Former President Barack Obama said he was “wildly optimistic” about America’s future given what he described as an ongoing “great awakening” related to “how we think about race in this country.” He offered his remarks during a Tuesday online fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, which required a donation to access.
The term “great awakening” has been used by CNN’s Van Jones in relation to demonstrations, protests, and riots following the death of George Floyd, with NBC, the New York Times, and TIME using similar language.
Obama attached a litany of left-wing political priorities with tumult seen in large cities:
[Donald Trump] considers some people in this country more real as Americans than others. That, we haven’t seen out of a White House in a very long time, and the good news, what makes me optimistic, is the fact that there is a great awakening going on around the country, particularly among younger people who are saying not only are they fed up with the shambolic, disorganized, mean-spirited approach to governance that we’ve seen over the last couple of years, but more than that, are eager to take on some of the core challenges that have been facing this country for centuries; that are willing to demand an honest accounting of how we think about race in this country; that are insisting that issues like climate change can no longer be ignored or just addressed along the edges; that are demanding that we create an economy that works for all people and not just some; and recognizes that in order for us to actually deliver on the American promise, we can’t just tinker around the edges, that we’ve got a take some big more structural steps to ensure that everybody’s getting a good education. and that if you’re willing to work you can find a job, and that that job pays a decent wage and that nobody in the midst of a pandemic should be wondering whether or not they can afford health care. So that sense of urgency is the thing that is making me optimistic.
Obama praised young left-wing protesters as sophisticated, introspective, and courageous:
The breadth of young people who are getting involved, the sophistication they’re bringing to these campaigns for change; their willingness to look at themselves and ask, “How do I need to change?” not just how other people need to change; their fearlessness; their compassion; the diversity of people involved.
It’s not just folks who are directly affected by discrimination and racism that are involved, it’s young people who one might argue aren’t touched by it, but they suddenly realize, “You know what? If that injustice is happening in this country, then it is doing something to me that offends me. It hurts me, and I need to do something about it.”
That makes me wildly optimistic about the possibilities for change in this country.
Obama characterized unrest in metropolitan streets as a reservoir of political support for Biden:
There is no disconnect between the urgency of this election and tje political moment and what has been happening on the streets and what we’ve been seeing on the TV screens. We have this unique chance to translate a growing awareness of injustice in this society into actual legislation and institutional change that can make a difference in people’s lives, and those moments don’t come that often.
Political opposition to left-wing and Democrat politics is rooted in ignorance of the experiences of black Americans, women, and the “LGBT community,” assessed Obama.
“There’s a backlash that is fierce against change, against demographic change, against the sense of people feeling embattled and not kind of understanding what’s happening with respect to African-Americans or women or the LGBT community or others just asking for a seat at the table,” Obama said. “Some of that’s prompted by legitimate fears about economic uncertainty and the sense that there’s not enough to go around for everybody, and so it’s a zero-sum game between some Americans and other Americans.”
Obama name-checked Fox News and Rush Limbaugh while criticizing “conservative media.” He urged supporters to politically lobby their families and friends to support Biden’s presidential campaign:
The importance of reaching out and having conversations, one-on-one, friends, neighbors, relatives, and really engaging people in ways that only you can do with your friends, neighbors, relatives. If you’ve got a an uncle or a grandmother who is watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh, if I say something to her or him, they’re not going to be paying much attention. In fact, I can’t even reach them, right? But you can, because they love you, and you know the goodness and them and you’re you’re able to engage and help them ask questions about who we are as a country and hat are traditions are and if we demand honesty and fair dealing and respect towards other people in our own lives and our churches and religious institutions then surely we should expect that out of our leaders as well, you know. That’s something that you can have a conversation about that we can’t.
Biden repeatedly slurred his speech while misreading and mispronouncing prepared remarks.
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