You know sometimes it is like Obama’s words are a balm for the soul.
After this last few weeks, I really needed to hear something inspirational today.
Here are some of the important excerpts courtesy of New York Magazine:
On political whiplash:
“In the strange and uncertain times that we are in — and they are strange, and they are uncertain, with each day’s news cycles bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines — I thought maybe it would be useful to step back for a moment and try to get some perspective, so I hope you’ll indulge me.”
On post-truth politics:
“People just make stuff up. They just make stuff up. We see it in the growth of state-sponsored propaganda. We see it in internet fabrications. We see it in the blurring of lines between news and entertainment. We see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more. It used to be that if you caught them lying, they’d be like, oh man — now they just keep on lying.
“You have to believe in facts. Without facts there’s no basis for cooperation. If I say this is a podium and you say this is an elephant, it’s going to be hard for us to cooperate.”
“Countries that rely on xenophobia — eventually those countries find themselves consumed by civil war or an outside war. Check the history books. History shows how easily people can be convinced to turn on those who are different.”
On the rise of strongmen around the world:
“The politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment began to appear. And that kind of politics is now on the move. It’s on the move at a pace that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago.
I am not being alarmist, I’m simply stating the facts. Look around — strongman politics are ascendant, suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it, where those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.”
On the arc of history:
“It’s tempting right now to give in to cynicism. To believe that recent shifts in global politics are too powerful to push back. That the pendulum has swung permanently. Just as people spoke about the triumph of democracy in the ‘90s, now you’re hearing people talk about the end of democracy and the triumph of tribalism and the strongman. We have to resist that cynicism. Because we’ve been through darker times.”
Damn, did I need that!
It is almost impossible to believe that we once got to hear him speak all of the time.
And when he spoke he spoke for America, and we were filled with pride.
So much has changed, and none of it for the better.
But we were once led by greatness, and hopefully, we will be once again.