Over the past year I have watched and recorded all of Barack Obama’s televised speeches and debates. I am also reading his awesome book “The Audacity of Hope.” Now I have collected some of his key quotes for your reading pleasure. Truly he is the smartest and most eloquent person to run for president in my lifetime. The quotes are organized into four main topical areas: American Dream and Values; Change We Can Believe In; Politics and Policies; and Solutions Through Social Service.
Hope you find these gems to be informative, inspirational and influential. He clearly understands what our country needs for the future. Enjoy all the “bumper stickers” that I found on the Internet. Truly there are as many positive reasons to vote for Obama-Biden as there are negative reasons to vote against McCain-Palin. Now that the Obama campaign is fighting back I will shift more of my writing to the positive changes we can expect under an Obama administration. Truly his election represents the best and last HOPE we have to save our country and the planet.
American Dream and Values
That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody’s son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted — or at least, most of the time. – 2004 Democratic Convention
The true test of the American ideal is whether we are able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time. Whether we allow ourselves to be shaped by events and history, or whether we act to shape them. Whether chance of birth or circumstance decides life’s big winners and losers, or whether we build a community where, at the very least, everyone has a chance to work hard, get ahead, and reach their dreams. – Jun. 4, 2005
Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an empire; what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation; what led young women and young men to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom’s cause. Hope is what led me here today–with a father from Kenya, a mother from Kansas; and a story that could only happen in the United States of America. Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have courage to remake the world as it should be. – Jan. 3, 2008
I will never forget that the only reason I’m standing here today is because somebody, somewhere stood up for me when it was risky. Stood up when it was hard. Stood up when it wasn’t popular. And because that somebody stood up, a few more stood up. And then a few thousand stood up. And then a few million stood up. And standing up, with courage and clear purpose, they somehow managed to change the world. – Jan. 8, 2008
I think the American people, at their core, are a decent people. I think that we still have prejudice in our midst but I think that the vast majority of Americans are willing to judge people on the basis of, you know, their ideas and their character. And in the case of the presidency, I think what is most important is whether the American people think that you understand their hopes and dreams and struggles and whether they think that you can actually help them achieve those hopes and dreams. – Nov. 20, 2006
We also believe that we have a larger responsibility to one another as Americans; that America is a place where you can make it if you try. That no matter how much money you start with or where you come from or who your parents are, opportunity is yours if you’re willing to reach for it and work for it. It’s the idea that while there are few guarantees in life, you should be able to count on a job that pays the bills; health care for when you need it; a pension for when you retire; an education for your children that will allow them to fulfill their God-given potential. That’s the America we believe in. That’s the America I know. – May 6, 2008
I trust the American people to realize that while we don’t need big government, we do need a government that stands up for families who are being tricked out of their homes by Wall Street predators; a government that stands up for the middle-class by giving them a tax break; a government that ensures that no American will ever lose their life savings just because their child gets sick. Security and opportunity; compassion and prosperity aren’t liberal values or conservative values: they’re American values. – May 6, 2008
I have asserted a firm conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people–that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union. – Mar. 18, 2008
Change We Can Believe In
Change doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. – Aug. 28, 2008
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – Feb. 5, 2008
When people are judged by merit, not connections, then the best and brightest can lead the country, people will work hard, and the entire economy will grow – everyone will benefit and more resources will be available for all, not just select groups. – Aug. 28, 2006
People are very hungry for something new. I think they are interested in being called to be a part of something larger than the sort of small, petty, slash-and-burn politics that we have been seeing over the last several years. – Dec. 11, 2006
We have to acknowledge the progress we made, but understand that we still have a long way to go. That things are better, but still not good enough. – Oct. 19, 2006
It’s not just enough to change the players. We’ve gotta change the game. – Jan. 8, 2007
Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can’t tackle the big problems that demand solutions. And that’s what we have to change first. We have to change our politics, and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans. – Jan. 16, 2007
Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change. – Jan. 8, 2008
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
People of Berlin – people of the world – this is our moment. This is our time.
Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work. That’s the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper. – Aug. 28, 2008
Politics and Policies
The issues are never simple. One thing I’m proud of is that very rarely will you hear me simplify the issues. – Sep 25, 2006
If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost. – Aug. 28, 2006
We live in a culture that discourages empathy. A culture that too often tells us our principle goal in life is to be rich, thin, young, famous, safe, and entertained. – Jul. 12, 2006
The country is not as polarized as our politics would suggest. – Oct. 27, 2006
We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential. – Feb. 19, 2005
Everybody knows politics is a contact sport. – May 31, 2004
If those Republicans come at me with the same fear-mongering and swift-boating that they usually do, then I will take them head on. Because I believe the American people are tired of fear and tired of distractions and tired of diversions. We can make this election not about fear, but about the future. And that won’t just be a Democratic victory; that will be an American victory. – Nov. 10, 2007
When you start just focusing exclusively on trying to tear the other person down instead of what you are going to do on behalf of the American people to deal with this economy, then that’s not serving Democrats, that’s not serving Republicans, that’s not serving anybody. – Sep. 6, 2008
We’ve come to be consumed by a 24-hour, slash-and-burn, negative ad, bickering, small-minded politics that doesn’t move us forward. Sometimes one side is up and the other side is down. But there is no sense that they are coming together in a common-sense, practical, nonideological way to solve the problems that we face. – Dec. 11, 2006
Most people who serve in Washington have been trained either as lawyers or as political operatives–professions that tend to place a premium on winning arguments rather than solving problems. – The Audacity of Hope
Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it. But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it. – Jun. 15, 2008
I do think that there is a big difference between family farms and agri-business, and one of the distressing things that I think has occurred is with consolidation of farm lands. You’ve seen large agri-businesses benefit from enormous profits from existing farm programs, and I think we should be focusing most of those programs on those family farmers. – Oct. 12, 2004
All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster. – Apr. 3, 2006
We think of faith as a source of comfort and understanding but find our expression of faith sowing division; we believe ourselves to be a tolerant people even as racial, religious, and cultural tensions roil the landscape. And instead of resolving these tensions or mediating these conflicts, our politics fans them, exploits them, and drives us further apart. – The Audacity of Hope
I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.
The best judge of whether or not a country is going to develop is how it treats its women. If it’s educating its girls, if women have equal rights, that country is going to move forward. But if women are oppressed and abused and illiterate, then they’re going to fall behind. – Sept. 2008
We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times… and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.
Solutions Through Social Service
I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics. – Sept. 25, 2006
Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.
Yes, our greatness as a nation has depended on individual initiative, on a belief in the free market. But it has also depended on our sense of mutual regard for each other, of mutual responsibility. The idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we’re all in it together and everybody’s got a shot at opportunity. Americans know this. We know that government can’t solve all our problems – and we don’t want it to. But we also know that there are some things we can’t do on our own. We know that there are some things we do better together. – Aug. 7, 2006
Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. it’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere. – Jul. 12, 2006
If we aren’t willing to pay a price for our values, then we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in them at all. – The Audacity of Hope
A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, “Huh. It works. It makes sense.” – May 31, 2004
If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress. – Feb. 25, 2005
Faith is not just something you have, it’s something you do. – Dec. 1, 2006
We should never forget that God granted us the power to reason so that we would do His work here on Earth – so that we would use science to cure disease, and heal the sick, and save lives. – Dec. 1, 2006
We have a stake in one another … what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and … if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done for the people with whom we share this Earth. – Dec. 1, 2006
It’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential. – Jun. 16, 2006
I’ll be a President who finally brings Democrats and Republicans together to make health care affordable for every single American. We will put a college education within reach of anyone who wants to go, and instead of just talking about how great our teachers are, we will reward them for their greatness, with more pay and with better support. And we will harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all. – Feb. 5, 2008
Life doesn’t count for much unless you’re willing to do your small part to leave our children – all of our children – a better world. Even if it’s difficult. Even if the work seems great. Even if we don’t get very far in our lifetime. – Jun. 15, 2008
We will remember that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea. Yes. We. Can. – Jan. 8, 2008
As President, I’ll invest in renewable energies like wind power, solar power, and the next generation of homegrown biofuels. That’s how America is going to free itself from our dependence on foreign oil ╨ not through short-term gimmicks, but through a real, long-term commitment to transform our energy sector. – Jul. 31, 2008
If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.
This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many.
This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.
We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.