I love both politics, and the spoken/written word. I can appreciate a great quote, even if I personally disagree with what the speaker is saying. When I decided to put together a series where I listed my five favorite quotes from politicians both past and present, Barack Obama was an obvious choice for my first subject.
I think he is the greatest political speaker of this generation, and as such it would have been easy for me to pull quotes from his most famous speeches and books, but I chose quotes that I think capture the man and his message. Some of the quotes are short, some are long. Some are funny, others are serious. They aren’t listed in any order, and I have no agenda, except that you enjoy them.
“Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. To say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity.”
— Call to Renewal Conference, June 28, 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.”
— Speech, Aug. 28, 2006
“I’ll tell you a quick story … we have dinner together, my wife asks my two daughters, seven and four–Malia, “How was your day?” She’ll say, “Tell us about it.” Four year old, Sasha, “How was your day?” They ask my wife, “How was your day?” Then finally my wife says, “Well, let’s ask Daddy how his day was.” And, ahh, my four year old will say, “Boring.” And my wife will say, “Well, that’s not nice, you know, actually people come and listen to Daddy speak.” And the two of them fall out of their chairs. They think that’s the funniest thing–the notion that somebody would be interested in what their father has to say.”
— Late Night with Conan O’Brien, May 12, 2006
“In the end, no amount of American forces can solve the political differences that lie at the heart of somebody else’s civil war.”
— Speech, Jan. 19, 2007
“The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow… ”
— Speech, Mar. 18, 2008
Next time: My Five Favorite Hillary Clinton Quotes
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