Barack Obama in The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama

On Abortion: Constitution is a living document; no strict constructionism

When we get in a tussle, we appeal to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution’s ratifiers to give direction. Some, like Justice Scalia, conclude that the original understanding must be followed and if we obey this rule, democracy is respected.

Others, like Justice Breyer, insist that sometimes the original understanding can take you only so far--that on the truly big arguments, we have to take context, history, and the practical outcomes of a decision into account.

I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution--that it is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.

I see democracy as a conversation to be had. According to this conception, the genius of Madison’s design is not that it provides a fixed blueprint for action. It provides us with a framework and rules, but all its machinery are designed to force us into a conversation.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 89-92 Oct 1, 2006

On Abortion: Extend presumption of good faith to abortion protesters

[An abortion protester at a campaign event] handed me a pamphlet. “Mr. Obama, I know you’re a Christian, with a family of your own. So how can you support murdering babies?”

I told him I understood his position but had to disagree with it. I explained my belief that few women made the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman felt the full force of the moral issues involved when making that decision; that I feared a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country. I suggested that perhaps we could agree on ways to reduce the number of women who felt the need to have abortions in the first place.

“I will pray for you,” the protester said. “I pray that you have a change of heart.” Neither my mind nor my heart changed that day, nor did they in the days to come. But that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own-that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that had been extended to me.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.197-8 Oct 1, 2006

On Budget & Economy: Return to PayGo: compensate for all new spending

We were told by our President that we could fight two wars, increase our military budget by 74%, spend more on education, initiate a prescription drug plan, have tax cuts, all at the same time. We were told by Congress that they could make up for lost revenue by cutting government waste.

The result is the most precarious budget situation we have seen in years. We now have an annual budget deficit of almost $300 billion, not counting more than $180 billion we borrow every year from the Social Security Trust Fund.

It is not the debt that is most troubling. The bulk of the debt is a direct result of the President’s tax cuts, 47.4% of which went to the top 5% income bracket.

We can eliminate tax credits that have outlived their usefulness & close loopholes that let corporations get away without paying taxes. We can restore a law that was in place during the Clinton presidency--called Paygo--that prohibits money from leaving the treasury without some way of compensating for the lost revenue.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.187-189 Oct 1, 2006

On Civil Rights: Opposes gay marriage; supports civil union & gay equality

For many practicing Christians, the inability to compromise may apply to gay marriage. I find such a position troublesome, particularly in a society in which Christian men and women have been known to engage in adultery or other violations of their faith without civil penalty. I believe that American society can choose to carve out a special place for the union of a man and a woman as the unit of child rearing most common to every culture. I am not willing to have the state deny American citizens a civil union that confers equivalent rights no such basic matters as hospital visitation or health insurance coverage simlpy because the people they love are of the same sex--nor am I willing to accept a readingof the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount.

The heightened focus on marriage is a distraction from other, attainable measures to prevent discrimination and gays and lesbians.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.222-3 Oct 1, 2006

On Civil Rights: No black or white America--just United States of America

A line in my speech at the 04 Democratic National Convention struck a chord. “There is not a black American and white American and Latino America and Asian American--there is the United States of America.” For them, it seems to capture a vision of America finally freed from the past of Jim Crow and slavery, Japanese internment camps and Mexican braceros, workplace tensions and cultural conflict--an America that fulfills Dr. King’s promise that we be judged not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character.

I have no choice but to believe this vision. As the child of a black man and white woman, born in the melting pot of Hawaii, with a sister who is half-Indonesian, but who is usually mistaken for Mexican, and a brother-in-law and niece of Chinese descent, with some relatives who resemble Margaret Thatcher and others who could pass for Bernie Mac, I never had the option of restricting my loyalties on the basis of race or measuring my worth on the basis of tribe.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.231 Oct 1, 2006

On Crime: Videotape all capital punishment interrogations

In the Illinois Senate, I sponsored a bill to require videotaping of interrogations and confessions in capital cases [after the] governor had instituted a moratorium on al executions.

In negotiating the bill, I talked about the common value that I believed everyone shared--that no innocent person should end up on death row, abd that no person guilty of a capital offense should go free. At the end of the process, the bill had the support of all the parties involved, and it passed unanimously.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 57-59 Oct 1, 2006

On Crime: Some heinous crimes justify the ultimate punishment

While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes--mass murder, the rape and murder of a child--so heinous that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment. On the other hand, the way capital cases were tried in Illinois at the time was so rife with error, questionable police tactics, racial bias, and shoddy lawyering, that 13 death row inmates had been exonerated
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 58 Oct 1, 2006

On Drugs: Deal with street-level drug dealing as minimum-wage affair

We need to tackle the nexus of unemployment and crime in the inner city. The conventional wisdom is that most unemployed inner-city men could find jobs if they really wanted to work; that they inevitably prefer drug dealing, with its attendant risks but potential profits, to the low-paying jobs that their lack of skill warrants. In fact, economists who’ve studied the issue--and the young men whose fates are at stake--will tell you that the costs and benefits of the street life don’t match the popular mythology: At the bottom or even the middle ranks of the industry, drug dealing is a minimum-wage affair. For many inner-city men, what prevents gainful employment is not simply the absence of motivation to get off the streets but the absence of a job history or any marketable skills--and, increasingly, the stigma of a prison record.

We can assume that with lawful work available for young men now in the drug trade, crime in any community would drop.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.257-259 Oct 1, 2006

On Education: Public school system status quo is indefensible

We know that global competition requires us to revamp our educational system, replenish our teaching corps, buckle down on math and science instruction, and rescue inner-city kids from illiteracy. Our debate seems stuck between those who want to dismantle the system and those who would defend an indefensible status quo, between those who say money makes no difference in education and those who want more money without any demonstration that it will be put to good use.
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 22 Oct 1, 2006

On Education: More teacher pay in exchange for more teacher accountability

Conservatives argue that the problems in schools are caused by bureaucracies and teachers’ unions; and that the only solution is to hand out vouchers. Those on the left find themselves defending an indefensible status quo, insisting that more spending will improve education.

Both assumptions are wrong. Money does matter in education. But there is no denying that the way many public schools are managed poses at least as big a problem as how well they’re funded.

Our task is to identify those reforms that have the highest impact on achievement, fund them, and eliminate those programs that don’t produce results. We are going to have to take the teaching profession seriously. This means paying teachers what they are worth. There is no reason why an experienced, highly qualified teacher shouldn’t earn $100,000. In exchange for more money, teachers need to become more accountable for their performances, and school districts need to have greater ability to get rid of ineffective teachers.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.161-163 Oct 1, 2006

On Energy & Oil: We cannot drill our way out of our addiction to oil

It is hard to overstate the degree to which our addiction to oil undermines our future. Without any change to energy policy, US demand for oil will jump 40% in 20 years. Over the same period, worldwide demand will jump 30%.

A large portion of the $800 million we spend on foreign oil every day goes to some of the world’s most volatile regimes. And there are the environmental consequences. Just about every scientist outside the White House believes climate change is real.

We cannot drill our way out of the problem. Instead of subsidizing the oil industry, we should end every single tax break the industry currently receives and demand that 1% of the revenues from oil companies with over $1 billion in quarterly profits go toward financing alternative energy research and infrastructure.

Over the last 30 years, countries like Brazil have used a mix of regulation and direct government investment to develop a biofuel industry; 70% of its new vehicles run on sugar-based ethanol.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.167-169 Oct 1, 2006

On Families & Children: Listening to evangelicals bridges major political fault line

Today, white evangelical Christians are the heart and soul of the Republican Party’s grassroots base. It is their issues-abortion, gay marriage, prayer in schools, intelligent design, Terri Schiavo, the posting of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, home schooling, voucher plans, and the makeup of the Supreme Court-that often dominate the headlines and serve as one of the major fault lines in American politics. The single biggest gap in party affiliation is between those who attend church regularly and those who don’t. Democrats, meanwhile, are scrambling to “get religion,” even as a core segment of our constituency remains stubbornly secular, and fears that the agenda of an assertively Christian nation may not make room for them or their life choices.

The evangelists’ success points to a hunger for the product they are selling, a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause. They need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.201-2 Oct 1, 2006

On Government Reform: Filibuster has long tradition, but used to harm civil rights

Throughout the Senate’s modern history, the filibuster has been a guarded prerogative, one of the distinguishing features that separates the Senate from the House and serves as a firewall against the dangers of majority overreach.

There is another, grimmer history to the filibuster, one that carries special relevance for me. For almost a century, the filibuster was the South’s weapon of choice in its efforts to protect Jim Crow from federal interference, the blockade that effectively gutted the 14t & 15th Amendments. Decade after decade, courtly, erudite men like Senator Richard B. Russell of Georgia used the filibuster to choke off any and every piece of civil rights legislation before the Senate, whether voting rights bills, or fair employment bills, or anti-lynching bills. With words, with rules, with procedures & precedents--with law--Southern senators had succeeded in perpetuating black subjugation in ways that mere violence never could. For many blacks, the filibuster had snuffed out hope.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 81 Oct 1, 2006

On Government Reform: Lobbyist influence comes from access, not money

Few lobbyists proffer an explicit quid pro quo to elected officials. Their influence comes from having more access than the average voter, having better information, and more staying power when it comes to promoting an obscure provision in the tax code that means billions for their clients.

For most politicians, money is not about maintaining status and power. It is about scaring off challengers and fighting off the fear. Money cannot guarantee a victory, but without money, you are pretty much guaranteed to lose.

When I decided to run for the Senate, I found myself spending time with people of means. As a rule, they were smart, interesting people, expecting nothing more than a hearing of their opinions in exchange for their checks. But they reflected, almost uniformly, the perspectives of their class.

I became more like the wealthy donors I met, in the sense that I spent more time above the fray, outside the world of hardship of the people that I had entered public life to serve.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.109-115 Oct 1, 2006

On Gun Control: Keep guns out of inner cities--but also problem of morality

I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manfuacturer’s lobby. But I also believe that when a gangbanger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels someone disrespected him, we have a problem of morality. Not only do ew need to punish thatman for his crime, but we need to acknowledge that there’s a hole in his heart, one that government programs alone may not be able to repair.
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.215 Oct 1, 2006

On Health Care: Healthcare system is broken without lifetime employment

Our health-care system is broken: expensive, inefficient, and poorly adapted to an economy no longer built on lifetime employment, a system that exposes Americans to insecurity and possible destitution. But year after year, ideology and political gamesmanship result in inaction, except for 2003, when we got a prescription drug bill that managed to combine the worst aspects of the public and private sectors--price gouging and confusion, gaps in coverage and an eye-popping bill for taxpayers.
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 22-23 Oct 1, 2006

On Health Care: The market alone can’t solve our health-care woes

President Clinton took a stab at creating a system of universal coverage, but was stymied. Since then, public debate has been deadlocked.

Given the money we spend on health care, we should be able to provide basic coverage to everyone. But we have to contain costs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

The market alone cannot solve the problem--in part because the market has proven incapable of creating large enough insurance pools to keep costs to individuals affordable. Overall, 20% of all patients account for 80% of the care, and if we can prevent disease or manage their effects, we can dramatically improve outcomes and save money.

With the money saved through increased preventive care and lower administrative and malpractice costs, we would provide a subsidy to low-income families and immediately mandate coverage for all uninsured children.

There is no easy fix, but the point is that if we commit to making sure everyone has decent care, there are ways to do it.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.183-185 Oct 1, 2006

On Homeland Security: Battling terrorism must go beyond belligerence vs. isolation

We know that the battle against terrorism is at once an armed struggle and a contest of ideas, that our long-term security depends on a judicious projection of military power and increased cooperation with other nations, and that addressing the problems of global poverty and failed states is vital to our nation’s interests rather than just a matter of charity. But follow most of our foreign policy debates, and you might believe that we have only two choices--belligerence or isolationism.
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 23 Oct 1, 2006

On Homeland Security: Grow size of military to maintain rotation schedules

Our most complex military challenge will involve putting boots on the ground in the ungoverned or hostile regions where terrorists thrive. That requires a smarter balance between what we spend on fancy hardware and what we spend on our men and women in uniform. That should mean growing the size of our armed forces to maintain reasonable rotation schedules, keeping our troops properly equipped, and training them in the skills they’ll need to succeed in increasingly complex and difficult missions.
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.307 Oct 1, 2006

On Jobs: Owes unions who endorsed him; that’s why he’s in politics

The leaders of service workers unions broke ranks & chose to endorse me over [my opponent], support that proved critical to my campaign. It was a risky move on their part; had I lost, they might have paid a price in access, in support, in credibility.

So I owe those unions. When their leaders call, I do my best to call them back right away. I do not consider this corrupting in any way; I do not mind feeling obligated toward home health-care workers or toward teachers. I got into politics to fight for those folks, and I am glad a union is around to remind me of their struggles.

However, there have been strains. I have proposed experimenting with merit pay for teachers, for example, and have called for raising fuel-efficiency standards despite opposition from the United Auto Workers. I like to tell myself that I will continue to weigh the issues on the merits. I hope I can always go to my union friends and explain why my position is consistent with my values and their interests.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.118-119 Oct 1, 2006

On Jobs: Working full-time should mean enough to support a family

Americans believe that if we work full-time, we should be able to support ourselves and our kids. For many people, this basic promise is not being fulfilled.

Government policies can help, with little impact on market efficiency. We can raise the minimum wage. It may be true that any big jumps in the minimum wage discourage employers from hiring. But when the minimum wage has not been changed in nine years and has less purchasing power in real dollars than it did in 1955, so that someone working full-time today in a minimum wage job does not earn enough to raise out of poverty, such arguments carry less force. The Earned Income Tax Credit provides low-wage workers with supplemental income through the tax code should be expanded and streamlined so more families can take advantage of it.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.180-181 Oct 1, 2006

On Principles & Values: “Audacity of Hope” to change politics to reflect common good

[During the early part of my US Senate race], no blinding insights emerged from months of conversation. What struck me was how much of what they believed seemed to hold constant across race, region, religion, and class.

I told them that government couldn’t solve all their problems. But with a slight change in priorities we could make sure every child had a decent shot at life and meet the challenges we faced as a nation.

This book grows directly out of those conversations on the campaign trail. The ideals at the core of the American experience, and the values that bind us together despite our differences, remain alive in the hearts and minds of most Americans. The topic of this book is how we might begin the process of changing our politics and our civic life. I don’t know exactly how to do it. But I offer personal reflections on those values and ideals that have led me to public life, and myown best assessment of the ways we can ground our politics in the notion of a common good.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 7-9 Oct 1, 2006

On Principles & Values: Post-1960s politics more about moral attitude than issues

After the 1960s, liberalism and conservatism were defined in the popular imagination less by class than by attitude--the position you took toward the traditional culture and counterculture. What mattered was how you felt about sex, drugs, rock and roll, the Latin Mass or the Western canon. For white ethnic voters in the North and whites in the South, this new liberalism made little sense. The violence in the streets and the excuses for such violence in intellectual circles, blacks moving next door and white kids bused across town, the burning of flags and spitting on vets, all of it seemed to insult and diminish family, faith, flag, neighborhood, and for some at least, white privilege. And when, in the wake of assassinations and Vietnam, economic expansion gave way to gas lines, inflation and plant closings, and the best Jimmy Carter could suggest was turning down the thermostat, the New Deal coalition began looking for another political home.
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 28-29 Oct 1, 2006

On Principles & Values: Americans dislike partisanship--not solution like Dems think

Increasingly, the Democratic Party feels the need to match the Republican right in stridency and hardball tactics. The accepted wisdom something like this: The Republican Party has been able to win elections not by expanding its base but by vilifying Democrats, driving wedges into the electorate, energizing its right wing, and disciplining those who stray.

I am convinced that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. For it is the predictability of our current political debate, that keeps us from finding new ways to meet the challenges we face. It is what keeps us locked in “either/or” thinking: the notion that we can only have big government or no government; the assumption that we must either tolerate 46 million uninsured or embrace “socialized medicine.”

It is such partisanship that have turned Americans off. What is needed is a broad majority who are re-engaged and who see their own self-interest as inextricably linked to the interest of others.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 39-40 Oct 1, 2006

On Principles & Values: Raised secular, but with working knowledge of world religion

I was not raised in a religious household. For my mother, organized religion too often dressed up closed-mindedness in the garb of piety, cruelty and oppression in the cloak of righteousness. However, in her mind, a working knowledge of the world’s great religions was a necessary part of any well-rounded education. In our household the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology. On Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites. In sum, my mother viewed religion through the eyes of the anthropologist; it was a phenomenon to be treated with a suitable respect, but with a suitable detachment as well.

This spirit of hers guided me on the path I would ultimately take. It was in search of confirmation of her values that I studied political philosophy.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.202-4 Oct 1, 2006

On Principles & Values: Baptized as an adult in the Trinity United Church of Christ

Faith doesn’t mean that you don’t have doubts. The typical black sermon freely acknowledged that all Christians (including the pastors) could expect to still experience the same greed, resentment, lust, and anger that everyone else experienced. In the black community, the lines between sinner and saved were more fluid; the sins of those who came to church were not so different from the sins of those who didn’t, and so were as likely to be talked about with humor as with condemnation. You needed to come to church precisely because you were of this world. You needed to embrace Christ precisely because you had sins to wash away-because you needed an ally in your difficult journey.

It was because of these newfound understandings-that religious commitment did not require me to suspend critical thinking, disengage from the battle for economic and social justice, or otherwise retreat from the world-that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ one day and be ba

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.207-8 Oct 1, 2006

On Principles & Values: Progressives should recognize common morality with religion

The discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religiosity has often inhibited us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms. Our fear as progressives of getting “preachy” may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in addressing some of our most urgent social problems. After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems. They are also rooted in societal indifference and individual callousness.

I am not suggesting that every progressive suddenly latch on to religious terminology. I am suggesting that perhaps if we progressives shed some of our own biases, we might recognize the values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country. We need to take faith seriously not simply to block the religious right but to engage all persons of faith in the larger project of American renewal.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.214-6 Oct 1, 2006

On Principles & Values: Religious concerns ok, if translated into universal values

Progressives might recognize the values that both religious & secular people share when it comes to the moral & material direction of our country. We might recognize that the call to sacrifice on behalf of the next generation, the need to think in terms of “thou” and not just “I”, resonates in religious congregations across the country.

Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square. To say that men and women should not inject their personal morality into public policy debates is a practical absurdity; our law is by definition a codification of morality, mush of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

What our pluralistic democracy does demand is that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. Those opposed to abortion cannot simply invoke God’s will--they have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.216-219 Oct 1, 2006

On Social Security: Stock market risk is ok, but not for Social Security

If the guiding philosophy behind the traditional system of social insurance could be described as “We’re all in it together,” the philosophy behind Bush’s Ownership Society seems to be, “You’re on your own.” Relying on the magic of the marketplace is a tempting idea, elegant in its simplicity. But it won’t work.

Take the Administration’s attempt to privatize Social Security. The Administration argues that the stock market can provide individuals a better return on investment, and in the aggregate they are right; historically, the stock market outperforms Social Security’s cost of living adjustment. But individual investment decisions will always produce winners and losers. What would the Ownership Society do with the losers?

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t encourage individuals to pursue higher-risk, higher-return investment strategies. They should. It just means that they should do so with savings other than those put into Social Security.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.178-179 Oct 1, 2006

On Tax Reform: Estate tax only affects the wealthiest 1/2 of 1%

We have to stop pretending that all cuts are equivalent or that all tax increases are the same. Ending corporate subsidies is one thing; reducing health-care benefits to poor children is something else. At a time when ordinary families are feeling hit from all sides, the impulse to keep their taxes as low as possible is honorable. What is less honorable is the willingness of the rich to ride this anti-tax sentiment for their own purposes.

Nowhere has this confusion been more evident than in the debate surrounding the proposed repeal of the estate tax. As currently structured, a husband and wife can pass on $4 million without paying any estate tax. In 2009, this figure goes up to $7 million. The tax thus affects only the wealthiest one-third of 1% in 2009. Repealing the estate tax would cost $1 trillion, and it would be hard to find a tax cut that was less responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans or the long-term interests of the country.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.191-192 Oct 1, 2006

On Technology: $42B more in university-based R&D

There is another aspect of our educational system that merits attention. Institutions of higher learning have served as the nation’s research and development labs. These institutions train the innovators of the future. Here too, our policies have been moving in the wrong direction. Each month, scientists and engineers visit to discuss the federal government’s diminished commitment to funding basic research. Over the last 30 years, funding for the sciences has declined as a percentage of GDP. If we want an innovation economy, then we have to invest in our future innovators--by doubling federal funding of basic research over the next five years, training 100,000 more engineers and scientists over the next four years, or providing new research grants to the most outstanding early career researchers in the country. The price tag is $42 billion over five years. We can afford to do what needs to be done. What is missing is national urgency.
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.165-167 Oct 1, 2006

On War & Peace: We are playing to Osama’s plan for winning a war from a cave

The struggle against Islamic-based terrorism will be not simply a military campaign but a battle for public opinion in the Islamic world, among our allies & in the US. Osama bin Laden understands that he cannot defeat the US in a conventional war. What h & his allies can do is inflict enough pain to provoke a reaction of the sort we’ve seen in Iraq--a botched & ill-advised US military incursion into a Muslim country, which in turn spurs on insurgencies based on religious sentiment & nationalist pride, which in turn necessitates a lengthy & difficult US occupation. All of this fans anti-American sentiment among Muslims, & increases the pool of potential terrorist recruits.

That’s the plan for winning a war from a cave, & so far, we are playing to script. To change that script, we’ll need to make sure that any exercise of American military power helps rather than hinders our broader goals: to incapacitate the destructive potential of terrorist networks and win this global battle of ideas.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.307 Oct 1, 2006

On Welfare & Poverty: Black churches minister to social needs out of necessity

It was in search of some practical application of [my mother’s religious] values that I accepted work after college as a community organizer for a group of churches in Chicago that were trying to cope with joblessness, drugs, and hopelessness in their midst. My work with the pastors and laypeople there deepened my resolve to lead a public life.

I was drawn to the power of the African American religious tradition to spur social change. Out of necessity, the black church had to minister to the whole person. Out of necessity, the black church rarely had the luxury of separating individual salvation from collective salvation .It had to serve as the center of the community’s political, economic, and social as well as spiritual life; it understood in an intimate way the biblical call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and challenge powers and principalities. I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary; rather, it was an active, palpable agent in the world.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.206-7 Oct 1, 2006

The above quotations are from The Audacity of Hope
Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
, by Barack Obama.
Click here for other excerpts from The Audacity of Hope
Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
, by Barack Obama
Click here for other excerpts by Barack Obama.
Click here for a profile of Barack Obama.
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