"Now this is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, and they get engaged, and they come together to demand it.""...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."
"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, it’s what pushed women to reach for the ballot, it’s what 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."
", the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy... The peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next."
"Our youth, our drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention means that the future should be ours. But that potential will only be realized if our democracy works. Only if our politics better reflects the decency of our people. Only if all of us, regardless of party affiliation or particular interests, help restore the sense of common purpose, that we so badly need right now. That's what I want to focus on . The state of our democracy."
"Understand, democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders argued, they quarreled, eventually they compromised, they 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're all in this together. That we rise or fall as one."
"Because that, after all, is why we serve. Not to score points or take credit. But to make people's lives better. But for all the real progress that 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 and ladders for folks who want to get into the middle class."
"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 codes so our corporations and individuals who reap the most from this new economy don't avoid their obligations to the country that’s made their very success possible."
"If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves."
"That is what our Constitution and our highest ideals require. But laws alone won't be enough."
"Hearts must change. They won't change overnight. Social attitudes oftentimes take generations to change. But, if our democracy is to work the way it should in this increasingly diverse nation, then each one of us needs to try to heed the advice of a great character 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 minority groups, that means tying our own very real struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face, not only the refugee or the immigrant or the rural poor or the transgender American, but also the middle-aged white guy who, from the outside, may seem like he's got advantages but has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological change.""We have to pay attention and listen."