Tijdens mijn lange autorit naar het werk beluisterde ik de voorbije week een audioboek: The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, het tweede boek van ex-senator en toekomstig Amerikaans president Barack Obama.
Dit boek, dat in 2006 uitkwam, was een hit in de boekenwinkels en maakte Obama erg populair in de VS. Voor het audioboek, de voorgelezen versie van zijn boek, won hij zelfs een Grammy Award.1
Enkele passages die ik persoonlijk erg mooi of interessant vond.
What every senator also knows as that during the course of a single term, he or she will have cast several thousand votes. That’s a whole lot of potential explaining to do come election time.
Americans can’t compete with China and India simply by cutting costs and shrinking government — unless we are willing to tolerate drastic decline in American living standards, with smog-choked cities, and beggars lining the streets. Nor can America compete simply by erecting trade barriers and raising the minimum wage — unless we’re willing to confiscate all the world’s computers.
I thought of Sasha asking me once what happened when we die — “I don’t want to die, daddy”, she had added matter-of-factly — and I had hugged her and said, “You’ve got a long, long way to go before you have to worry about that,” which had seemed to satisfy her. I wondered whether I should have told her the truth, that I wasn’t sure what happens when we die, any more than I was sure of where the soul resides or what existed before the Big Bang.
Discriminatie en apathie
Most white Americans figure that they haven’t engaged in discrimination themselves and have plenty of their own problems to worry about. They also know that with a national debt approaching $9 trillion and annual deficits of almost $300 billion, the country has precious few resources to help them with those problems.
Such wisdom might help us move beyond ideological bickering and serve as the basis of a renewed effort to tackle the problems of inner-city poverty. We could begin by acknowledging that perhaps the single biggest thing we could do to reduce such poverty is to encourage teenage girls to finish high school and avoid having children out of wedlock. In this effort, school- and community-based programs that have a proven track record of reducing teen pregnancy need to be expanded, but parents, clergy and community leaders also need to speak out more consistently on the issue.
Perspectief en relativeren
One day in February I found myself in particularly good spirits, having just completed a hearing on legislation that Dick Lugar and I were sponsoring aimed at restricting weapons proliferation and the black-market arms trade. […] Wanting to share the good news, I called Michelle from my D.C. office and started explaining the significance of the bill. […] Michelle cut me off.
“I found ants in the kitchen. An in the bathroom upstairs. […] I need you to buy some ant traps on your way home tomorrow. […] Don’t forget, okay, honey?”
I hung up the receiver, wondering if Ted Kennedy or John McCain bought ant traps on the way home from work.
Hoe hij zijn vrouw Michelle leerde kennen
Eventually I wore her down. After a firm picnic, she drove me back to my apartment, and I offered to buy her an ice cream cone at the Baskin-Robbins across the street. We sat on the curb and ate our cones in the sticky afternoon heat, and I told her about working at Baskin-Robbins when I was a teenager and how it was hard to look cool in a brown apron and cap. She told me that for a span of two or three years as a child, she had refused to eat anything except peanut butter and jelly. I said I’d like to meet her family. She said that she would like that. I asked if I could kiss her. It tasted of chocolate.
I understand the impulse to restore a sense of order to a culture that’s constant in flux. And I certainly appreciate the desire of parents to shield their children from values they consider unwholesome; it’s a feeling I often share when I listen to the lyrics of songs on the radio.
Wat belangrijk is in het leven
Malia took another sip of water and kissed me on the cheek. “I’m glad your’re home,” she said.
Heeft nog iemand dit boek gelezen? Lijkt het u interessant om zo’n autobiografie te lezen? Of waarom net niet?