Obama’s ‘Promised Land’ – An inspiring way to start the year

This year, most of us had a very different holiday break.  Stuck in front of our screens, with no opportunity for hugs and socializing, we tried to re-energise ourselves and get ready for the difficult year ahead; we also went through our New Year resolutions in a lonely way. In my case, reading ‘The Promised Land’, by Barack Obama did the trick. Actually, it was the first book that I listened to in a podcast, while going for long walks to London’s beautiful parks. It was probably this combination,  listening to the voice of the orator Obama  and walking in the park,  that managed to make me feel inspired and somehow more prepared to face 2021. 

An obvious lesson learned from the book, was the fact that our lives and our future depends upon politics rather than essence, or reality. Another one, that social change cannot come at once, not in one Presidential term or two may be. It comes in very slow steps. Here are two excerpts of the book that I found most revealing: 

(on environmental reform)

“I thought about how much work we’d had to put in to land the deal—the countless hours of labor by a gifted and dedicated staff; the behind-the-scenes negotiations and calling in of chits; the promises of aid; and finally an eleventh-hour intervention that had relied as much on my seat-of-the-pants bluster as on any set of rational arguments. All that for an interim agreement that—even if it worked entirely as planned—would be at best a preliminary, halting step toward solving a possible planetary tragedy, a pail of water thrown on a raging fire. I realized that for all the power inherent in the seat I now occupied, there would always be a chasm between what I knew should be done to achieve a better“world and what in a day, week, or year I found myself actually able to accomplish.”

Excerpt From: Obama, Barack. “Promised Land (9781524763183)”. Apple Books. 

(on healthcare reform and the impact of luck in politics)  

 “After reviewing his conversations on Capitol Hill, Phil Schiliro said he thought there was still a path to passing a comprehensive law with only Democratic votes, but he admitted that it was no sure thing.

“I guess the question for you, Mr. President, is, Do you feel lucky?”

I looked at him and smiled. “Where are we, Phil?”

Phil hesitated, wondering if it was a trick question. “The Oval Office?”

“And what’s my name?”

“Barack Obama.”

I smiled. “Barack Hussein Obama. And I’m here with you in the Oval Office. Brother, I always feel lucky.”

Excerpt From: Obama, Barack. “Promised Land (9781524763183)”. Apple Books.

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