Obama Doesn’t Approve of Your Pathetic Voter Turnout, Philly
President Barack Obama delivered a stirring, once-in-a-lifetime speech Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention.
He gave our disaffected country what it so desperately needs as it looks down the barrel of a Donald Trump presidency: a defense of democracy. But Obama did it on his terms — with unflinching optimism in the American people. “Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order,” he said. “We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago.”
He cautioned voters not to place all their hopes in any singular politician, a message for the left and right. “America has never been about what one person says he’ll do for us. It’s always been about what can be achieved by us, together.”
He channeled John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address. “Democracy works,” Obama said, “but we gotta want it!”
And he urged Americans to vote not just in presidential elections, but in local races, too. “If you want more justice in the justice system, then we’ve all got to vote — not just for a president, but for mayors, and sheriffs, and state’s attorneys, and state legislators.”
Voting for city council and controller might seem like small potatoes compared to saving America from Commander-in-Chief Trump. It is small potatoes compared to that vital task. But Obama made the essential point that all citizens must do the unsexy, often thankless work of democracy day in and day out in order for it to keep functioning. Sometimes, that’s as simple as voting in a mayoral election:
“If you want more justice in the justice system, then we’ve all got to vote — not just for a president, but for mayors, and sheriffs, and state’s attorneys, and state legislators. And we’ve got to work with police and protesters until laws and practices are changed.
If you want to fight climate change, we’ve got to engage not only young people on college campuses, but reach out to the coal miner who’s worried about taking care of his family, the single mom worried about gas prices.
If you want to protect our kids and our cops from gun violence, we’ve got to get the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, who agree on background checks to be just as vocal and determined as the gun lobby that blocks change through every funeral we hold. That’s how change will happen.”
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