An Obama Moment: Standing Up and Being Counted in a Fight

I watched President Obama address the Democratic retreat a few days ago.  Here’s the full transcript and video.

I liked one answer, which I hope encourages people in government to summon the courage to follow through on their (and our) hopes for change.  It touches on why some people are willing to stand up and be counted, to fight for something better for all Americans.

For me, it is constantly important to remind myself why I got into this business in the first place; why I’m willing to be away from my family for big stretches at a time; the financial sacrifices that so many of you have made; being subject to criticism constantly. You don’t get in this for the fame. You don’t get in it for the title. You get in it because somewhere in your background, at some point in time, you decided there was an issue that was so important that you were willing to stand up and be counted. You were going to fight for something. And you decided you were going to run as a Democrat because there was a core set of values within the Democratic Party about making sure that everybody had a fair shot, making sure that middle-class folks were treated fairly in our economy, making sure that those who were on the outside had a way in that led you to get involved in public service.

And that’s what we have to remind ourselves, especially when it’s hard — especially when it’s hard. You look at an issue right now like health care. So many of us campaigned on the idea that we were going to change this health care system. So many of us looked people in the eye who had been denied because of a preexisting condition, or just didn’t have health insurance at all, or small business owners in our communities who told us that their premiums had gone up 25 percent or 30 percent. And we said we were going to change it.

Well, here we are with a chance to change it.

Yes.  Here’s their chance.  They can’t be judged by what they said they were going to do, or what they hoped they could do (if it weren’t for that darn political pressure they never accounted for), or what in their heart they’d like to do.  They can only be judged on what they actually do.  No excuses.

Their supporters don’t want to see these politicians “go native” in DC, follow the old ways, or get weak-kneed.  These politicians and appointees should remind themselves, as does our President, of why they got into this business in the first place.

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