The first hundred days is thought to set a tone for what to expect from a presidency. After a much-deserved vacation, the same span can be even more telling for an ex-president, with some having rededicated themselves to public good and others taking up painting.
In the early weeks of President Barack Obama’s return to private citizenry, he has set a clear tone that his next act will serve as a continuation of his fight for a more prosperous future for the American people. (Video below.)
Last night, as he accepted the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s Profiles in Courage Award, President Obama entered the fight to save the healthcare program he signed into law seven years ago. Arguably the greatest orator of his generation, Obama’s voice sends a timely and powerful message that praises the courage of the men and women who guaranteed health coverage for 20 million Americans and shames those now trying to take it away.
Using the words of President Kennedy, Obama praised the Members of Congress who risked their jobs, and in many cases lost them, to provide the security of affordable healthcare. He said they had “‘the desire to maintain a reputation for integrity that is stronger than the desire to maintain office.’ A conscience.”
He then turned his attention to today’s Congress. “And it is my fervent hope, and the hope of millions, that regardless of party, such courage is still possible,” Obama said. “That today’s Members of Congress, regardless of party, are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth. Even when it contradicts party positions.
“I hope that current Members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential. But it does take some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm. Those who often have no access to the corridors of power.”
President Obama’s remarks are a refreshing reminder of a leader who, even after reaching pinnacle of personal power, remains firmly committed to the public he sought to serve. His challenge to Congress begins shortly after the 14-minute mark, and the speech is worth watching in its entirety.
Sheila Norton is a writer with ten years of Capitol Hill experience. Subscribe to the OD Action email to get all the hottest news delivered right to your inbox every day at www.odaction.com