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The Audacity of Hope

Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

By Barack Obama
  • Read in 21 minutes
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  • Contains 13 key ideas
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama

The Audacity of Hope is based on a keynote speech Barack Obama delivered at the 2004 Democratic Convention, which launched him into the spotlight of the nation. It contains many of the subjects of Obama’s 2008 campaign for the presidency.

Key idea 1 of 13

America is currently suffering from a lack of empathy.

The Republican party promotes an ownership society which tells its citizens “You’re on your own,” rather than, “We’re all in it together.”

This world-view reflects the lack of empathy that America is suffering from today. Instead of acknowledging each others’ needs and focusing on values shared by all Americans, an ownership society highlights individual differences and promotes conflict.

Sadly, it is the weakest groups in American society that suffer the most from this lack of empathy.

Would Americans accept the hopeless state of inner-city schools if they had to ask themselves how they would feel about their own children attending them?

Would CEOs consider raising their own wages while cutting back the company’s health-care benefits if they considered themselves equal to their employees?

Would politicians fight so fiercely over every issue across the political spectrum if they considered admitting that the opposing side might also have a valid point?

Many of America’s biggest problems would cease to exist if people would simply make more of an effort to see the world through each others’ eyes.

To create a better democracy and tilt politics toward the needs of weaker members of society, all Americans, whether they are politicians, businessmen or ordinary people, should commit to a stronger sense of empathy and ask each other more often “How would this make you feel?”

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