Quotes from pages 101-375

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream - Barack Obama

"This element of convenience also helps explain why, even among the most scrupulous reporters, objectivity often means publishing the talking points of different sides of a debate without any perspective on which side might actually be right." (pg.125)


"But at least some of the decline incivility arises from the fact that, from the press's perspective, civility is boring." (pg. 125)


"The absences of even rough agreement on the facts puts every opinion on equal footing and therefore eliminates the basis for thoughtful compromise." (pg. 127)


"Everybody likes the idea of bipartisanship...Genuine bipartisanship, though, assumes an honest process of give-and-take, and that the quality of the compromise is measured by how well it serves some agreed-upon goal. This in turn assumes that the majority will be constrained to negotiate in good faith. If these conditions do not hold, the majority party can begin every negotiation by asking for 100 percent of what it wants, go on to concede 10 percent, and then accuse any member of the minority party who fails to support this "compromise" of being "obstructionist." For the minority party in such circumstances, "bipartisanship" comes to mean getting chronically steamrolled..." (pg. 131)


"If we're serious about building twenty-first century school system, we're going to have to take the teaching profession seriously. This means changing the certification process to allow a chemistry major who wants to teach to avoid expensive additional course work; pairing up new recruits with master teachers to break their isolation; and giving proven teachers more control over what goes on in their classroom. It also means paying teachers what they're worth...There's just one catch. In exchange for more money, teachers need to become more accountable for their performance - and school districts need to have greater ability to get rid of ineffective teachers." (pg. 162)


"A nation that can't control its energy sources can't control its future. Ukraine may have little choice in the matter, but the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth surely does." (pg. 171)


"...black attitudes regarding the sources of chronic poverty are far more conservative than black politics would care to admit. What you won't hear, though, are blacks using such terms as "predator" in describing a young gang member, or "underclass" in describing mothers on welfare - language that divides the world between those who are worthy of our concern and those who are not. For black Americans, such separation from the poor is never an option, and not just because the color of our skin...They know what drove that homeless man to drink because he is their uncle. That hardened criminal - they remember when he was a little boy, so full of life and capable of love, for he is their cousin. In other words, African Americans understand that culture matters but that culture is shaped by circumstance." (pg. 254-255)


"Just as important, the painstaking process of building coalitions forces us to listen to other points of view and therefore look before we leap...by engaging our allies, we give them joint ownership over the difficult, methodical, vital, and necessarily collaborative work of limiting the terrorists' capacity to inflict harm." (pg. 310-311)


"For half of the world's population, roughly three billion people around the world living on less than two dollars a day, an election is at best a means, not an end; a starting point, not deliverance." (pg. 317)


"No country has a bigger stake than we do in strengthening international institutions - which is why we pushed for their creation in the first place, and why we need to take the lead in improving them." (pg. 320)


"Finally, for those who chafe at the prospect of working with our allies to solve the pressing global challenges we face, let me suggest at least one area where we can act unilaterally and improve our standing in the world - by perfecting our own democracy and leading by example...This unwillingness to make hard choices and live up to our own ideals doesn't just undermine U.S. credibility in the eyes of the world. It undermines the U.S. government's credibility with the American people." (pg. 321)