In his first speech of the 2018 midterm campaign, former president Barack Obama delivered a speech in Illinois that both appealed to America’s better angels and crushed Trump as nothing more than a privileged opportunist who is exploiting American divisions and fears.
Of course, there’s always been another darker aspect to America’s story. Progress doesn’t just move in a straight line. There’s a reason why progress hasn’t been easy and why throughout our history every two steps forward seems to sometimes produce one step back. Each time we painstakingly pull ourselves closer to our founding ideas, that all of us are created equal, endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, the ideals that say every child should have opportunity, and every man and woman in this country who’s willing to work hard should be able to find a job, support their family and pursue their small piece of the American dream. Ideals that say we have a collective responsibility to care for the sick and the infirm, and we have a responsibility to conserve the amazing bounty, the resources of this country and this planet for future generations.
Each time we get close to those ideals, somebody somewhere pushes back. The status quo pushes back. Sometimes the backlash comes from people who are genuinely, if wrongly, fearful of change. More often it’s manufactured by the powerful and the privileged, who want to keep us divided, keep is angry and keep us cynical, because it helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and keep their privilege. And you happen to be coming of age during one of those moments. It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been mining for years. Rooted in our past, but also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.
Obama is the perfect messenger at the perfect time
The vast majority of Americans, roughly 60%-65%, desperately need to hear the message that Obama is delivering. The American people need to know that in this time of corrupt and malevolent incompetence as embodied by Trump that things are going to be fine. America is not only going to survive Donald Trump, but it will again prosper, but that goodness is still here.
Donald Trump has tried to paper over it with division and hate, but those better angels are fighting back, who aren’t necessarily Republican or Democrat are standing together against Trump.
Obama’s message is that Trump is a blip on the path to progress. He is a predictable pushback by the status quo.
Trump is a speed bump, and voting in November is the first step toward putting America back on the path to progress.
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