Former President Barack Obama spoke at the University of Illinois on Friday, accepting the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government from the U. of I. system’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs – and announcing his entry into the midterm election fray.
I’m here today because this is one of those pivotal moments when every one of us as citizens of the United States need to determine just who it is that we are. Just what it is that we stand for. And as a fellow citizen — not as an ex-president, but as a fellow citizen — I’m here to deliver a simple message, and that is that you need to vote because our democracy depends on it. […]
Look at this crop of Democratic candidates running for Congress and governor, running for the state legislature, running for district attorney, running for school board. It is a movement of citizens who happen to be younger and more diverse and more female than ever before, and that’s really useful. We need more women in charge. But we have first-time candidates. We have veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Record numbers of women. Americans who have previously maybe didn’t have an interest in politics as a career but laced up their shoes and rolled up their sleeves and grabbed a clipboard because they, too, believe this time’s different. This moment’s too important to sit out.
And if you listen to what these candidates are talking about in individual races across the country, you’ll find they’re not just running against something, they’re running for something. They’re running to expand opportunity and running to restore the honor to public service. And speaking as a Democrat, that’s when the Democratic party has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people. When we led with conviction and principle and bold new ideas. The antidote to a government controlled by a powerful few, a government that divides is a government by the organized, energized, inclusive many. That’s what this moment’s about. That has to be the answer.
President Barack Obama spoke in South Africa commemorating the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth at the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.
His speech was uplifting even as it warned of the challenges to our world from strongmen and the hatred and division they embrace.
From Time videos:
President Obama with his message of hope (which was also Mandela’s):
Madiba reminds us that: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart.” Love comes more naturally to the human heart, let’s remember that truth. Let’s see it as our North Star, let’s be joyful in our struggle to make that truth manifest here on earth so that in 100 years from now, future generations will look back and say, ‘they kept the march going, that’s why we live under new banners of freedom.’ “
The day set aside to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday is a good day to reflect on the power of resistance, the power of peaceful demonstration, the power of We The People insisting that our government reflects our values and addresses our needs.
Last year, the Holiday Proclamation was written and signed by President Barack Obama, the first black president, and was marked with a speech by then Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the first black woman attorney general.
Today is about them – and tomorrow will be about them and every tomorrow will be about them until that day when our government once again reflects the values of her citizens.
On August 28, 1963 a quarter of a million people gathered to support civil rights, and share Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality.
We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.[…]
With [our] faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
Full transcript below along with a video of John Lewis, President Barack Obama’s presidential proclamation for the final Martin Luther King Day holiday of his presidency, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s speech in Birmingham.
By NASA/International Space Station () [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve only experienced one hurricane in my life; Hurricane Gloria in 1985, when I was living in Portsmouth, RI on Aquidneck Island. As a native Midwesterner, I had no idea what to expect, and so I hunkered down with my dogs gathered round me and waited. I distinctly remember my reaction when we were in the eye. I found myself breathing again, even when I knew there was more to come. (We were lucky. Gloria hit during low tide, and the island did not sustain much damage as compared to other areas of Rhode Island and New England.)
Today I want to celebrate the good we see around us. I do not want to minimize what is happening in TX and LA; nor am I suggesting that 45*s idiocy can be ignored. But August recess is almost over, and the need for daily/weekly calls to our reps will be essential once again. We are more aware than ever of the need to confront racism and sexism in all its forms, and there will be ongoing calls for support as Harvey moves on and the rebuilding begins. We’re far from out of the storm, but today, let’s create and enjoy a brief breathing space.
“Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.
I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.”
President Obama travels to the College of Charleston in South Carolina to deliver a eulogy for Reverend Clement Pinckney and 8 other congregation members of Emanuel AME who were killed on June 17, 2015. June 26, 2015.
Over the course of centuries, black churches served as “hush harbors” where slaves could worship in safety; praise houses where their free descendants could gather and shout hallelujah — rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad; bunkers for the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. They have been, and continue to be, community centers where we organize for jobs and justice; places of scholarship and network; places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm’s way, and told that they are beautiful and smart — and taught that they matter. That’s what happens in church.
That’s what the black church means. Our beating heart. The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate. When there’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel — a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founder sought to end slavery, only to rise up again, a Phoenix from these ashes.
On the Confederate flag and its removal:
For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.
Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong — the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. […]
For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.
On the work ahead:
… it would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again. Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual — that’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society. To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change — that’s how we lose our way again.
On February 10, 2007, United States Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) announced his candidacy for president of the United States. On a cold day in Springfield IL, near the statehouse that he and Abraham Lincoln both served in, he addressed the gathered crowd.
This campaign can’t only be about me. It must be about us – it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice – to push us forward when we’re doing right, and to let us know when we’re not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of citizenship, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.
By ourselves, this change will not happen. Divided, we are bound to fail. […]
I’m in this race [not] just to hold an office, but to gather with you to transform a nation.
I want to win that next battle – for justice and opportunity.
I want to win that next battle – for better schools, and better jobs, and health care for all.
I want us to take up the unfinished business of perfecting our union, and building a better America.
Morning meese…I know I haven’t been around much and plan on fixing that here shortly. I guess I’ve taken my getting axed from that place where the sun only seems to rise for the purists a little harder than expected. So as long as everyone bears with me for a little longer you’ll see more of my obstinate and sunny personality.
We knew coming into this mess that has been created by bigotry,misogyny,racism,lackadaisicalness, and stupidity, from the electorate as a whole and the untrustworthy of those on the left that voted for someone of the caliber of Jill Stein who stated Tuesday…”Why would we have a tie on such an egregious nominee? Because Democrats serve corporate interests”, that it was going to be an up hill battle. Well yesterday was a VERY bright spot in our stopping Dump and his agenda of divisiveness.
So since I fought this format for a week you all are getting a smorgasbord, which when it comes down to it isn’t any different than I always do…lol…and as always I’ll end up with the woman that brought us all together…Thanks…Love ya all!
@ananavarro Ryan and the GOP are enabling/using a maniac to enact their political agenda. May God forgive them, because I never will.
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We want to hear from you. Send us your ideas, your hopes, your beliefs about what we can achieve together. This will be your Foundation just as much as it is ours, so share your voice at obama.org.