The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
By Barack Obama
I wasn't expecting a whole lot from The Audacity of Hope by Senator Barack Obama. I thought it would be a lengthy stump speech, worth knowing but no revelations. What I found, however was a thoughtful plan, mapping out a direction for restoring common sense into the political process. Obama is a well-spoken, well-written, humble man who really knows how to articulate a message. Senator Barack Obama uses personal anecdote, history, Constitutional interpretation, and a healthy respect for the expertise of others in building a cohesive platform for success. Were it delivered consistently as well as he delivered his prose in this book, it would be the basis for repairing many of the rifts in the political landscape torn apart by extremism.
In 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase anchored itself in listeners’ minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what Senator Barack Obama called “The Audacity of Hope.”
Now,Senator Barack Obama calls for a different brand of politics–a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the “endless clash of armies” we see in congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of “our improbable experiment in democracy.” He explores those forces–from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media–that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician.Barack Obama also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment.
At the heart of this book is Senator Barack Obama’s vision of how we can move beyond our divisions to tackle concrete problems. He examines the growing economic insecurity of American families, the racial and religious tensions within the body politic, and the transnational threats–from terrorism to pandemic–that gather beyond our shores. And he grapples with the role that faith plays in a democracy–where it is vital and where it must never intrude. Underlying his stories about family, friends, members of the Senate, even the president, is a vigorous search for connection: the foundation for a radically hopeful political consensus.
A senator and a lawyer, a professor,a father and a student of history and human nature, Barack Obama has written a book of transforming power. Only by returning to the principles that gave birth to our Constitution, he says, can Americans repair a political process that is broken, and restore to working order a government that has fallen dangerously out of touch with millions of ordinary Americans. Those Americans are out there, he writes–“waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.”
“A government that truly represents these Americans–that truly serves these Americans–will require a different kind of politics. That politics will need to reflect our lives as they are actually lived. It won’t be pre-packaged, ready to pull off the shelf. It will have to be constructed from the best of our traditions and will have to account for the darker aspects of our past. We will need to understand just how we got to this place, this land of warring factions and tribal hatreds. And we’ll need to remind ourselves, despite all our differences, just how much we share: common hopes, common dreams, a bond that will not break.”–from "The Audacity of Hope".