First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the DNCC Monday night. She spoke of her time in the White House, role models, and history. And she made the case for Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States.
Barack and I [know] that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls but the children across this country. Kids who say, “I saw you on TV,” “I wrote the report on you for school.” Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wide with hope, and he wondered, Is my hair like yours?
Make no mistake about it, this November, when we get to the polls, that is what we are deciding. Not Democrat or Republican, not left or right. In this election, and every election, it is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives. I am here tonight because in this election, there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States, and that is our friend Hillary Clinton.
… as my daughters set out on the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader worthy of my girls’ promise and all of our kids’ promise. A leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.
President Obama spoke to the 2016 graduating class at Howard University on Saturday in what will likely be considered one of his most significant speeches. It was a call to not only the Howard graduates but to all young people in America to embrace these times and work to advance small d democracy.
President Obama on effecting change:
… change requires more than just speaking out — it requires listening, as well. In particular, it requires listening to those with whom you disagree, and being prepared to compromise. […]
The point is, you need allies in a democracy. That’s just the way it is. It can be frustrating and it can be slow. But history teaches us that the alternative to democracy is always worse. That’s not just true in this country. It’s not a black or white thing. Go to any country where the give and take of democracy has been repealed by one-party rule, and I will show you a country that does not work.
And democracy requires compromise, even when you are 100 percent right. This is hard to explain sometimes. You can be completely right, and you still are going to have to engage folks who disagree with you. If you think that the only way forward is to be as uncompromising as possible, you will feel good about yourself, you will enjoy a certain moral purity, but you’re not going to get what you want. And if you don’t get what you want long enough, you will eventually think the whole system is rigged. And that will lead to more cynicism, and less participation, and a downward spiral of more injustice and more anger and more despair. And that’s never been the source of our progress. That’s how we cheat ourselves of progress. […]
Change isn’t something that happens every four years or eight years; change is not placing your faith in any particular politician and then just putting your feet up and saying, okay, go. Change is the effort of committed citizens who hitch their wagons to something bigger than themselves and fight for it every single day.
President Obama on voting:
… your plan better include voting — not just some of the time, but all the time. It is absolutely true that 50 years after the Voting Rights Act, there are still too many barriers in this country to vote. There are too many people trying to erect new barriers to voting. This is the only advanced democracy on Earth that goes out of its way to make it difficult for people to vote. And there’s a reason for that. There’s a legacy to that.
But let me say this: Even if we dismantled every barrier to voting, that alone would not change the fact that America has some of the lowest voting rates in the free world. In 2014, only 36 percent of Americans turned out to vote in the midterms — the second lowest participation rate on record. Youth turnout — that would be you — was less than 20 percent. Less than 20 percent. Four out of five did not vote. In 2012, nearly two in three African Americans turned out. And then, in 2014, only two in five turned out. You don’t think that made a difference in terms of the Congress I’ve got to deal with? And then people are wondering, well, how come Obama hasn’t gotten this done? How come he didn’t get that done? You don’t think that made a difference? What would have happened if you had turned out at 50, 60, 70 percent, all across this country? People try to make this political thing really complicated. Like, what kind of reforms do we need? And how do we need to do that? You know what, just vote. It’s math. If you have more votes than the other guy, you get to do what you want. (Laughter.) It’s not that complicated.
And you don’t have excuses. You don’t have to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap to register to vote. You don’t have to risk your life to cast a ballot. Other people already did that for you. (Applause.) Your grandparents, your great grandparents might be here today if they were working on it. What’s your excuse? When we don’t vote, we give away our power, disenfranchise ourselves — right when we need to use the power that we have; right when we need your power to stop others from taking away the vote and rights of those more vulnerable than you are — the elderly and the poor, the formerly incarcerated trying to earn their second chance.
So you got to vote all the time, not just when it’s cool, not just when it’s time to elect a President, not just when you’re inspired.
The law office of Reed, Wright, Pray & Singh was in a quandary: not from lack of business, which was in fact burgeoning, but from lack of help.
The simple fact was that the young, the middle-aged, and the early elderly had been promised free, safe passage to Luna City, the new moon colony, so there was no one left to perform the support tasks of a law office.
“Free passage to the moon, free apartments for life, a $50,000 signing bonus—how can we compete with that?” Arthur Reed, the senior partner, asked in a morning meeting of the firm’s partners. He was grumpy from pulling an all-nighter to prepare a legal brief.
“We can’t. We’ll have to rely on a temp service. Surely they have people who can staff our office,” Ronald Wright said.
Lettice Pray nodded agreement and drank the rest of her coffee; Kuldip Singh looked at the others and said, “I will contact the agency this very morning to get the people we need.”
However, in the conference room at lunchtime he reported that his efforts had failed. “There is no one, but no one, available,” he said. “Everyone’s gone to the moon.”
Pray looked up from her peanut butter-and-banana on whole wheat and said, “I have an idea. No, I’m not going to tell you what it is until I’ve sounded out the parties concerned. However, if I’m successful we may have the solution to our problem.”
President Obama spoke at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Baltimore Maryland on Thursday.
Tonight, I have an announcement to make about the presidential race: Democrats will win in November and we will have a Democratic President succeeding me. Just in case there’s any confusion about that. (Applause.)
And the reason I can say that with confidence is because we focus on the things that matter in the lives of the American people.
… we believe that our politics should reflect what’s best in us. You know, I’m not going to claim Democrats are perfect. I’m not going to claim that we’re right on every single issue, or we have a monopoly on wisdom. But I do know that we hold ourselves to a higher standard. We know that we’ve got to do better. We believe that there are structural problems in our democracy that we can fix; that there’s too much money in our politics; that a true democracy doesn’t try to discourage people from voting but, in fact, tries to encourage people from voting and participating and making sure their voice is heard. (Applause.)
Because we believe that every vote, and every voice matters — whether it’s black or white, or Hispanic or Asian, or Native American, gay, straight, people with disabilities. That everybody’s voice matters. Everybody’s voice counts. That’s what we fought for. That’s why John Lewis is sitting here today. (Applause.)
We believe that no matter who you are, where you got your start, what your first name — what your last name is, what zip code you were born in, that you deserve a shot, an opportunity, and success. That’s what we believe. And we believe, yes, that government has a role to play in making that happen, to giving a hand up to people. If we stay true to those principles, our party is not just going to have a good year — America will have a good year. And we’ll have more good years after that, and we’ll build for future generations to come.
The Obama Coalition … built for our future … and to endure for many generations to come.