Hello Everyone,

Tuesday’s great election victory was punctuated with a grand speech which was consistent with President Obama’s philosophy and previous speeches.

Following the State of the Union in January, I wrote the following in Obamagram #62:

In my estimation, last night’s…address was first rate and quintessentially Obama.

Communitarian. Moderate. Thoughtful. Nuanced. Wordsmithed. Energetic. Positive.

I think it is always good practice to read what we have heard. It deepens our understanding.

The same could be said of President Obama’s speech on election night. It was no ordinary victory speech. I commend its reading to you (see Attachment.) If you didn’t hear it, I also urge you to find it on YouTube.

Communitarianism
In his Tuesday speech, the President continued to talk about the importance of communitarianism, in stark contrast to the libertarian, Ayn-Rand-influenced philosophy of Paul Ryan and, derivatively, Mitt Romney. At the same time, the President recognizes its limits.

In April 2010, I wrote #50: “Reading Niebuhr to Understand Obama.” In it I quoted both Reinhold Niebuhr himself and Andrew Bacevich considering Niebuhr, including this paragraph:

Communitarianism. “The concept of ‘the value and dignity of the individual’ of which our modern culture has made so much …is constantly threatened by the same culture which wants to guarantee it. It is threatened whenever it is assumed that individual desires, hopes and ideals can be fitted with frictionless harmony into the collective purposes of man.”

On Tuesday night, this is what the President said:

By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin…

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.

The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.

Personal Responsibility
Balanced, as always, the President also said on Tuesday night:

You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours…But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on…

The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights.

Hope
The President concluded:

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

Balancing communitarianism and personal responsibility. The grand and nuanced complexity of President Obama’s hopeful philosophy which has been consistently on public display for years, most recently on Tuesday night.

Please, as always, pass it on. And, remember that previous Obamagrams are stored on www.obamagrams.com

Chuck

adobe pdf file

   Election Night Acceptance Speech 11-6-12

 

 

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