The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream➽ [Download] ➺ The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream By Barack Obama ➸ – Oaklandjobs.co.uk The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama s call for a new kind of politics a politics that builds upon those shared understandings that pull us together as Americans Lucid in his vision of America s place The Audacity of Hope: MOBI ï of Hope is Barack Obama s call for a new kind of politics a politics that builds upon those shared understandings that pull us together as Americans Lucid in his vision of America s place in the world, refreshingly candid about his family life and his time in the Senate, Obama here sets out his political convictions and The Audacity PDF/EPUB ² inspires us to trust in the dogged optimism that has long defined us and that is our best hope going forward. I m assuming Obama will be the next President of the USA That will probably be a good thing Recently I did an online quiz to pick which candidate I would be most likely to vote for as an Australian this was purely an academic exercise but it said I should support Obama Naturally, my politics and his are quite different I m to his extreme left, but I thought I should find outabout him just the same.It is an odd thing how different Australians are from Americans We are both fronti I m assuming Obama will be the next President of the USA That will probably be a good thing Recently I did an online quiz to pick which candidate I would be most likely to vote for as an Australian this was purely an academic exercise but it said I should support Obama Naturally, my politics and his are quite different I m to his extreme left, but I thought I should find outabout him just the same.It is an odd thing how different Australians are from Americans We are both frontier societies with a history of appalling treatment of our native peoples but I think we have made a better stab at multiculturalism than has been the case in the US From reading this book it also seems clear that we do community better here than the US does.One of our biggest worries is that we might be becominglike America The US Health System if that is not an oxymoron rightly frightens the life out of us we, at least, have some semblance of a national health system Medicare may not be perfect, but God save us from the US system There were parts of this book that gave me slight cause for hope it did seem like he might try to do something about education, and might even help people retrain to get better jobs His criticisms of corporate America s disproportionate influence on politics due to the money it was able to pour in was reassuring, if only because he noticed it might be a problem.There were parts of the book that made me cringe the stuff about his family and how much he loved his wife was all a bit saccharine for my tastes Some of the writing was overly flowery But I think possibly Australians are a bitreserved with this stuff a bitBritish than Americans and what makes us cringe might well seem quite endearing in the US.All the same, wouldn t it be wonderful if a candidate for US President did not have to declare themselves Christian to have any hope of being elected As a nation that has had at least one Agnostic Prime Minister Bob Hawke although, as the joke went, that was only because Bob wasn t sure if he was God or not it seems insane the obsession that religion is in American politics For a country that likes a personal relationship with God the US certainly does like that personal relationship to be as public as possible I was surprised at how much time was spent in this book talking about God our politicians would never do this not at such length The other bit of the book that made me cringe was him talking to Senator Bird and proudly declaring himself a committed Christian Bird saying to him that all he needed by his side were the American Constitution and the Bible was also very concerning.I was flicking though The Rights of Man recently and was interested when Paine said that it wasn t for one generation to limit for all time the extent of the hopes and dreams of all following generations This is the second book by a US politician I ve read recently the other being Gore s The Assault on Reason and I ve been surprised in both at how much time is spent talking about the glories of the founding documents and the nearly god like reverence shown for the founding fathers This is something else that is completely alien in Australian politics It is not just that in the main we have no idea about our own Federation but no one here has a clue about the Australian constitution, which is also a matter of some pride to most Aussies Mostly, those who do know something about it see it as a deeply flawed document that it is impossible to fix and should beor less ignored I can t imagine what it must be like to live in a country that has such a view of its own importance and historical infallibility I m quite sure I wouldn t like it But I ve never been good at crowds particularly not flag waving crowds.Obama recognises that money is a problem in American politics, but I think I would still go further than him It isn t so much money that is the problem, but a problem with the American psyche in which, it seems from afar, the only measure for success and worth of anyone is how much money they have made The US government appears to be littlethan a rich man s club, something else Obama talks about in his book it is hardly surprising that so few ordinary people seem to be bothered to vote in what appears to be a popularity contest between the obscenely wealthy.I have often wondered if societies have become too large to be properly governed as democracies Plato put limits on the size of his ideal republic I can t remember what it is, but I think it might have been 30,000 people something like that anyway There are 300 million in the US is it really a silly question to ask whether any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure How democratic it can be must surely be a question worth considering.There is a part of me that worries that America believes its own myths far too much.But Obama does look like he might try to help the poor, that he might seek to finally do something to address the shame that is racism, that he might do something to reduce the US deficit which is increasingly a threat to world economic growth and might even do something to improve health care, maternity leave, and other family friendly policies Of course, my hope is a littleaudacious that one day there might just be a President of the US who doesn t feel they have to denigrate their mother s secular humanism as their only hope of being elected That the US might one day consider someone s worth not as being measured purely by the size of their bank account and that paying taxes will be seen as something proudly done because it is the price one pays to live in a civilisation I can t help but feel that while the US cuts taxes to the bone, prefers its citizens to beg in the humiliation that is charity rather than turn when in need to the dignity of social welfare, while the US gleefully punishes the poor and the working class with unliveable wages, while the US talks of placing the ten commandments in the courtrooms that sentence people to death in contradiction of the thou shalt not kill they would hypocritically engrave into the walls, it will always be hard for me to understand the US But if Obama does half what he says he will in this book, even as modest a proposal as it seems, then perhaps, just maybe, there is some cause for hope Excellent book When I found out he was the narrator had to buy it Did read the hard copy back in 2007 Missed his voice so much, intelligent, inspiring speeches Fall in love with him at the 2004 Democratic convention.His work in Chicago, ambitious political journey, how he met his wife Values, American history, family and his understanding of the issues we are facing He had the Audacity of Hope to do something about them, but his hands was tied at his back, legs knocked under him.One think Excellent book When I found out he was the narrator had to buy it Did read the hard copy back in 2007 Missed his voice so much, intelligent, inspiring speeches Fall in love with him at the 2004 Democratic convention.His work in Chicago, ambitious political journey, how he met his wife Values, American history, family and his understanding of the issues we are facing He had the Audacity of Hope to do something about them, but his hands was tied at his back, legs knocked under him.One think I never understood if we all are God s children and we all bleed red, why all this hate I ve now finished this book, which I ve been reviewing a chapter at a time Before starting, I was concerned that it might lower my opinion of him Many people have been rather dismissive, and perhaps that s why I didn t read it earlier In fact, it has had the opposite effect It s well thought out and convincing, and I respect himThe one major criticism I have is that it s stylistically unimpressive you can see that it would have benefited from another revision pass He is however so i I ve now finished this book, which I ve been reviewing a chapter at a time Before starting, I was concerned that it might lower my opinion of him Many people have been rather dismissive, and perhaps that s why I didn t read it earlier In fact, it has had the opposite effect It s well thought out and convincing, and I respect himThe one major criticism I have is that it s stylistically unimpressive you can see that it would have benefited from another revision pass He is however so insanely busy that I m grateful he had time to write it at all There certainly aren t many politicians at his level doing this kind of thing And, with that introduction, the main review I was given this book as a Christmas present by my 19 year old son Kind of symbolic, I guess I am about the same age as Obama, and over the last couple of years have become a huge supporter I managed to be in the US around the election last November, and was delighted to find that it was legal for me to contribute to his campaign in terms of doing unpaid work I helped organize a calling party in Sunnyvale I was in charge of catering , and even got to make a couple of hundred phone calls to swing voters in Ohio I have never been told to fuck off so many times in one afternoon, it was a fantastic experience A few people were even nice to me The most memorable one being the 87 year old great grandmother with the broken hip, who said she was going to vote Obama together with two of her granddaughters, so that was three votes we could count on.Obama is all about reestablishing trust in the political process it s the very first thing he says in this book I am writing this early in the second week of his presidency, and so far I can t fault him He s doing everything he said he would do, as quickly as it can be done Closing Gitmo, ending rendition and use of torture, funding third world aid that includes contraception and abortion, sending a high level representative to the Middle East, allowing states to set tougher emissions targets Please, please continue with that Now a couple of chapters in The style is not brilliant, but I think he is saying interesting and important things So far, the central message has been that the US badly needs to make the political debate less polarized people have to start trying to see similarities as well as differences, view their counterparts on the other side of the political divide as mistaken rather than evil, and above all listen It comes across as very level headed and positive, and he has good examples to support his argument, showing how both left and right wing people would find themselvesin agreement if they applied their principles consistently.I was rather struck by the fact that, when he says that he doesn t think George W Bush is a bad person, this comes across as a controversial claim He seems to want to believe it I can t quite make up my mind as to whether he really does, but I m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt Maybe I should try it too It s definitely an interesting spiritual exercise Chapter 3, on the Constitution I thought it was also pretty good Obama knows this stuff in great depth he s taught classes on constitutional law, and he has also, of course, had hands on experience of the legislative process He makes a strong, balanced case for the validity of the Constitution, taking plenty of time to look at the counter arguments In particular, he examines the ways in which the Constitution was used first to maintain slavery, and then to impede the progress of civil rights reforms I find it impressive that he still believes in it His basic argument is that it s a very carefully thought out, flexible framework, which allows enough free play that it doesn t lock the US into one course, but rather allows Congress to adapt to changing circumstances, while still implementing the basic goals of the Founding Fathers It was interesting to compare Obama s analysis with Charlie Savage s book Takeover, which I read a few months ago Savage s goal is to give an overall picture of the well orchestrated attack that the Bush Cheney administration mounted on the Constitution, which depended on narrow and highly debatable readings of a few key passages in the Federalist Papers, together with the establishment of precedents aimed at justifying a radical expansion of the Executive s powers If you want to criticize Obama s take on the Constitution, remember that that s the current alternative I know which one I feelcomfortable with Chapter 4, Politics The question this chapter addresses is, approximately why are so many politicians cynical, lying phonies I thought Obama did a good job of answering it I would paraphrase his reply as follows First, losing an election really hurts If you win, you are an important person, and everyone treats you with great respect If you lose, you are nobody Second, the difference between winning and losing depends very largely on having enough money to buy TV advertising It s all about name recognition and getting your message across Third, by far the easiest way to raise money is to get tight with the special interest groups They offer you an attractive deal promise to do what they want, and they will quickly fix your financing It s not easy to negotiate with them Once you ve signed, you re either in their pocket, or you cynically renege on your promises Either way, you re compromised Even worse, since money is all important, and special interest groups and rich donors are way you get it, soon you re spending most of your time with them So you rarely get to meet the people you re supposed to be representing.He illustrates all these points simply and clearly with things taken from his own personal experience He doesn t give himself credit for being particularly tough he thinks he got a lot of lucky breaks, and says what they were He s refreshingly low on bullshit.I am really quite surprised at what a good book this has so far turned out to be Chapter 5, Opportunity It s the economy, stupid.I don t understand why some people who reviewed this book complain that Obama says nothing about how he would address the problems the US is facing At times, I almost thought he went into too much detail He picks out three big things that he wants to focus on, in order to keep the US competitive in the global marketplace education, research, and energy self sufficiency I ll concentrate on research, since I know about that from personal experience, but a word first on energy thank goodness, Obama is not, like most politicians, innumerate He notes in a couple of sentences that the US uses 25% of the world s energy, but has only 3% of the world s fossil fuel resources, so further oil and gas exploration is not going to help much Contrast his sensible, adult discussion of the issues with Sarah Palin s Drill, baby, drill one of the most moronic political sound bites I ve seen in recent years It was unpleasant to see how many people bought this nonsense.But going back to research, Obama points out that the US implicitly assumes that it will maintain a global superiority in science and technology, yet has been steadily cutting investment in basic research In the 70s,than a quarter of all research proposals were funded now it s dropped to 10% or less As he says, this means that scientists need to spend a large proportion of their time chasing the money that s still there, leaving them correspondingly fewer hours to do actual work Another, less obvious, effect is that research focuses on a few safe directions, with speculative high risk high gain ideas becoming almost impossible to fund unfortunately, history shows that the risky ideas are the ones that really make a difference Lee Smolin gives an excellent analysis of the problem in The Trouble with Physics.I am one of many researchers who has given up, and moved elsewhere I spent a lot of this decade working in the US, and most of the previous one working for a US company I m now in Switzerland, continuing to develop stuff that was largely paid for by the US taxpayer if you re curious, you can read all about it in our 2006 book, Putting Linguistics into Speech Recognition The flow of knowledge always used to be in the opposite direction It feels kind of weird Obama says in this book that he wants to double investment in research I wonder whether he is still going to have a chance of doing that, given the economic climate, but it s nice to see that he thinks it s important Chapter 6, Faith Something of a tightrope act, but it goes with the territory I thought he acquitted himself well, and was never in serious danger of falling off As in other chapters, he concentrates on trying to help all sides find common ground in this very difficult area He clearly has great sympathy both with Christian and with secular thinkers, and is upfront about his connections with the Muslim world On the one hand, he explains why separation of church and state is so important for the US, and quietly but firmly distances himself from creationism On the other, he explains why, despite being raised as a non believer, he is now a Christian He goes to some lengths to explain what kind of Christian he is he is muchinspired by the Sermon on the Mount than by Genesis or Leviticus One could say he s a Christian in the boring, old fashioned sense of trying to follow the teachings of Christ At times, I have wondered whether he is just pretending to be Christian out of political expediency After reading this chapter, I m inclined to think I was wrong there If you re a black American, you do have some pretty good reasons for being Christian Obama isn t aggressive about it, but he reminds you that the Christian churches were a major force in driving through civil rights reforms it probably wouldn t have happened without them He wants to push through some major reforms of his own, and I hope that his faith will help him in the same way that it helped Martin Luther King Chapter 7, Race Another potential tightrope act, but here I thought Obama was extremely confident, in fact completely in control Well, he has of course been thinking about these issues all his life, and they must have been one of the major reasons for him entering politics I would say he had two main topics First, he wanted black Americans to try and steer a balanced course between two ways of thinking On the one hand, it would be ridiculous not to agree that huge progress has been made over the last few decades He has sensible arguments here, but his mere existence is of course the best one On the other hand, there is a huge amount of work left to do The situation for most blacks and Latinos is still terrible The brings him to the second main topic The black subculture in the inner cities is out of control The US has to do something about it, as a major priority it s not in anyone s interests to have a de facto third world country within America s borders There is a vicious circle of neglect, abuse, bad parenting, crime and unemployability that has to be broken into Obama suggests that the best point to attack might be to focus on better education for black teenage girls, setting up incentives that will make itattractive for them to finish school, and less attractive to get pregnant and start living on welfare He does a good job of angling the language so that it can appeal to both left and right this is something that everyone needs to buy into As he says, the right are upset that welfare has set up a self perpetuating system where people don t have strong enough reasons to want to break out That kind of status quo isn t to anyone s advantage Chapter 8, The World Beyond our Borders A very sensible look at the problems surrounding US foreign policy He starts off with Indonesia, which he knows a lot about he lived there for several years as a boy, and his mother continued to work there for a long time afterwards As he says, the last 50 years of Indonesian history are a good way to see both the positive and the negative sides of the way the US treats the rest of the world The US helped Indonesia gain freedom from the Dutch after that, it supported an appalling dictatorship because it viewed it as an ally against Communism More recently, the US has used economic power to force Indonesia to move its economic model towards free market norms This has angered many people, and made it easier for Islamic fundamentalists to make their voices heard He then backs off to give some broader historical perspective The key problem, as he sees it, is that US foreign policy has been inconsistent, veering wildly between extremes Sometimes, it is overly aggressive about trying to push its agenda, and upsets everyone At other times, it withdraws into an isolationist stance, and then you get a different set of problems World War II might well not have happened if the US had woken up earlier and recognized how dangerous Nazi Germany was His ideal is a compromise between these two positions The US needs to engage actively with the rest of the world, but do so within a legal framework which it voluntarily submits to The one effective way to spread democracy is to lead by example, and show that laws apply to everyone Otherwise, the US opens itself up to the reasonable criticism that democracy is only another word for US interests He thinks that the best example of this kind of policy was the Truman presidency after WW II, where the US was very effective in uniting the Western world against Communism Now that the Cold War is over, the US needs to rethink its role He considers that Gulf War I was a success, as was the war in Afghanistan, which most of the world saw as legitimate self defense Iraq, on the other hand, was a ghastly mistake He goes into some detail about exactly why he opposed it, and his judgment does indeed appear to have been spot on He believes that one of the major issues facing the US at the moment is the threat of rogue countries or terrorist groups getting hold of nuclear weapons He wants to fight that in several ways The most important are, first, winning over hearts and minds by showing that the US is really a friend of the third world rather than an enemy, and, second, building up effective international alliances based on mutual trust Chapter 9, The Family He finishes with the most personal chapter of the book, and tells you a fair amount about his own family He comes across as a nice guy, and I m convinced he has a very good marriage Why Because he s not afraid to admit that he and Michelle fight a good deal, and when they do he seems to try hard to see her side of the story, and do something about it He s an excellent listener Another thing that comes across is that he really likes women Not as sexual objects though he s by no means indifferent to female charm , but as people If Clinton was the first black president, then Obama is the first feminist president It s not accidental he was raised by his mother and grandmother, and he lives with his wife and his two daughters, whom he plainly adores He s been surrounded by women all his life, and he s learned to understand what s important to them The chapter s not all personal he also has stuff to say about policy issues which concern the family Once again, what I am most impressed with is how damn sensible he is He could easily have got bogged down on things like rape or gay marriage, which, though important, are not the most central issues What he is fact most interested in is reducing the teen pregnancy rate, and providing better daycare for working mothers I just can t fault him on this I lived 10 years in Sweden, and good, affordable daycare makes such a difference to women that it s almost beyond belief And now, Mr Obama as I said, I loved your book Please follow through on the program you describe here, and literally billions of people will thank you But you already know that The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama is subtitled thoughts on reclaiming the American Dream This immediately gives the reader a whiff of things to come this book is written by a politician, on the make, with specific political objectives And when one realises that it was first published in 2006, one immediately understands what the main objective is.The so called American Dream is about a utopia where anyone can rise up in life from the rock bottom by sheer hard work, without any suppor The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama is subtitled thoughts on reclaiming the American Dream This immediately gives the reader a whiff of things to come this book is written by a politician, on the make, with specific political objectives And when one realises that it was first published in 2006, one immediately understands what the main objective is.The so called American Dream is about a utopia where anyone can rise up in life from the rock bottom by sheer hard work, without any support whatever be your caste, creed or colour Of course it s a myth but it s a myth which has kept the country going ever since it coalesced into one But after Reagan, with the rise of the right wing and slipping of the Republican Partyandinto the hands of hard line conservatives, this dream seems at risk to many liberals Since they make up the major chunk of Democrat voter base, how to reclaim it is seen as the top priority by the Presidential aspirant and rightly so, I would say.From the measured voice he has kept throughout the narrative, I would consider Obama to be sincere about what he is speaking and from hindsight, one can say that he has largely kept faith throughout his eight year reign The one thing he stretches is empathy to view the world through the eyes of someone else, even your biggest antagonist.I am obligated to try to see the world through George Bush s eyes, no matter how much I may disagree with him That s what empathy does it calls us to task, the conservative and the liberal, the powerful and the powerless, the oppressed and the oppressors We are all shaken out of our complacency We are all forced beyond our limited vision.This is the tone Obama tries to keep throughout the book, and he succeeds on the whole except in one area butabout that later We get the picture of a sincere politician a career politician, true, but no less sincere for that out to clear up the mess that two years of the Bush Presidency has pushed America into.The book is divided into nine chapters Republicans and Democrats Here, Obama tackles what he feels to be the basic problem of modern day American political sphere divisiveness Opinion on everything is divided and divided vehemently and there is no effort to reach a consensus on any issue It s always us versus them But the majority of Americans are not interested in these sectarian battles they have lives to live, and anxieties to overcome about how to do it When they look at politicians, they see only a bunch of bickering partisans and they turn away from politics altogether Obama says that they are waiting for a politics of realism and balance, based on common sense and not dogma waiting for Democrats and Republicans to catch up with them Values Which brings us to the thing which divides people most values Today, values are at different ends of the spectrum for conservatives and liberals and nobody is willing to budge an inch However, in this argument, people are forgetting one of the most important of all values empathy It is the basis of Obama s vision, as evidenced by the quote above As long as the American people cling on to their values at the same time respecting another s right to do the same, there is no need for all these divisive battles This is one point where I agree vehemently with Obama in fact, Indians could also benefit from obeying the Golden Rule Our Constitution What does the constitution say and how is it to be interpreted We see this debate in all democracies, between people who wants to keep to the letter and those who want to follow the spirit between people who want to interpret it based on conservative archaism and those want to read liberal values into it this is the centre of a raging debate in India now There are also people who want to leave it all to the judges, as though they are some kind of ubermensch blessed with greater capabilities of comprehension than ordinary mortals In this context, I could empathise with Obama s viewpoint though I doubt how much of it can be implemented in practice, given the pig headed nature of most human beings.The answer I settle on which is by no means original to me requires a shift in metaphors, one that sees our democracy not as a house to be built, but as a conversation to be had According to this conception, the genius of Madison s design is not that it provides us a fixed blueprint for action, the way a draftsman plots a building s construction It provides us with a framework and with rules, but fidelity to these rules will not guarantee a just society or assure agreement on what s right Of course, politicians need to be mature enough for this conversation When that will happen is anybody s guess Politics Can a politician honestly implement value based governance in today s dirty, media and money driven politics Obama is a realist enough to believe that it s not possible fully, and honest enough to say it openly However, he believes a sort of compromise can be achieved if the legislator connects with his electorate and his domestic record does bear out his conviction Opportunity This is the longest chapter in the book and the most impressive, according to me Obama s musings on how to get the American economy back on track with equitable justice to every section of the populace shows the breadth and depth of his vision He totally rejects the Social Darwinism advocated by the GOP, modelled upon their darling Ayn Rand s kooky ideas at the same time, he is aware of the pitfalls of the welfare state So to counter the winner take all free market chaos, he advocates strengthening the economic infrastructure, with government investments in the areas of education, science and technology, and energy.Obama is wise enough to understand that these will not bring in a boom overnight But a strategic investment today is a safety net for tomorrow an educated populace with a strong grounding in science and technology, with alternative energy developments in full flow, will give rise to an America who is not dependent on the world to supply all these Such an economy with a robust foundation will allow the country to provide succour for the underprivileged, through social security Faith America is a contradiction in terms It is one of the most religious countries, yet one with a strict bifurcation between the Church and the State and this dichotomy does make the country schizophrenic as a whole, at times And in the current times, this has resulted in the Right movingandtowards totalitarian religion, while liberals move away from it at an even faster clip But to be secular, is the total abrogation of religion required Maybe not When we abandon the field of religious discourse when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practised, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome others will fill the vacuum And those who do are likely to be those with the most insular views of faith, or who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends Golden words not applicable only to America but the world in general The fight against fundamentalism is to be won not through confrontation but engagement Race Maybe the most touchy subject for an African American, but Obama handles his exposition on race issues in America brilliantly Whatever one says, America is a Melting Pot and to bring it back to a segregated version is rather like trying to extract the contents of a masala into its individual components So, the concept of a black America or a white America or a Latino America does not make sense, especially to a man whose family get togethers take on the appearance of a UN General Assembly meeting It does not mean race and racial issues don t exist they do And they have to be tackled But the onus should be on inclusion, and not exclusion, because America is big enough to accommodate all their dreams Incidentally, I believe India should also follow this advice, seeing the extremely xenophobic tendencies of late The World Beyond Our Borders Well, after all the inspiring writing in the previous chapters, it is here that Obama falls flat True, he questions Bush s ill advised Iraq invasion but he reiterates that America will have to function as a reluctant sheriff to the world, so that the security of America is not threatened and totalitarian regimes are kept in their place, and democracy slowly established He talks about the rogue states of North Korea and Iran but is silent on the international bully Israel He talks about terrorism in Afghanistan but is silent about Pakistan Talk about double standards This chapter is the reason I docked this book a star Family The traditional family in America is under siege, with the increased number of divorces and out of wedlock pregnancies With women gainingindependence, and both parents working to make ends meet, happily married couples are also under pressure Obama, the family man par excellence, gives us an object lesson on work life balance how it can be achieved through government support to working mothers, and a bit of social enlightenment for males to accept that the woman s place is no longer exclusively the home The audacity of hope was a phrase used by Obama s pastor, the Rev Jeremiah A Wright Jr., in a sermon It is having the audacity to believe despite all the evidence to the contrary that we could restore a sense of continuity to a nation torn by conflict the gall to believe that despite personal setbacks, the loss of a job or an illness in the family or a childhood mired in poverty, we had some control and therefore responsibility over our own fate.Barack Obama had that audacity and the audacity to pursue the hope, for country decimated by eight years of Dubya s disastrous reign But will America get anyone with the same mettle to take the country back to normal after the reign of the catastrophe called Donald Trump That, to me, is the million dollar question It is a good thing that these days, if a Democratic candidate wants to continue war and occupation in Iraq, he has to call it phased redeployment a la Obama, rather than 20,000troops, a la Kerry People are fed up with the old policies, and they re looking towards candidates who talk left I think that s a sign of a real shift among regular people, and we shouldn t dismiss anyone who wants to see real change but still has hopes in the Democratic Party This is true even if we already k It is a good thing that these days, if a Democratic candidate wants to continue war and occupation in Iraq, he has to call it phased redeployment a la Obama, rather than 20,000troops, a la Kerry People are fed up with the old policies, and they re looking towards candidates who talk left I think that s a sign of a real shift among regular people, and we shouldn t dismiss anyone who wants to see real change but still has hopes in the Democratic Party This is true even if we already know through bitter experience that a goal of the Democrats is to lower hopes and expectations as much as possible all the easier to dash those hopes in the end Thus, Harry Reid s telling reply to the millions of anti war voters who sent his party to Congress only to watch the Democrats write Bush a blank check for war, maybe we set the bar too high That said, there is something of a personality cult growing up around Obama, in particular I read The Audacity of Hope to better understand the appeal, and what I found was a work of autohagiography to beat the band As for political content, his true stripes are shown off proudly, as when he dismisses his days as a lefty as something gone up like marijuana smoke in a college dorm room, while bending over backwards to praise the policies of Ronald Reagan It is quite a feat to watch him present himself to regular people as the face of a new kind of politics, while assuring those in the halls of power that his are still the politics of Reagan and Clinton.The book is, all in all, a painful read, owing to its sheer flabbiness There are plenty of words, but precious little substance, and turning the page quickly becomes a chore That said, I d recommend reading it simply because Obama s campaign is a huge force on the left It s worth reading, but we shouldn t get too hung up on the idea that the legions of people who will vote for Obama are actually for what Obama is for, because they re not and Obama knows this, which is why he is so tight lipped on the matter of concrete policy proposals What people know is that they want an alternative to what they ve got, and that s good news for anyone who wants to change the world and is looking for allies The Audacity of Hope Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, Barack ObamaThe book, divided into nine chapters, outlines Obama s political and spiritual beliefs, as well as his opinions on different aspects of American culture The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama s call for a new kind of politics In the end, that s what this election is about Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope John Kerry calls on us to hope John Edwards calls on us to hope I m not talking The Audacity of Hope Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, Barack ObamaThe book, divided into nine chapters, outlines Obama s political and spiritual beliefs, as well as his opinions on different aspects of American culture The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama s call for a new kind of politics In the end, that s what this election is about Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope John Kerry calls on us to hope John Edwards calls on us to hope I m not talking about blind optimism here the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don t talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it No, I m talking about somethingsubstantial It s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta the hope of a millworker s son who dares to defy the odds the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too Hope in the face of difficulty Hope in the face of uncertainty The audacity of hope 2010 1387 480 9789643515355 21 1388 327 9789643625054 1389 466 9789648803488 1393 488 97896428704002005 200620082007 Barack Obama fills me with hope.Hope for the United States, and hope for America s standing on the world stage.This book shows the human side of a man who is running for president He tackles many different issues from faith, race, family life, war, international relations, and politics.All are done in a thoughtful manner.I get the sense that when he attempts to address an issue that he truly wants to hear from all interested parties, and work to come to an accommodation that everyone can live w Barack Obama fills me with hope.Hope for the United States, and hope for America s standing on the world stage.This book shows the human side of a man who is running for president He tackles many different issues from faith, race, family life, war, international relations, and politics.All are done in a thoughtful manner.I get the sense that when he attempts to address an issue that he truly wants to hear from all interested parties, and work to come to an accommodation that everyone can live with.At least that is his goal from the outset.He gave an example of a legislative accomplishment from his days in the Illinois State Senate It was a bill that required law enforcement to videotape interrogations and confessions in capital cases At the beginning of the process, no one gave it any chance of passing The police unions were opposed because they thought it would interfere with their jobs, death penalty opponents were opposed to anything which might weaken their goal at abolishing executions, the legislators were skittish and didn t want to vote for something that might seem soft on crime, and the new governor had publicly come out against it during the campaign season.It sounded like it would be impossible to get passed Yet, Obama felt that there was common ground That no one wanted an innocent person ending up on death row or someone guilty of a capital crime be allowed to go free It was in that spirit that he began negotiations with all the various interested parties He changed some aspects of the bill when flaws were shown, but he held firm to his principles when attempts were made to substantially alter the impact of the legislation.At the end of the process, all parties endorsed the bill.He credits that one of the reasons that the process worked is that they did their best to keep this out of the media.The bill was passed unanimously and signed into law.I like that example a lot.I also like that he has taught Constitutional law He has a grounding and respect in the governing documents of our democracy.He also has a perspective that comes from his unique biography He speaks to our hearts because he is one of us.He is living the American Dream He knows the power of people when they gather together in a community He is now trying to organizethan the neighborhoods in Chicago, he is trying to organize a nation.He has my admiration, my respect, and my vote Great book amazing insight and a wonderful read paperback I found the first couple of chapters of this book a bit murky, due to my ignorance of American political life and methods, but after that I found it fascinating I loved the way that Obama can communicate at all levels This book could so easily have been a dry and dusty analysis of his political life and experiences, but instead it was an intensely human and open discussion of the issues that matter to him I liked him before I read the book, and I liked him evenafterwards.I was particula I found the first couple of chapters of this book a bit murky, due to my ignorance of American political life and methods, but after that I found it fascinating I loved the way that Obama can communicate at all levels This book could so easily have been a dry and dusty analysis of his political life and experiences, but instead it was an intensely human and open discussion of the issues that matter to him I liked him before I read the book, and I liked him evenafterwards.I was particularly interested in what he had to say about the plight of blue collar workers in the US whose jobs appear to be squeezed from all angles, and what he had to say about the standards of living for everyone As has been noted elsewhere, life does not seem to be getting easier, except for the very wealthy.The one chapter I found strange was the one on faith It would be inconceivable for a British politician to write an autobiography and include any sort of discussion about his or her religious beliefs This chapter voiced clearly both the importance of religion in American politics, and Obama s desire to share his personal beliefs The chapter about his family also quite surprised me, but it suggested an openness to domestic problems serious, big, difficult problems for a lot of families , that are seldom voiced amongst politicians, and I warmed to him as a result.I learnt a lot about Obama through reading this book Of course being written in 2006 it misses out great chunks of his career, but I still found it a very good read What a warm, thoughtful and generous man I used to think that a liberal was simply someone whose background and education was deficient of the facts needed to understand the full ramifications of their left leaning policies For example, in a debate I once heard Maxine Waters D CA incredulously ask Why not when told that the government can t afford free healthcare, free college, free daycare, etc Because apart from the land of fairies and puppy dog tails where the Congresswoman, if not grew up, at least spent most of her summers I used to think that a liberal was simply someone whose background and education was deficient of the facts needed to understand the full ramifications of their left leaning policies For example, in a debate I once heard Maxine Waters D CA incredulously ask Why not when told that the government can t afford free healthcare, free college, free daycare, etc Because apart from the land of fairies and puppy dog tails where the Congresswoman, if not grew up, at least spent most of her summers, there are limits to a nations economic resources.But I was surprised to find that Barack Obama is not ignorant of these principles Instead, his book follows this basic model Even though history economics common sense show us that liberal policy has resulted in devastating consequence in the past, I still feel we have a duty to the American people to implement liberal policy For example, he ll preface a call forprotections for organized labor with the acknowledgement that such protections actually hurt American business and make itdifficult for the U.S to compete in a global economy.From the outset, Obama admits that he doesn t have any answers to these dilemmas and that his book is not a political road map So while I disagree with where he ends up ideologically, I ve got to hand it to him for being familiar with and able to articulate both sides of an issue, and holding onto his liberal idealism even as he stares the facts in the face Or as he calls it, The Audacity of Hope Nevertheless, this was one of the hardest books I ever read because it was just pages and pages of political rhetoric

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American
  • Hardcover
  • 375 pages
  • The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
  • Barack Obama
  • English
  • 17 March 2017
  • 0307237699