Wednesday, January 13, 2016
What Obama Got Right
What Obama got right (quoted from his final State of the Union speech)...
"We live in a time of extraordinary change -- change that’s reshaping the way we live, the way we work, our planet, our place in the world. It’s change that promises amazing medical breakthroughs, but also economic disruptions that strain working families. It promises education for girls in the most remote villages, but also connects terrorists plotting an ocean away. It’s change that can broaden opportunity, or widen inequality. And whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate.
America has been through big changes before -- wars and depression, the influx of new immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, movements to expand civil rights. Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change; who promised to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears. We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the “dogmas of the quiet past.” Instead we thought anew, and acted anew. We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more people. And because we did -- because we saw opportunity where others saw only peril -- we emerged stronger and better than before.
What was true then can be true now. Our unique strengths as a nation -- our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery, our diversity, our commitment to rule of law -- these things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come.
In fact, it’s that spirit that made the progress of these past seven years possible. It’s how we recovered from the worst economic crisis in generations. It’s how we reformed our health care system, and reinvented our energy sector; how we delivered more care and benefits to our troops and veterans, and how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love.
But such progress is not inevitable. It’s the result of choices we make together. And we face such choices right now. Will we respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, turning against each other as a people? Or will we face the future with confidence in who we are, in what we stand for, in the incredible things that we can do together?"
We need to choose to unite, not divide. Disagree with grace, not bitterness. If we engage in rants and spouting off (and this is human, it happens, it's okay to a degree), let us acknowledge the difference between blowing off steam and making actual false claims and not backing down from false claims.
"Obama is trying to destroy our military! Liberals hate the US! Conservatives are Nazis!" these are rants. As a rant, as blowing off steam, that's fine if overly harsh. But to make these as a claim, well, they are false claims and we need to choose to abandon false witness and slander.
While I disagreed strongly with Reagan on a large number of his policies, he was a positive man who projected a promising future and noted that our strengths lie in our ideals, just as Obama was pushing last night. Let us abandon fear and divisiveness and live in the strength and comfort of our better ideals... ideals about human liberty, religious freedom (ie, the freedom to make your own choices of moral conscience, not the "freedom" to impose those beliefs on others) for all.
Our dear conservative family and neighbors are not the enemy. Our beloved liberal family and neighbors are not the enemy. Our Baptist, pagan, Muslim, Jewish, gay, lesbian, transgender, Catholic neighbors are not the enemy. We will disagree on implementation of our ideals, but that disagreement does not make them the enemy. Let us choose to work on the great progress we have made in our nation and do so together, as neighbors.