he would lose the election.

    The majority of Americans don’t want that sort of adventurism undertaken at their expense, meaning not just money but also blood. We saw what happens when this attitude is taken, time and time again. Somalia, during the Clinton Administration, being a perfect case in point. A basically selfless operation, for no particular gain to the US, that no one wants to see repeated.

    “Noblesse oblige” only can go so far. Especially among those who don’t think they should be considered to be “la noblesse.”

  163. August 29, 2008 at 22:36

    @ Bert

    Words lead to action. The “action, not words” argument fails to address the singular reason for civic effeciency: words and hence, literacy. Tribal people were men and women of action and while we can think of people who take action without boasting or debating as “noble,” we can also see why their methods are obsolete. While action is fine in certain situations (e.g. war), words are needed for others (e.g. peace). If words are so useless, why do we have a 535 member legislature? Or ambassadors? We can argue about how persuasive a speech might be, but not about whether or not it leads to action. Indeed, 80,000 of these “genuflecting, adoring masses” took action, and showed up to hear senator Obama speak. Whether or not he was able to persuade them to vote for him remains to be seen.

    I will say that the condescending tone taken by Obama’s critics, referring to those of us who support him as “enchanted” or “intoxicated,” smacks of the puritanical influences which still plague the evangelicals; the same people who burn record albums and books used to hold witch trials, murdering innocent people on the say-so of attention-seeking adolescent girls. Being persuaded by facts that have been apparent for seven years (i.e. that Bush is a lousy president) doesn’t make people “groupies” any more than having a cat, a broom and blonde hair makes a woman a witch. More logically, it means that people have an opinion, which differs from yours, and happens to co-incide one held by someone you don’t like. When we take into account the 2004 alternative, in which voters got so excited about outlawing gay marriage (laws for which already existed in several states) that they ignored Cheney’s WMDs (proven false) and Bush’s war for oil (proven true), I would just say, consider the source of all of this naysaying. Then ask yourself, Bert: who have you been persuaded by?

    As to your other point, I agree. Hopefully, with an emboldened Russia, we can avoid all things “nucular”, eh?

  164. 164 Bert
    August 29, 2008 at 22:54

    Sorry, Jack, but my comments are not partisan. They apply across the board. They apply to the teary-eyed groupies I saw last night, and they apply to those who allowed the WMD rhetoric of 5-6 years ago to make them lose their power of critical thinking. Oh, and that bit about how the US soldiers were going to be greeted like saviors. People should try to develop resistance to this type of intoxication.

    And I also believe that making and keeping peace requires a lot more than words, by the way.

  165. August 29, 2008 at 22:55


    No one is going to argue that Obama’s acceptance speech was better than MLK’s historic speech. I stand by my car analogy, since I own a 1984 Mustang that I restored myself, which runs great. If I had compared Obama to a Corvette Stingray, you would have said I made your point for you there too – “flashy, sporty, youthful” (whatever). It’s semantics. You didn’t like it. I did. Enough said

  166. 166 Christopher
    August 30, 2008 at 00:05


    Sorry, I didn’t mean to dis your wheels – my apo to you. If you’d made your analogy to a more modern car that’s destined to become a timeless classic or already on its way to that status – say, a 2008 Audi R8 – then I might have given it some credence. However, other than what you’ve likely painfully and personally restored by way of an 80’s ‘stang, most would regard that model as one that will, over time, become forgettable, then forgotten. If Obama loses this election, so will he.

  167. August 30, 2008 at 00:14

    If speeches don’t mean anything, and make one think, we will be back to the age of our speechless ancestors. On the other hand if the speakers make speeches which don’t make sense or better sense to what exists there is no way to judge Leaders. Me thinks Barack Obama is making the right speeches but whether he will win votes will be known soon enough.

  168. 168 Jack
    August 30, 2008 at 00:22

    @ Bert,

    I never referred to you as partisan, but I’m getting a little sick of your condescension. Your argument that anyone who disagrees with you is some dough-eyed kid is the same type of strategy that the GOP has employed throughout this race – and the two which preceded it. So whether or not you’re a supporter of Karl Rove, from where I’m sitting you two sure look alike.

  169. 169 Jack
    August 30, 2008 at 00:36

    @ Christopher,

    You assume I’m predicting that this speech will go down in history. That would require tragedy. Lincoln, MLK and Kennedy were all assassinated, hence their words take on greater meaning, since they were killed for their message. My predictions for Senator Obama are either A) he’ll win; or B) he’ll lose.

    What everyone will want to forget, whether you favor the Fords or the Chevies or some German car that you think is all that and a bag of fat-free chips, are the past eight years.

    It’s my understanding that John McCain forgot something pretty important – like vetting his veep.

    Have a nice Labor Day.

  170. 170 Bert
    August 30, 2008 at 00:47

    Or, instead of trying to read into what I write things that I am not saying, you might try to respond to the points themselves.

    Public adoration twists the minds of celebrities, yes, or no? I think yes. Makes them feel bigger than life.

    Speeches themselves do nothing, except at very best to inspire people into action. I think that’s obviously true.

    Yes, I happen to feel my skin crawl at the spectacle. So what?

    You don’t have to agree with me. Just don’t change what I say by pigeon-holing me into some convenient category. What does Karl Rove have to do with anything I said?

  171. 171 Vijay
    August 30, 2008 at 03:55

    You are wrong,neither the debate about immigration nor the legislation regarding immigration stopped due to Powells speech.
    The debate has become more virulent since 9/11.

  172. 172 prakash
    August 30, 2008 at 06:23

    he is great. he can change the status of US in the world arena.he has shown that anything can be achieved if yuo have a vision in you.

  173. 173 parth guragain
    August 30, 2008 at 09:54

    no only speeches can’t change the world.firstly i want to give example of my country nepal only.here in Nepal leaders are champion in giving speech.these speeches are i think generally prepared by other people so they doesn’t know how to implement those ideas.another example is bihar in india.people selected from bihar are the kingmakers in india.life of any government in centre depends on decisions taken by parlamatirian of this state.they generally give long speeches on how to improve lifestandard of people leaving in their region but look at the situation on ground of people living in bihar.Bihar now is experiencing gretest flood of recent times leaders of this state are giving long speeches but not taking concreat steps to relive anxiety of people.so it is not the speech that matters.but it is political will which matters.it is the political will and love of nation which make leaders great not the speech.

  174. 174 Shakhoor Rehman
    August 30, 2008 at 11:17

    Its easy to over-intellectualise the importance of speeches. All they are is a summation of a policy or policies arrived at. They are important because they are a summation, a distillation of policy/policies. What is of much greater importance is how those policies are arrived at and who the prime movers are. That is also the area of policy-making which is most cloaked in secrecy.

  175. 175 Syed Hasan Turab
    August 30, 2008 at 21:34

    Speeches help out to transform concerned political society, award guideline & pattren to political workers along with a base towards practical approach to tackle the political agenda to understand the crises.
    During all Democrates convention only “HILLRY” been recognised as best speaker with complete command, control, coverage & motivation. I couldn’t believe she got that much talent, she really deliver historic speech in US political society I am really impress from her talent & controll over subject.
    If US political culture produce few more talents like Hillry Us will really suceed in all sectors.

  176. August 31, 2008 at 11:12

    The main aim of the poet, according to W.H. Auden, is to contribute to the life of a future age. I like this view because I often wonder if my poetry will contribute much at all to this age, these epochs. Frances Quarles in the seventeenth century saw his soul as a looker-on, a looker-on who should not judge the play and its many changes, its many scenes, until the play was done. My poetry, I think, needs the perspective of my final hour.

    And, finally, the famous John Milton stated in bold and simple language that God did not need man’s work nor his gifts: ‘they often serve who only stand and wait.’ I’ve done a lot of that, though when I do go somewhere it is not with that same punctuality as my father. Still, I serve. As the great art historian E.H. Gombrich who died recently wrote, this ‘serving’ the main purpose of the artist.

    I take the externalities of life where I find them and bring them into my inner life and, hopefully, my readers’. I process these externalities in my own artistic alchemy, in what Carl Jung calls “the golden gleam of artistic creation.” The truths of life, of fact, of the everyday, are transformed, not into fiction as some critics and theorists of autobiographical poetry would have it, but into cultural constructs, dramatic expressions of identity formation, self-and-world-definition. The world and myself are processed through the sieve, the truth-telling endeavour that is autobiographical poetry. This sieve, these thousands of poems that I have written, produce a person who as Proust once wrote is le moi profond, someone who is both me and not me, not just the person in everyday life, but someone quite other.

    There is no one-to-one correspondence between the person in the poem and the quotidian self. There is some mysterious add-on factor. It is a supersensitive reality this work of art; it does not copy life. It uses life in both the concrete and abstract thought forms and produces a hybrid called art, in this case my autobiographical poetry. This is also true of speeches.-Ron Price, Tasmania

  177. 177 Ogola Benard
    August 31, 2008 at 15:21

    A speech is a definition of the Author!
    Indifference or not, it changes the world.
    A speech defines somebody,its meaning and the philosophy in it.why has it been made? what is its weight? and the speech itself. God bless!

  178. 178 Licinia
    August 31, 2008 at 16:37

    Speeches don’t change the world, but they can change people. The thing about great speeches is that they can motivate people, change people’s opinions, and inspire action. Obama is inspiring the people of America to ask for change, as Martin Luther King inspired people to fight for civil rights. Rhetoric has a grand tradition of shaping events, going right back to the start of democratic politics in ancient Athens.

  179. September 1, 2008 at 11:43

    People who, especially in politics speak a lot containing too many promises seldom fulfill, rather some of them ultimately smilingly say, “What a sort of promise, which is fulfilled!”

    So, the more promises, the more chances of bluffing the voters during elections mainly.

  180. 180 CarlosK
    September 1, 2008 at 16:02

    Hi All,

    Yes speeches can change the world. In 2004 Barck Obama’s speech brought him to the attention of wider America. And America has never been the same again because hope was restored (to America) and the world.

    His speech last Thursday was a masterpiece. It gave me goose pimples. I wanted to cry and I only read it.

    Barack Obama does not only speechify. He has substance and talk. And what a wonderful combination! What a gift God has given to America in the person of Barack Obama. I hope and pray that America will elect him as president and thereby restore its damage reputation.

    It America does not want Barack Obama, please send him to Jamaica. We’re in dire need of patriotic politians. Politicians with talk and substance!

    Yours truly,
    Carlos King, Kingston- Jamaica.

  181. September 1, 2008 at 17:03

    The ability to, and access to good speeches is one of the fundamental pillars upon which political campaign is buit. politics is different from agricultural science as disciplines, as such, sophistry and glibness are the elementary tools for politics and its campaign. Obama has through his speech indicated that he knows politics. one cannot claim to be a politician when he or she could hardly command acceptance in a public debate. the ability to convince, through words is expected in any political campaign, and on this, Obama has scored 100%. the next thing is administration and governance which i think is central to the management of people and resources. he has the word that made inroad that he is aware and capable.

  182. 182 John LaGrua/New York
    September 1, 2008 at 20:26

    Great orators over the millednia have had enormous influence on public opinion ,often gaining favor for the speaker.Obama’s speach was well crafted and may persuaded some undecided to rally to him.Think of Lincoln ,Roosevelt ,Churchill who inspired the world and continue to do so.Cicero and Pericles still potent .I am waitng for some one in this interminable campaign to offer the people “Blood ,sweat and tears ,an honest call to sacrifice that the US may restyore it’s honored position among nations. To continue to promise a new route to milk and honey will end in the ashes of diappointment

  183. 183 Nana Essel (Ghana)
    September 2, 2008 at 12:17

    To me almost all great leaders of this world are great orators and Barrack Obama is not an exception and that is my point of view. But we shouldnt forget that speeches are different from actions
    Some people are great orators but not great and good in actions.

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