The Audacity of Hope

Barack Obama. Commander-in-Chief of the United States Military. President of the United States of America. If anything, the political landscape of the current election has made him look like a true moderate. My mother is a huge Obama supporter. I am a mostly reluctant Obama supporter. This hasn’t exactly caused tension in our relationship, but it definitely has caused us to have different opinions on all those random “Thank God We Have Obama” t-shirts and memes I see around. My mom has been trying to get me to read The Audacity of Hope for a couple of years now, and I finally gave in to her wishes.

I was not disappointed. I went into The Audacity of Hope thinking that I wouldn’t like it at all. I really thought that the book was going to be a written version of his presidential campaign, and I wasn’t super interested in that. (Don’t get me wrong, Obama does do some politicking in this book.) However, The Audacity of Hope is a delightful and frank look at some of the partisanship that is occurring within our political framework. I found reading this book especially timely considering the political primaries that are occurring and how a divide is occurring, not just between Republicans and Democrats, but also within the respective parities.

Since this book is old hat, I’m just going to leave you with some insights that I found refreshing as a former student of political science. (And since I know I have quite a few non-American followers, please ask me any questions if something I write doesn’t make sense!)

1.) I appreciate that Obama went back to discuss the formation of the parties by the founding fathers. 

Sometimes I forget that politicians are actually intelligent interpreters of the law. As a political science major, perhaps that is embarrassing to admit. But I also watch the news where non-facts are often spun to narrate a story that usually has little to do with a person’s ability or education. I find myself making arguments for candidates and against other candidates with these non-facts rather than talking about their intellect or training that may have prepared them to do a job. These are the real things we should be talking about when we discuss candidates.

2.) Obama covers religion and how Republicans aren’t necessarily misusing it for political gains (as many Democrats try to spin it). 

Religion is something that is seldom truly discussed in politics. I think that because it is a sensitive topic, people shy away. At least that’s what I’ve found when I’m around my more liberal friends. Obama brings up an excellent point when he wrote about the Democratic party base shying away from religion and religious discourse because it “conflicts” with its base ideals. Despite the majority of the electorate being religious, including the majority of Democrats. I appreciate how Obama said that “morality” is important to both sides, but it’s important to understand how they manifest differently through the platforms.

3.) I appreciated that Obama talked about some egotism being involved in running for elected office.

Egotistical. This is a word that has been used to describe Donald Trump a lot this year. Obama admits that to run for office, specially national office, it does take a bit of egotism on the candidate’s part. You have to believe that you are truly what is best for the people, and that the other person is not better than you. I appreciated how real that statement was, and also how it should re-frame how we use that word when speaking about political candidates.


Until Next Time World…


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