Canadian Loved Obama’s Speech


Credit: daughter
Obama’s speeches are a bright light shining from the States.

I am an outsider, a Canadian, who rarely watches T.V. but perhaps this gives me a fresh perspective on Obama’s speech.

I usually write in the family section but I disagreed so strongly with a recent post on the American President that I took a stab at writing a political article.

A post, written by ‘Susan’, expressed her angry reaction to a speech given by the American President when he was in Roanoke in July. She was upset because her family had struggled and suffered great hardships to build a business, without any outside help. Obama’s words seemed to belittle their efforts.The following is the speech given by President Obama in Roanoke this July.
“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — 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 were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the G.I. Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President — because I still believe in that idea. You are not on your own, we’re in this together.”

A commentator asked what I thought about this speech, as a mother of a large family, who has worked hard with her husband, to provide for our family. She expected Obama’s “attack” on hard-working citizens would upset me. I wasn’t upset in the least. It seems to me that many American are quick to take offense and even quicker to attack verbally, often taking quotes out of context. Now I don’t understand all of Obama’s policies or his whole agenda but I do know that he strikes me as an intelligent, knowledgeable man who is honestly trying to improve his country. The American system is a strangely adversarial, as other opposing politicians only seem interested in thwarting their president not serving their country. I am an outsider, a Canadian, who rarely watches T.V. but perhaps this gives me a fresh perspective on this typical speech by Obama.

I liked it.

Why?

In my opinion, Obama was not attacking small business people who work hard, seemingly without help. He was talking about something completely different from “Susan”. I commiserate with “Susan’s” pain because we also have struggled against financial difficulties and faced oppressive forces that seemed bent to destroy us. We felt alone, isolated

However, on a different level, I know that the past generation’s ceiling is my floor. I was not forced to “reinvent the wheel ” but rather I benefited from the knowledge and practical experience of my fore fathers. Our family is especially grateful to those who fought for freedom and democracy. Our lives would have been very different if we had lived in a communist country.

THAT is what your president was trying to say.

THAT is what he meant.

We are not island unto ourselves, we are a community. Every one’s actions and even thoughts, attitudes and emotions affect those around them and even reverberate throughout the larger community.

In Obama’s words,”You are not on your own, we are in this together.”

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