The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...' --Isaac Asimov
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November 5th, 2008 by eric

acceptance speech (transcript):

This was my favorite part of the speech:

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It can’t happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

It was my favorite because of the starkness by which his ideas stand out from those of our current president, whose worldview suggests that our patriotism is directly proportional to the number of dollars we spend on consumer goods and the number of rights we are willing to take away from our fellow citizens. Our leadership is long overdue in reminding us that it takes more than just dollars to be patriotic, more than just words to get something done. It takes time, energy, commitment, effort, willpower, and leaders that believe genuinely in their sense of civic responsibility, who insist upon representing the interests of their electorate in their entirety. Leaders willing to ask for something from us besides our votes, to take responsibility for our own actions. Leaders willing to ask us to put aside our selfish propensities, and to take the reign of government into our own hands and do something with it. Barack Obama is that kind of leader, and that is why I think he will make a great President. The additional fact that he’s read the Constitution doesn’t hurt either.

ps this guy (from newseek, below) agrees with me, though he talks about sacrifice as if it is something that the President needs to “sell” to the populace. I actually don’t think it needs “selling.” I think we’re sold, we just might not know it yet. After all, we’re not all that unrealistic. Entropy argues that without significant inputs of energy — in the form of warfare — we can’t long maintain the enormous disparities that exist within our country and without, that to achieve peace and prosperity in the long term will require raising the standards of living of billions of people in distant parts of the planet while simplifying and scaling back our own. Some will see this as sacrifice, others will see it as freedom. For the “youth” — those of us who were born after 1978, and who until yesterday had never voted in a presidential election in which George W. Bush was not running — this may come as a shock, because nothing like it has ever been asked of us. But I think we’re up to it. Ask and ye shall receive.

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