After leaving the White House, Barack Obama has remained relatively quiet about Donald Trump. But that’s changed — he’s given two major speeches this week. The first was at John McCain’s funeral; the second was today, when he went to the University of Illinois to receive an ethics award. We listened to all of the Obama speech and found these five quotes that give us hope for the future.
5 of the best quotes from today’s Obama speech
1. Trump is a symptom, not the cause.
“It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, a fear and anger that’s rooted in our past but it’s also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.”
2. This is not normal.
“So with Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, without any checks or balances whatsoever, they’ve provided another $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to people like me — who I promise don’t need it. … They’re subsidizing corporate polluters with taxpayer dollars, allowing dishonest lenders to take advantage of veterans and consumers and students again. They’ve made it so that the only nation on Earth to pull out of the global climate agreement. … They’re undermining our alliances, cozying up to Russia. … Their sabotage of the Affordable Care Act has already cost more than 3 million Americans their health insurance, and if they’re still in power next fall, you better believe they’re coming at it again. …
“Republicans who know better … are still bending over backwards to shield this behavior from scrutiny or accountability or consequence. …
“That’s not how things are supposed to work. This is not normal. These are extraordinary times. And they’re dangerous times.”
3. It shouldn’t be hard to say “Nazis are bad.”
“I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down or call them enemies of the people. It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say we don’t target certain groups of people based on what they look like or how they pray.
“We are Americans. We’re supposed to stand up to bullies. Not follow them. We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad.”
4. We need to embrace our younger, more diverse candidates.
“[Young, diverse candidates are] not just running against something, they’re running for something. They’re running to expand opportunity and running to restore the honor to public service. And speaking as a Democrat, that’s when the Democratic party has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people. When we led with conviction and principle and bold new ideas. The antidote to a government controlled by a powerful few, a government that divides is a government by the organized, energized, inclusive many. That’s what this moment’s about. That has to be the answer.”
5. The biggest threat to democracy is indifference.
“One election will not fix everything that needs to be fixed. But it will be a start. And you have to start it. What’s going to fix our democracy is you.
“Because in the end, the threat to our democracy doesn’t just come from Donald Trump, or the current batch of Republicans in Congress, or the Koch brothers and their lobbyists, or too much compromise from Democrats or Russian hacking. The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference. The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism.
“We have been through much darker times than these. And somehow each generation of Americans carried us through to the other side. Not by sitting around and waiting for something to happen, not by leaving it to others to do something, but by leading that movement for change themselves.”