Monday, January 16, 2017

Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books - Note for a discussion, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United."


Obama image from article
Like Lincoln, Mr. Obama taught himself how to write, and for him, too, words
became a way to define himself, and to communicate his ideas and ideals to the
world. In fact, there is a clear, shining line connecting Lincoln and King, and
President Obama. In speeches like the ones delivered in Charleston and Selma, he
has followed in their footsteps, putting his mastery of language in the service of a
sweeping historical vision, which, like theirs, situates our current struggles with race
and injustice in a historical continuum that traces how far we’ve come and how far
we have yet to go. It’s a vision of America as an unfinished project — a continuing,
more­-than-­two­-century journey to make the promises of the Declaration of
Independence real for everyone — rooted both in Scripture and the possibility of
redemption, and a more existential belief that we can continually remake ourselves. ...
Mr. Obama says he is hoping to eventually use his presidential center website
“to widen the audience for good books” — something he’s already done with regular
lists of book recommendations — and then encourage a public “conversation about
“At a time,” he says, “when so much of our politics is trying to manage this clash
of cultures brought about by globalization and technology and migration, the role of
stories to unify — as opposed to divide, to engage rather than to marginalize — is
more important than ever.”
That inauguration next week? Don’t watch. State of the Union? You’re better off with an early night’s sleep. Oval Office addresses? Speeches? Rallies? Press conferences? “Exclusive” TV interviews? Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to get to instead.

--Bill Scher, "Don’t Watch Donald Trump’s Inauguration: There’s no better way to undermine Trump than to take away his ratings, New Republic

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