Are your ears open now, America? The first time around, too many failed to hear the words spoken by Barack Obama, looking instead to become a part of history. This time around, the words cannot be ignored. There is an entire term worth of quotes available for public consumption, and it is not hard to see that Obama’s words have translated into real, tangible policy as well. Take a look at this compilation and finally understand how the writing was on the wall – these words became action.
“The Cambridge police acted stupidly…what I think we know – separate and apart from this incident – is that there is a long history in our country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact.”
“My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
• Both the Cambridge Police and Trayvon Martin quotes were an instant reaction to two incidences before any facts were released. The Cambridge police were white, arresting a black professor. Facts proved them in the right. The Trayvon Martin case is still ongoing. There is a good chance that George Zimmerman will be acquitted as a self-defense ruling. The main link between these two quotes – race.
“We’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”
“I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everyone.”
“It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
• Obama discussing why he was having a difficult time winning over working-class voters
“Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation.”
“In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”
“The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she is a typical white person…”
• Referring to his grandmother feeling uneasy walking by African-Americans on the street.
“I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we’ve made, that you’re starting to see some restoration of America’s standing in the world.”
“I’ve got two daughters. Nine-years-old and six-years-old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”
“You know, the truth is that right after 9/11. I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest.”
• Obama does not wear an American flag pin on his lapel, as most politicians do.
“Are some voters not going to vote for me because I’m African-American? Those are the same voters who probably wouldn’t vote for me because of my politics.”
• Basically saying that voting against him based on his politics is the same as voting against him due to race.
“The private sector is doing fine.”
• At a time when unemployment remained stagnant between 8% and 9%, while businesses continued to freeze hiring and economic growth was the slowest it had been in the last three years.
“Well, you know, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.”
• After being asked by Pastor Rick Warren when he personally feels a baby should receive human rights.
“…I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment — this was the time — when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.”
• Some of the most soaring, extreme and unattainable rhetoric in acceptance speech history.
“We can’t drive our SUV’s and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees all the time…and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.”
“It’s very rare that I come to an event where I’m like the fifth or sixth most interesting person.”
“…I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president – with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R. and Lincoln.”
“I had learned not to care. I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though.”
• Obama’s own words directly from his autobiography.
“Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there…If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
• The quote that began the derailment of his campaign.
Four years later, we won’t be fooled again.