America's Capacity for Change

I stayed the weekend at a monastery once where I learned the value of meaning by the absence of inflection. Seating in the refectory, a monk (hidden from sight) began reading from a sacred text in monotone. I am not catholic so I did not comprehend many of the rituals, for example, no one told me 'why' the monk remained out of view and why he read in monotone but I assumed it was because too much interpretation (and misunderstanding) is based upon a speaker's inflection, tone, posture, eye contact, emphasis, and nuances of stressed locution.

Since George W. Bush, I have made a habit of reading Presidential speeches as opposed to watching them via video or reading the headlines (where the interpretation is generally made for you). Reading President Obama's remarks on Ferguson I was struck by this statement:

We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades. I’ve witnessed that in my own life, and to deny that progress I think is to deny America’s capacity for change.

- President Obama's Remarks on Ferguson (transcript via The Washington Post)