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Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Obama Stands For

"Sometimes we need both cultural transformation and government action--a change in values and a change in policy--to promote the kind of society we want. The state of our inner-city schools is a case in point. All the money in the world won't boost student achievement if parents make no effort to instill in their children the values of hard work and delayed gratification. But when we as a society pretend that poor children will fulfill their potential in dilapidated, unsafe schools with outdated equipment and teachers who aren't trained in the subjects they teach, we are perpetrating a lie on these children, and on ourselves. We are betraying our values.

"That is one of the things that makes me a Democrat, I suppose--this idea that our communal values, our sense of mutual responsibility and social solidarity, should express themselves not just in the church or the mosque or the synagogue; not just on the blocks where we live, in the places where we work, or within our own families; but also through our government. Like many conservatives, I believe in the power of culture to determine both individual success and social cohesion, and I believe we ignore cultural factors at our own peril. But I also believe that our government can play a role in shaping that culture for the better--or for the worse."

Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope

2 comments:

cheesyskepticism said...

So many people dismiss Mr Obama as an idealist, all-talk grandiosity, while failing to see that he makes perfect sense.

Meritocracy is hard to believe in if all people do about it is pay lip service to it while in reality the near-impossibility of it is more palpable than the number of rags-to-riches stories around us. Just how easy will it be for a child from a single-income family earning the returns of a truck driver or a cleaner, to finish a good degree?

I wish to earn this book. Although I don't like his populist approach on free trade issues. Cheers.

Brad Blackstone said...

Yes, he makes quite a bit of sense. But as he himself says, he's not really the Messiah. And he still has things to learn. To his credit though, he seems open-minded enough to do that.