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Fri May 3, 2019, 08:35 PM

An Important Message from President Barack Obama

"If you had to choose one moment in history in which you could be born, and you didn’t know ahead of time who you were going to be -- what nationality, what gender, what race, whether you’d be rich or poor, gay or straight, what faith you'd be born into -- you wouldn’t choose 100 years ago. You wouldn’t choose the fifties, or the sixties, or the seventies. You’d choose right now. If you had to choose a time to be, in the words of Lorraine Hansberry, “young, gifted, and black” in America, you would choose right now ...

"I tell you all this because it's important to note progress. Because to deny how far we’ve come would do a disservice to the cause of justice, to the legions of foot soldiers; to not only the incredibly accomplished individuals who have already been mentioned, but your mothers and your dads, and grandparents and great grandparents, who marched and toiled and suffered and overcame to make this day possible. I tell you this not to lull you into complacency, but to spur you into action -- because there’s still so much more work to do, so many more miles to travel. And America needs you to gladly, happily take up that work."

Howard University Commencement Address, May 7, 2016

38 replies, 5310 views

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Arrow 38 replies Author Time Post
Reply An Important Message from President Barack Obama (Original post)
StarfishSaver May 3 OP
riverine May 3 #1
Hekate May 3 #2
Stinky The Clown May 3 #3
George II May 3 #4
barbtries May 3 #5
Blue_true May 3 #8
barbtries May 3 #12
Blue_true May 3 #15
barbtries May 3 #17
Blue_true May 3 #18
barbtries May 4 #26
Blue_true May 4 #37
barbtries May 4 #28
Blue_true May 4 #36
UniteFightBack May 3 #10
barbtries May 3 #11
srobertss May 3 #14
barbtries May 3 #16
srobertss May 4 #19
barbtries May 4 #24
EffieBlack May 4 #22
barbtries May 4 #23
EffieBlack May 4 #25
barbtries May 4 #27
EffieBlack May 4 #29
barbtries May 4 #32
StarfishSaver May 4 #30
DallasNE May 3 #6
Karadeniz May 3 #7
mountain grammy May 3 #9
bdamomma May 3 #13
Cha May 4 #20
FakeNoose May 4 #21
lindysalsagal May 4 #31
Honeycombe8 May 4 #33
marble falls May 4 #34
Politicub May 4 #35
Collimator May 4 #38

Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2019, 08:41 PM

1. I love President Obama.

As the U.S. election campaign enters its final weeks, President Barack Obama has penned as essay in the Economist defending immigration, innovation, globalization and free trade, while adding that more help is needed for those who have suffered in the changing economy.

Noting that "the world is more prosperous than ever before and yet our societies are marked by uncertainty and unease," the president wrote that, "it is important to remember that capitalism has been the greatest driver of prosperity and opportunity the world has ever seen."


https://abcnews.go.com/Business/obama-defends-capitalism-international-free-trade-economist-essay/story?id=42614080

i would vote for him again in 2020 if I could.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2019, 08:56 PM

2. Love that man

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2019, 09:03 PM

3. Inspiring. True. Makes the hair on my neck stand up.

HE was a President.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2019, 09:25 PM

4. Brilliant.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2019, 09:29 PM

5. not sure that's true now.

people being born today don't have such a bright future thanks to greed. and republicans.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #5)

Fri May 3, 2019, 09:58 PM

8. Yet, a poor kid born today could become

history's first trillionaire, to use something that is now considered impossible.

Income inequality has been a constant throughout human civilized history and likely even before that. If I had a choice between being poor in the middle ages and being poor today, I would pick today without a second thought.

I believe people too often use a modern situation without referencing history, income inequality is one of those area and I think that the Vegans versus meateaters situation is another of those areas. Throughout history most of the population has been poor. Some corrosively poor, and if one looks closely that can be seen today with the twist that the average wealth gap is a tad wider in historical terms, even though the maximum difference in wealth was far, far larger in the Middle Ages. Veganism is a very much modern concept that has become imbued with self-defined morality. Humans through long history have been meateaters and consumers of other animal products.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #8)

Fri May 3, 2019, 10:47 PM

12. income equality, global warming, the rise of fascism

the world is not getting better at the moment.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #12)

Fri May 3, 2019, 11:12 PM

15. Except for global warming, I totally disagree.

The past had cases where populations were slaughtered simply for being different. Today individuals kill while others mouth hate, but none have wiped out tens of thousands or millions of people.

50 years ago, 100 years ago, 300 years ago, there was a supper rich class and everyone else struggled to live. 250 years ago in America most of one race was in forced servitude, millions of people.

Do we have problems today? We certainly do, but in the context of history we are better off today, except for climate change and the damage it has and will do to all living things.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #15)

Fri May 3, 2019, 11:41 PM

17. as i see it,

our democracy is in real peril.

yeah it'll all work out. eventually. some people, maybe a whole lot of people, innocent people even, will never see the light of day figuratively speaking, but it will work out. it probably won't be another holocaust. there will probably be famines, but then there always have been.

i'm spoiled. i grew up in the USA. don't even know it anymore.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #17)

Fri May 3, 2019, 11:57 PM

18. I am not as pessimistic as you about the human spirit.

The USA has had a number of dark eras in it's history, but it became better, not great or right, but better. The world has had many dark periods in it's history but always creeped forward to a better state of existence.

Climate change is the most serious problem that we have faced in world existence. But unlike Trump, many key world leaders recognize that and are finding efforts to figure out how to combat the problem. One big issue will be feeding people as more land become barren due to drought or flooding, but we may already have a solution in tower farms that take up little land, use far less water and produce 2-3 crop cycles for every dirt farm cycle. While some people will see issues with food from tower farms because they seem "artificial", most people in the world will eventually be fed by them.

I feel that the biggest threat to humans are other humans that are so mindset on getting what they want how they want it, that they will never accept "partial" solutions to a problem, even if those solutions are the most practical and effective.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #18)

Sat May 4, 2019, 11:36 AM

26. funny though I agree with everything you said.

but this is a dark time and the damage is monumental. i think it will be generations to overcome. we're going backward. I feel so helpless and guilty even. I cannot know that the generations coming up will be able to attain the success and pursuit of happiness they deserve. that takes faith, currently in short supply over here.

trump gets away with everything and always has. this has to change.

the human spirit is indomitable. it will carry on. but so much lost along the way. i see it as unnecessary - the suffering of the refugees, the victims of the hate crimes, the degradation of the planet, the greed.

i'm not giving up. ever. but at times i turn off the news because it's so bad and it never stops. republicans must be zombies they never sleep.

"Better is good." President Obama

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Response to barbtries (Reply #26)

Sat May 4, 2019, 06:19 PM

37. Agree. nt

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #8)

Sat May 4, 2019, 11:41 AM

28. i would hope that being the world's first trillionaire

is not even a thing.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #28)

Sat May 4, 2019, 06:17 PM

36. Yes, that is a scary thought.

If a person does become that, I hope that he or she has the wisdom to use such an incredible amount of money for true societal good (making society better, unlike people like Adelman).

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Response to barbtries (Reply #5)

Fri May 3, 2019, 10:25 PM

10. I think you need to reread what Obama said. nt

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Response to UniteFightBack (Reply #10)

Fri May 3, 2019, 10:46 PM

11. i just can't help thinking

about climate change and trump and republicans...and it's for my children and my grandchildren and their progeny I worry and fret.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #11)

Fri May 3, 2019, 11:10 PM

14. I'm ashamed to say

I’m glad to be old without children. I really hesitate to talk about climate change with my friends with children and grandchildren. Climate scientists have a hard time talking about the situation we’re in without scaring people into inaction.

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Response to srobertss (Reply #14)

Fri May 3, 2019, 11:38 PM

16. well, my concern for future generations is egalitarian

though i do have children and grandchildren, the fact is i want ALL the children to be okay.

i'm okay. i grew up poor but never hungry. i had opportunities to improve my lifestyle. i'm doing okay. too many are not.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #16)

Sat May 4, 2019, 02:18 AM

19. It's amazing

how we can go on, with this looming over the planet. Read today how reducing air pollution would help people breathe, but exasperate global warming, making it harder for people to breathe. I just hold to a feeling that nothing good is ever lost.

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Response to srobertss (Reply #19)

Sat May 4, 2019, 11:26 AM

24. hopefully you're right.

i have a theory about spiritual evolution. it occurs over so much time, millennia, like human evolution, that it cannot be perceived at any point in time. MLK's arc of justice.

we're in a bad time. the devolution since 2016 scares me. i did not foresee the abdication by the republicans and as distraught as i was when trump won, i didn't think it would be this bad.

i'm 63 and probably won't be around long enough to see the correction of this ill. hopefully future generations will have great lives and the world will continue building on the good and it's never lost and only grown.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #5)

Sat May 4, 2019, 08:30 AM

22. I think most non-white, non-upper-middle-class people with any experience or knowledge of history

would strongly disagree with you.

This reminds me of black folks who lament that we were SO much better off under segregation because "we had our own businesses, schools, etc. and our neighborhoods were more cohesive."

Excuse me? I find myself asking them, "Excuse me? Do you have ANY idea what segregation was? If you did, you'd never discount the harm it did to a people and this country or wax nostalgic about the days of state-imposed and sanctioned apartheid!"

President Obama was right. Very few people, if given a chance, would freely opt to go back in time to fend for themselves - unless, perhaps, they were in the extremely narrow group they felt would have been assured success, health and safety, a group that excluded the vast majority of Americans who can confidently expect to have them today.

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #22)

Sat May 4, 2019, 09:57 AM

23. well, that is correct.

i'm thinking in the context of the end of democracy in this country and the degradation of life on earth due to climate change. and yes, yes, the world has gotten better for POC, LGBTQ, etc.

of course in the Trump era not only them but women, non-christians, immigrants, etc, are losing ground.

but i get that, and i got it from President Obama. can't recall the exact speech, but he's said it more than once. many of us can envision a much, much better world, with no poverty or bigotry or hatred or oppression. for a lot of people recent history has made life better. As he said in this speech, "Better is good." I agree with that. But as he also said, there is a lot to do.

Systemic, institutionalized racism has resulted in POC being far less likely to expect "success, health and safety." Certainly there will be more than during slavery. But to say that desegregation has somehow given them the same opportunities as the white middle class is simply not true. Book recommendation, if you haven't read it yet, "The New Jim Crow." Racism is alive and well in the USA and that is not okay.

I'm a baby boomer, white, grew up in suburban California. I've reasonably enjoyed those expectations you mentioned. LA is still segregated. NC is getting more so. The rise of white supremacist groups and a president who cheers them on and installs Nazis in the WH is not good news for the future. Let alone the return to the cave as far as women's rights. and more - unsustainable wealth inequality, hate crimes, mass incarceration, the abuse of immigrants. Crimes against humanity being committed by our government and apparently helpless to stop it. Relentless propagandizing by the president and his spokespeople being transmitted as if it's news.

I'm shocked and distraught at how far we've fallen just since this speech was delivered in 2016. what I wouldn't give to have him back and to have our rightful president in office. But we don't and I worry for the future. my fear is not irrational.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #23)

Sat May 4, 2019, 11:35 AM

25. You think "Systemic, institutionalized racism" is something new

and that POC are far less likely to expect "success, health and safety" than we were, say, 60 years ago?

No. Things aren't perfect but we as a people are FAR better off than we were at any time in our country's history. And not just compared to slavery, but also compared to the 160 years between slavery and now.

That's exactly the point that President Obama was making in the speech cited in the OP. In fact, he was speaking directly to young black graduates in particular.

From the same speech: "If you had to choose a time to be, in the words of Lorraine Hansberry, 'young, gifted, and black' in America, you would choose right now. (Applause)... So make no mistake, Class of 2016 -- you’ve got plenty of work to do. But as complicated and sometimes intractable as these challenges may seem, the truth is that your generation is better positioned than any before you to meet those challenges, to flip the script."

If you ask just about any African-American who lived through Jim Crow and its immediate aftermath, they will likely tell you that, despite the challenges, we are much better off than we were in those days.

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #25)

Sat May 4, 2019, 11:38 AM

27. i would again suggest the book

The New Jim Crow.

yes, yes, better is good. right now, not good enough. not when we're going backward and things are getting worse.

please don't tell me what i think. obviously systemic, institutionalized racism has been around since ever. I'm saying it's WRONG, and it continues.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #27)

Sat May 4, 2019, 11:51 AM

29. I've read it

Along with many, many other perspectives, of which Michelle Alexander is but one. Even Prof. Alexander doesn't even go as far as you do it claiming.

MMany reasonable scholars and observers can debate the extent of our progress, but no one actually studying and analyzing the situation (beyond surface anecdotes) would claim that we are worse or no better off than we were in the past.

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #29)

Sat May 4, 2019, 12:24 PM

32. we are worse off than we were in 2016.

that's my opinion and strong belief.

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #25)

Sat May 4, 2019, 12:01 PM

30. As my grandmother used to say, "We're not where we should be. We're not where we're gonna be

But thank the sweet Lord Jesus Christ, we're not where we were!"

(This wasn't original to her, but she liked to say it anyway)

She was the daughter of former slaves, was part of the Great Migration (coming north just in time for the Depression, which she and her husband heroically got their family through) and lived to see all of her children live successful, economically-secure lives and one of her sons become a lawyer and federal judge, and her grandchildren all go to college and have successful careers, live wherever they wanted and have the right to vote without violence. She didn't live to see our first black president, but she did live to see one of her grandchildren work for a president.

And she would not, for a minute, tolerate me or anyone within earshot, complain that things today are so much worse for us than they were for her or our parents. If I'd even tried to form my mouth to say something like that, she would slap me silly, if she didn't smack the taste out of my mouth.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2019, 09:48 PM

6. It Was True At The Time It Was Written

But 6 months later we, as a nation, took a giant step backwards. So big that it could take a generation to get back to where we were on that day in May 3 years ago. Elections have consequences. Progress is not guaranteed. It is hard but necessary work. Time to again roll up the sleeves.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2019, 09:58 PM

7. So true...I've thought that.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2019, 10:15 PM

9. This is a reality check because he's right.

Like he always is.. even now.

Thanks for posting.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2019, 11:04 PM

13. Spoken like a true intelligent

President. He's right.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2019, 07:41 AM

20. KR!

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2019, 08:00 AM

21. This is PBO's special gift

He has this way of looking at the positive side of things, and he finds the affirming message wherever he can. He carried the weight of the world for 8 years, and at the time he spoke these words he was still carrying it. But on that day he spoke to the graduates of Howard University in a way that gave them hope and inspiration.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2019, 12:22 PM

31. That's MY president.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2019, 01:48 PM

33. Ahhhhh. Memories of having a President who at the end of a statement doesn't mock the disabled.

He was special. And we were here to witness it firsthand.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2019, 03:11 PM

34. Remember how it was when we had a real President?

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2019, 03:23 PM

35. ..



How I miss my President. Sometimes I catch myself wondering, was it just a dream?

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2019, 06:55 PM

38. I always get tears in my eyes. . .

When I hear that man speak or read something he said. There is nobility, common sense, and hope in what he communicates.

As to this time in human history being so bad, I remember reading "The Diary of Anne Frank" as a teenage. If Anne Frank could have faith in humanity during the historical time in which she lived, then my giving into hopelessness seems like a weakling's move.

We got to right now because of some ugly thinking and bad decisions, true. But the reason that it looks so bad is that we have--ALL of us--gained so much in generations past and therefore have so much more to lose.

It's important to vent and discuss our honest feelings of discouragement. That does not give us an excuse to cultivate discouragement in others. If every single person whoever shrugged their shoulders and said, "What's the point?" to voting or voicing their dissatisfaction with the current power structure, stopped shrugging and made a phone call, signed a petition, donated a single dollar or made an honest effort to vote, then the current power structure would not look like it is today.

So, if you need to voice your fears and concerns, please feel free to do so. But if you are going to throw up your hands and simply wail about how bad things are and do absolutely nothing to improve your lot in life or the conditions of the community as a whole, could you please move to Russia where fatalism makes you one of the "cool kids"?

Is it such a burden for you to bear that some of us still believe in ourselves and the human race? Yes, things may indeed suck in many ways. Other than extolling at length the specifics of the suckage in which we find ourselves, can you find any other use for your time?

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