We, the people — recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only, what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.In an interview with Michael Scherer that was published a couple of weeks later, he talked about what he was thinking about if he was to win a second term.
As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That's what we believe.
There are a handful of big issues that we’re going to have to deal with...And then yesterday, in his commencement speech to the graduates of Ohio State University, the President said this:
But for me to get those accomplished, I do think I’m going to need to bring in the voices of the American people much more systematically, much more regularly.
Finding the right mechanisms to do that is something that we’re going to spend a lot of time thinking about.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we can keep this idea of citizenship in its fullest sense alive at the national level — not just on Election Day, not just in times of tragedy, but all the days in between. And perhaps because I spend a lot of time in Washington, I’m obsessed with this issue because that sense of citizenship is so sorely needed there...Of course, Organizing for Action is one avenue he is offering for citizens to engage. But its obvious that President Obama's mind is still at work on this one. I have a hunch we'll be hearing MUCH more about this during his second term.
I think about how we might perpetuate this notion of citizenship in a way that another politician from my home state of Illinois, Adlai Stevenson, once described patriotism not as “short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” That’s what patriotism is. That’s what citizenship is...
So briefly, I’ll ask for two things from the Class of 2013: to participate, and to persevere.