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  • 310奥巴马演讲

    分类:其他范文 时间:2017-07-24 本文已影响

    篇一:奥巴马开学演讲稿(中英对照)

    奥巴马开学演讲稿(中英对照)

    按语:同学们,我们为什么要上学?这个问题的答案可能五花八门。有人说是为了以后更轻松的赚钱,有人说是为了有个更好的将来,有人说是为了摆脱现在的窘境,甚至有人说仅仅是为了将来有个饭碗,有个好家庭。当然你也可以说是为了报效祖国!但是,我想还是有很多人对这个问题的理解还是很模糊的。今天,我给大家推荐一个视频,是美国总统奥巴马在弗吉尼亚州阿灵顿高中面向全美中小学生发表的电视开学演讲。他用平实的语言向全美的学生讲述为什么要学习,经济窘迫、家庭问题、情感问题是否能成为与老师辩驳,消极学习的借口?他鼓励学生不畏逆境、发奋学习。请不要放弃自己,放弃自己的责任!引人深思,看完后,希望能对你有所帮助!

    Wakefield High School Arlington, Virginia

    韦克菲尔德高中,弗吉尼亚州,阿林顿市,September 8,2009

    REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN A NATIONAL ADDRESS TO AMERICA'S

    SCHOOLCHILDREN

    (原文题目:总统对学校孩子们的全国讲话)

    嗨,大家好!你们今天过得怎么样?我现在和弗吉尼亚州阿林顿郡韦克菲尔德高中的学生们在一起,全国各地也有从幼儿园到高三的众多学生们通过电视关注这里,我很高兴你们能共同分享这一时刻。

    Hello, everybody! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. All right, everybody go ahead and have a seat. How is everybody doing today? (Applause.) How about Tim Spicer? (Applause.) I am here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we've got students tuning in from all across America, from kindergarten through 12th grade. And I am just so glad that all could join us today. And I want to thank Wakefield for being such an outstanding host. Give yourselves a big round of applause. (Applause.)

    我知道,对你们中的许多人来说,今天是开学的第一天,你们中的有一些刚刚进入幼儿园或升上初高中,对你们来说,这是在新学校的第一天,因此,假如你们感到有些紧张,那也是很正常的。我想也会有许多毕业班的学生们正自信满满地准备最后一年的冲刺。不过,我想无论你有多大、在读哪个年级,许多人都打心底里希望现在还在放暑假,以及今天不用那么早起床。

    I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it's your first day in a new school, so it's understandable if you're a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now -- (applause) -- with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you're in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer and you could've stayed in bed just a little bit longer this morning.

    我可以理解这份心情。小时候,我们家在印度尼西亚住过几年,而我妈妈没钱送我去其他美国孩子们上学的地方去读书,因此她决定自己给我上课——时间是每周一到周五的凌晨4点半。

    I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived overseas. I lived in Indonesia for a few years. And my mother, she didn't have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school, but she thought it was important for me to keep up with an American education. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday. But because she had to go to work, the only time she could do it was at 4:30 in the morning.

    显然,我不怎么喜欢那么早就爬起来,很多时候,我就这么在厨房的桌子前睡着了。每当我埋怨的时候,我妈总会用同一副表情看着我说:“小鬼,你以为教你我就很轻松?”

    Now, as you might imagine, I wasn't too happy about getting up that early. And a lot of times, I'd fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I'd complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and she'd say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster." (Laughter.)

    所以,我可以理解你们中的许多人对于开学还需要时间来调整和适应,但今天我站在这里,是为了和你们谈一些重要的事情。我要和你们谈一谈你们每个人的教育,以及在新的学年里,你们应当做些什么。

    So I know that some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I'm here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I'm here because I want to talk with you about your education and what's expected of all of you in this new school year.

    我做过许多关于教育的讲话,也常常用到“责任”这个词。

    我谈到过教师们有责任激励和启迪你们,督促你们学习。

    我谈到过家长们有责任看管你们认真学习、完成作业,不要成天只会看电视或打游戏。 Now, I've given a lot of speeches about education. And I've talked about responsibility a lot. I've talked about teachers' responsibility for inspiring students and pushing you to learn.

    I've talked about your parents' responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and you get your homework done, and don't spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with the Xbox.

    我也很多次谈到过政府有责任设定高标准严要求、协助老师和校长们的工作,改变在有些学校里学生得不到应有的学习机会的现状。

    但哪怕这一切都达到最好,哪怕我们有最尽职的教师、最好的家长、和最优秀的学校,假如你们不去履行自己的责任的话,那么这一切努力都会白费。——除非你每天准时去上学、除非你认真地听老师讲课、除非你把父母、长辈和其他大人们说的话放在心上、除非你肯付出成功所必需的努力,否则这一切都会失去意义。

    而这就是我今天讲话的主题:对于自己的教育,你们中每一个人的责任。

    I've talked a lot about your government's responsibility for setting high standards, and supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren't working, where students aren't getting the opportunities that they deserve.

    But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, the best schools in the world -- and none of it will make a difference, none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities, unless you show up to those schools, unless you pay attention to those teachers, unless you listen to your parents and grandparents and other adults and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. That's what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education.

    首先,我想谈谈你们对于自己有什么

    310奥巴马演讲

    责任。

    你们中的每一个人都会有自己擅长的东西,每一个人都是有用之材,而发现自己的才能是什么,就是你们要对自己担起的责任。教育给你们提供了发现自己才能的机会。

    I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. Every single one of you has something that you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide.

    或许你能写出优美的文字——甚至有一天能让那些文字出现在书籍和报刊上——但假如不在英语课上经常练习写作,你不会发现自己有这样的天赋;

    或许你能成为一个发明家、创造家——甚至设计出像今天的iPhone一样流行的产品,或研制出新的药物与疫苗——但假如不在自然科学课程上做上几次实验,你不会知道自己有

    这样的天赋;或许你能成为一名议员或最高法院法官,但假如你不去加入什么学生会或参加几次辩论赛,你也不会发现自己的才能。

    Maybe you could be a great writer -- maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper -- but you might not know it until you write that English paper -- that English class paper that's assigned to you. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor -- maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or the new medicine or vaccine -- but you might not know it until you do your project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a senator or a Supreme Court justice -- but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

    而且,我可以向你保证,不管你将来想要做什么,你都需要相应的教育。——你想当名医生、当名教师或当名警官?你想成为护士、成为建筑设计师、律师或军人?无论你选择哪一种职业,良好的教育都必不可少,这世上不存在不把书念完就能拿到好工作的美梦,任何工作,都需要你的汗水、训练与学习。

    And no matter what you want to do with your life, I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You're going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You cannot drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You've got to train for it and work for it and learn for it.

    不仅仅对于你们个人的未来有重要意义,你们的教育如何也会对这个国家、乃至世界的未来产生重要影响。今天你们在学校中学习的内容,将会决定我们整个国家在未来迎接重大挑战时的表现。

    And this isn't just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. The future of America depends on you. What you're learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

    你们需要在数理科学课程上学习的知识和技能,去治疗癌症、艾滋那样的疾病,和解决我们面临的能源问题与环境问题;你们需要在历史社科课程上培养出的观察力与判断力,来减轻和消除无家可归与贫困、犯罪问题和各种歧视,让这个国家变得更加公平和自由;你们需要在各类课程中逐渐累积和发展出来的创新意识和思维,去创业和建立新的公司与企业,来制造就业机会和推动经济的增长。

    You'll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You'll need the insights and critical-thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You'll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

    我们需要你们中的每一个人都培养和发展自己的天赋、技能和才智,来解决我们所面对的最困难的问题。假如你不这么做——假如你放弃学习——那么你不仅是放弃了自己,也是放弃了你的国家。

    当然,我明白,读好书并不总是件容易的事。我知道你们中的许多人在生活中面临着各种各样的问题,很难把精力集中在专心读书之上。

    我知道你们的感受。我父亲在我两岁时就离开了家庭,是母亲一人将我们拉扯大,有时她付不起帐单,有时我们得不到其他孩子们都有的东西,有时我会想,假如父亲在该多好,有时我会感到孤独无助,与周围的环境格格不入。

    We need every single one of you to develop your talents and your skills and your intellect so you can help us old folks solve our most difficult problems. If you don't do that -- if you quit on school -- you're not just quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country.

    Now, I know it's not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

    I get it. I know what it's like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mom who had to work and who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn't always able to give us the things that other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and I felt like I didn't fit in.

    因此我并不总是能专心学习,我做过许多自己觉得丢脸的事情,也惹出过许多不该惹的麻烦,我的生活岌岌可危,随时可能急转直下。

    但我很幸运。我在许多事上都得到了重来的机会,我得到了去大学读法学院、实现自己梦想的机会。我的妻子——现在得叫她第一夫人米歇尔?奥巴马——也有着相似的人生故事,她的父母都没读过大学,也没有什么财产,但他们和她都辛勤工作,好让她有机会去这个国家最优秀的学校读书。

    So I wasn't always as focused as I should have been on school, and I did some things I'm not proud of, and I got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

    But I was -- I was lucky. I got a lot of second chances, and I had the opportunity to go to college and law school and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, she has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn't have a lot of money. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

    你们中有些人可能没有这些有利条件,或许你的生活中没有能为你提供帮助和支持的长辈,或许你的某个家长没有工作、经济拮据,或许你住的社区不那么安全,或许你认识一些会对你产生不良影响的朋友,等等。

    但归根结底,你的生活状况——你的长相、出身、经济条件、家庭氛围——都不是疏忽学业和态度恶劣的借口,这些不是你去跟老师顶嘴、逃课、或是辍学的借口,这些不是你不好好读书的借口。

    Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don't have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job and there's not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don't feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren't right.

    But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life -- what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you've got going on at home -- none of that is an excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude in school. That's no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. There is no excuse for not trying.

    你的未来,并不取决于你现在的生活有多好或多坏。没有人为你编排好你的命运,在美国,你的命运由你自己书写,你的未来由你自己掌握。

    Where you are right now doesn't have to determine where you'll end up. No one's written your destiny for you, because here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

    而在这片土地上的每个地方,千千万万和你一样的年轻人正是这样在书写着自己的命运。

    例如德克萨斯州罗马市的贾斯敏?佩雷兹(Jazmin Perez)。刚进学校时,她根本不会说英语,她住的地方几乎没人上过大学,她的父母也没有受过高等教育,但她努力学习,取得了优异的成绩,靠奖学金进入了布朗大学,如今正在攻读公共卫生专业的博士学位。

    我还想起了加利福尼亚州洛斯拉图斯市的安多尼?舒尔兹(Andoni Schultz),他从三岁起就开始与脑癌病魔做斗争,他熬过了一次次治疗与手术——其中一次影响了他的记忆,因此他得花出比常人多几百个小时的时间来完成学业,但他从不曾落下自己的功课。这个秋天,他要开始在大学读书了。

    That's what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

    Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn't speak English when she first started school. Neither of her parents had gone to college. But she worked hard, earned good grades, and got a scholarship to Brown University -- is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to becoming Dr. Jazmin Perez.

    I'm thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who's fought brain cancer since he was three. He's had to endure all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer -- hundreds of extra hours -- to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind. He's headed to college this fall.

    又比如在我的家乡,伊利诺斯州芝加哥市,身为孤儿的香特尔?史蒂夫(Shantell Steve)换过多次收养家庭,从小在治安很差的地区长大,但她努力争取到了在当地保健站工作的机会、发起了一个让青少年远离犯罪团伙的项目,很快,她也将以优异的成绩从中学毕业,去大学深造。

    贾斯敏、安多尼和香特尔与你们并没有什么不同。和你们一样,他们也在生活中遭遇各种各样的困难与问题,但他们拒绝放弃,他们选择为自己的教育担起责任、给自己定下奋斗的目标。我希望你们中的每一个人,都能做得到这些。

    And then there's Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods in the city, she managed to get a job at a local health care center, start a program to keep young people out of gangs, and she's on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

    And Jazmin, Andoni, and Shantell aren't any different from any of you. They face challenges in their lives just like you do. In some cases they've got it a lot worse off than many of you. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their lives, for their education, and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

    因此,在今天,我号召你们每一个人都为自己的教育定下一个目标——并在之后,尽自己的一切努力去实现它。你的目标可以很简单,像是完成作业、认真听讲或每天阅读——或许你打算参加一些课外活动,或在社区做些志愿工作;或许你决定为那些因为长相或出身等等原因而受嘲弄或欺负的孩子做主、维护他们的权益,因为你和我一样,认为每个孩子都应该能有一个安全的学习环境;或许你认为该学着更好的照顾自己,来为将来的学习做准备……当然,除此之外,我希望你们都多多洗手、感到身体不舒服的时候要多在家休息,免得大家在秋冬感冒高发季节都得流感。

    That's why today I'm calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education -- and do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending some time each day reading a book. Maybe you'll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you'll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all young people deserve a safe environment to

    篇二:奥巴马演讲 中英对照版

    奥巴马2014年9月6日演讲译文

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is Joe Biden, I’m filling in for President Obama, while he addresses the NATO summit in Wales.

    When the President and I took office in January of 2009, this nation was in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the great depression. Our economy had plummeted at a rate of 8% in a single quarter – part of the fastest economic decline any time in the last half century. Millions of families were falling underwater on their homes and threatened with foreclosure. The iconic American automobile industry was under siege.

    But yesterday’s jobs report was another reminder of how far we’ve come. We’ve had 54 straight months of job creation. And that’s the longest streak of uninterrupted job growth in the United States’ history.

    We’ve gone from losing 9 million jobs during the financial crisis to creating 10 million jobs. We’ve reduced the unemployment rate from 10% in October of 2009 to 6.1% today. And for the first time since the 1990s, American manufacturing is steadily adding jobs – over 700,000 since 2010. And surveys of both American and foreign business leaders confirm that America once again is viewed as the best place in the world to build and invest.

    That’s all good news. But an awful lot of middle class Americans are still not feeling the effects of this recovery. Since the year 2000, Gross Domestic Product – our GDP - has risen by 25%. And productivity in America is up by 30%. But middle class wages during that same time period have gone up by only fourteen cents.

    Folks, it’s long past time to cut the middle class back into the deal, so they can benefit from the economic growth they helped create. Folks, there used to be a bargain in this country supported by Democrats and Republicans, business and labor. The bargain was simple. If an employee contributed to the growth and profitability of the company, they got to share in the profits and the benefits as well. That’s what built the middle class. It’s time to restore the bargain, to deal the middle class back in. Because, folks, when the middle class does well, everybody does well – the wealthy get wealthier and the poor have a way up.

    You know, the middle class is not a number. It’s a value set. It means being able to own your home; raise your children in a safe neighborhood; send them to a good school where if they do well they can qualify to go to college and if they get accepted you’d be able to find a way to be able to send them to college. And in the meantime, if your parents need help, being able to take care of them, and hope to put aside enough money so that your children will not have to take care of you.

    That’s the American dream. That’s what this country was built on. And that’s what we’re determined to restore.

    In order to do that, it’s time to have a fair tax structure, one that values paychecks as much as unearned income and inherited wealth, to take some of the burden off of the middle class. It’s time to close tax loopholes so we can reduce the deficit, and invest in rebuilding America - our bridges, our ports, our highways, rails, providing good jobs.

    With corporate profits at near record highs, we should encourage corporations to invest more in research and development and the salaries of their employees. It’s time for us to invest in educational opportunity to guarantee that we have the most highly skilled workforce in the world, for 6 out of every 10 jobs in the near term is going to require some education beyond high school. Folks, it’s long past due to increase the minimum wage that will lift millions of hardworking families out of poverty and in the process produce a ripple effect that boosts wages for the middle class and spurs economic growth for the United States of America. Economists acknowledge that if we do these and other things, wages will go up and we’ll increase the Gross Domestic Product of the United States.

    My fellow Americans, we know how to do this. We’ve done it before. It’s the way we used to do business and we can do it that way again. All the middle class in this country want is a chance. No guarantee, just a chance.

    Americans want to work. And when given a fair shot, the American worker has never, ever, ever, let his country down. Folks, it’s never a good bet to bet against the American people.

    Thanks for listening.

    译文:

    女士们、先生们,我是拜登,他在威尔士的北约峰会上讲话时,我填补他的空缺。 总统和我在2009年1月就任时,我们国家正处在大萧条以来最严峻的经济危机中。我们的经济在一个季度内以8%的速度跳水--这是在过去的半个世纪内的任何时候都是最快的一次。成千上万的家庭为他们的房子忧心忡忡,他们的房子可以因无法支付月供被没收。美国标志性的汽车工业四面楚歌。

    但是昨天的就业报告成了我们已经取得了多大成就的另一个标志。我们已经连续54个月创造就业岗位了。这是美国历史上最长的一个不间断的就业增长曲线。

    我们从在金融危机时损失了9百万个就业各位走到创造了1千万个就业各位。我们把失业率从2009年10月的10%降低到今天的6.1%。自1990年代以来美国的制造业首次实现稳定地增加就业各位--自2010年以来创造了700,000个就业各位。调查表明美国的和国外的企业领导人都坚信美国又一次成为全世界最好的投资和创业之地。

    这些都是好消息。但是一大批中产阶级美国人还没有感受到复苏的影响。自2000年以来,国内生产总值--我们的GDP--增长了25%。美国的生产力增加了30%。但是中产阶级的工资同期仅仅增长了百分之十四。

    各位,过去很长一段时间的解决方案都减少了中产阶级的利益,所以他们可以分享他们帮助创造的经济增长的实惠。各位,过去我国常常有分别由民主党人和共和党人、企业和劳工支持的契约。这个契约很简单。如果一个雇员为公司的增长和盈利做出了贡献,他们也应该享受相应的利润和福利。中产阶级就是这样形成的。现在是重新履行这个契约的时候了,重新考虑中产阶级。各位,因为中产阶级兴则人人兴--富人更加富裕了,穷人也越来越好了。 众所周知,中产阶级不是一个数字。它是一个价值体。它意味着有你们自己的房子;在一个安全的社区养儿育女;送他们上好的学校,如果他们学习好达到大学要求了,并且大学录取他们了,你有能力供他们上大学。与此同时,如果你的父母需要帮助,你能照顾他们,你可以有足够的存款,这样你的孩子们不必担心你们。

    这就是美国梦。这是我们的立国之本。

    这是我们要坚决恢复的。为了实现这个目标,现在就要设立一个公平的税法体系,这个体系把工资和非工资收入和继承财产同等对待,以减少中产阶级的一些负担。现在是堵塞税收漏洞减少赤字、投资于重建美国的项目--我们的桥梁、我们的机场、我们的公路、铁路、提供好工作的时候了。

    随着大公司利润达到历史最高,我们应该鼓励大公司更多投入研发和他们的雇员们的工资。现在是我们投资于教育机会来保证我们有世界上最高技能的劳动力的时候了,因为近期有6成工作岗位要求高于高中的教育。各位,最低工资已经很久没有提高了,提高最低工资可以使成千上万辛勤工作的家庭脱贫和产生连锁反应提高中产阶级工资和促进美利坚合众国的经济发展。经济学家们承认我们做了这些和其它一些事,工资就会增加,美利坚合众国的GDP就会增长。

    同胞们,我们知道如何实现这些。我们过去已经这样做了。这是我们过去发展的模式,我们可以温故知新。我国的中产阶级需要的是机会。不是保票,而是机会。

    美国人需要工作。如果懂得公平机会,美国工人过去从来没有,现在不会,将来也不会让国

    家衰落。各位,和美国人民打赌从来都不是好赌。 谢谢倾听。

    篇三:奥巴马卸任前的经典演讲——中英文对照

    奥巴马发表告别演讲----中英文全文

    It?s good to be home. My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes we?ve received over the past few weeks. But tonight it?s my turn to say thanks. Whether we?ve seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people – in living rooms and schools; at farms and on factory floors; at diners and on distant outposts – are what have kept me honest, kept me inspired, and kept me going. Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.

    I first came to Chicago when I was in my early twenties, still trying to figure out who I was; still searching for a purpose to my life. It was in neighborhoods not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills. It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss. This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it.

    After eight years as your President, I still believe that. And it?s not just my belief. It?s the beating heart of our American idea – our bold experiment in self-government.

    It?s the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    It?s the insistence that these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing; that We, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union. This is the great gift our Founders gave us. The freedom to chase our individual dreams through our sweat, toil, and imagination – and the imperative to strive together as well, to achieve a greater good.

    For 240 years, our nation?s call to citizenship has given work and purpose to each new generation. It?s what led patriots to choose republic over tyranny, pioneers to trek west, slaves to brave that makeshift railroad to freedom. It?s what pulled immigrants and refugees across oceans and the Rio Grande, pushed women to reach for the ballot, powered workers to organize. It?s why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well.

    So that?s what we mean when we say America is exceptional. Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow.

    Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard, contentious and sometimes bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.

    If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history…if I had told you that

    we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran?s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, and take out the mastermind of 9/11…if I had told you that we

    would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high.

    But that?s what we did. That?s what you did. You were the change. You answered people?s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.

    In ten days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one freely-elected president to the next. I committed to President-Elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me. Because it?s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face.

    We have what we need to do so. After all, we remain the wealthiest, most powerful, and most respected nation on Earth. Our youth and drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention mean that the future should be ours.

    But that potential will be realized only if our democracy works. Only if our politics reflects the decency of the our people. Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.

    That?s what I want to focus on tonight – the state of our democracy.

    Understand, democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders quarreled and

    compromised, and expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity – the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.

    There have been moments throughout our history that threatened to rupture that solidarity. The beginning of this century has been one of those times. A shrinking world, growing inequality; demographic change and the specter of terrorism – these forces haven?t just tested our security and prosperity, but our democracy as well. And how we meet these challenges to our democracy will determine our ability to educate our kids, and create good jobs, and protect our homeland.

    In other words, it will determine our future.

    Our democracy won?t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. Today, the economy is growing again; wages, incomes, home values, and retirement accounts are rising again; poverty is falling again. The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records. The unemployment rate is near a ten-year low. The uninsured rate has never, ever been lower. Health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in fifty years. And if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we?ve made to our health care system – that covers as many people at less cost – I will publicly support it.

    That, after all, is why we serve – to make people?s lives better, not worse.

    But for all the real progress we?ve made, we know it?s not enough. Our economy doesn?t work as well or grow as fast when a few prosper at the expense of a growing middle class. But stark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic principles. While the top one percent has

    amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many families, in inner cities and rural counties, have been left behind – the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and health care worker who struggle to pay the bills – convinced that the game is fixed against them, that their government only serves the interests of the powerful – a recipe for more cynicism and polarization in our politics.

    There are no quick fixes to this long-term trend. I agree that our trade should be fair and not just free. But the next wave of economic dislocation won?t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete.

    And so we must forge a new social compact – to guarantee all our kids the education they need; to give workers the power to unionize for better wages; to update the social safety net to reflect the way we live now and make more reforms to the tax code so corporations and

    individuals who reap the most from the new economy don?t avoid their obligations to the country that?s made their success possible. We can argue about how to best achieve these goals. But we can?t be complacent about the goals themselves. For if we don?t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come.

    There?s a second threat to our democracy – one as old as our nation itself. After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. I?ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were ten, or twenty, or thirty years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.

    But we?re not where we need to be. All of us have more work to do. After all, if every

    economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. If we decline to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don?t look like us, we diminish the prospects of our own children – because those brown kids will represent a larger share of America?s workforce. And our economy doesn?t have to be a zero-sum game. Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women.

    Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, in housing, in

    education and the criminal justice system. That?s what our Constitution and highest ideals require. But laws alone won?t be enough. Hearts must change. If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great

    characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

    For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the

    challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he?s got all the advantages, but who?s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.

    For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn?t suddenly vanish in the ?60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they?re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful

    protest, they?re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.

    For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about

    immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, Italians, and Poles. America wasn?t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; they embraced this nation?s creed, and it was strengthened.

    So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.

    None of this is easy. For too many of us, it?s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that?s out there.

    This trend represents a third threat to our democracy. Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we?ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new

    information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we?ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.

    Isn?t that part of what makes politics so dispiriting? How can elected officials rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschool for kids, but not when we?re cutting taxes for corporations? How do we excuse ethical lapses in our own party, but pounce when the other party does the same thing? It?s not just dishonest, this selective sorting of the facts; it?s

    self-defeating. Because as my mother used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you.

    Take the challenge of climate change. In just eight years, we?ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet. But without bolder action, our children won?t have time to debate the existence

    of climate change; they?ll be busy dealing with its effects: environmental disasters, economic disruptions, and waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary.

    Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to the problem. But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders.

    It?s that spirit, born of the Enlightenment, that made us an economic powerhouse – the spirit that took flight at Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral; the spirit that that cures disease and put a computer in every pocket.

    It?s that spirit – a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primacy of right over might, that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression, and build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or

    national affiliations but on principles – the rule of law, human rights, freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and an independent press.

    That order is now being challenged – first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies, and civil society itself as a threat to their power. The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile. It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what?s true and what?s right.

    Because of the extraordinary courage of our men and women in uniform, and the

    intelligence officers, law enforcement, and diplomats who support them, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years; and although Boston and Orlando remind us of how dangerous radicalization can be, our law enforcement agencies are more effective and vigilant than ever. We?ve taken out tens of thousands of terrorists – including Osama bin Laden. The global coalition we?re leading against ISIL has taken out their leaders, and taken away about half their territory. ISIL will be destroyed, and no one who threatens America will ever be safe. To all who serve, it has been the honor of my lifetime to be your Commander-in-Chief.

    But protecting our way of life requires more than our military. Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are. That?s why, for the past eight years, I?ve worked to put the fight against terrorism on a firm legal footing. That?s why we?ve ended torture, worked to close Gitmo, and reform our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and civil liberties. That?s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans. That?s why we cannot withdraw from global fights – to expand democracy, and human rights, women?s rights, and LGBT rights – no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem. For the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism

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