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 But when we as a society pretend that poor children will fulfill their potential in dilapidated, unsafe schools with outdated equipment and teachers who aren't trained in the subjects they teach, we are perpetrating a lie on these children, and on ourselves.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