Barack Obama has to go down in time as the coolest President ever. Not just because he successfully created an aura of simplicity around him, but also because he writes like pro. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, is the second book written by Barack Obama – who was still a senator. The title was gotten from his 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address and, as expected, the book scored multiple bestseller status. In the book, Barack Obama writes with such flair and openness that draws in the reader as a friend or fatherly figure would.
The Audacity of hope talks about the entire political structure of the United States, as well as the personal beliefs of Barack Obama himself and how those values have shaped his entire practice. He goes from the norms and ‘known’ to the ‘unknown’ in this book. In order words, Barack Obama concisely explained the current methodology of the American political system and gave a glimpse of what it ideally should be. In order not to completely override some basic parts of this book, I have decided to review it in parts. The book is as simple as it is complicated – at least for those who are not politically savvy or citizens of the United States as myself. The Audacity of hope is broken down into 9 chapters and is made up of 375 tiny-lettered pages.
This review would be centred on his prologue, and the following chapters:
- Republicans and Democrats
- Our Constitution
I know; the chapters already look like the cut-out from a newspaper article but you would be amazed at the rationality and common sense that Barack Obama put these out with. Needless to say, Barack Obama is one who sets the crown on positivity and optimism. Just as any other person who is not defined but silently shaped by his or her environment, his multicultural background and his educational pursuance all came together to instil in him the things he holds today. He started us off from his journey to politics which began at the Illinois legislature, and how the question about the sound of his name has always been, well, a question. Politician or not, he did well to explain that even politicians are humans. In his prologue, he writes:
“I am angry about policies that consistently favour the wealthy and powerful over average Americans, and insist that government has an important role in opening up opportunity to all. I believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect, and I am suspicious of using government to impose anybody’s religious beliefs – including my own – on nonbelievers.”
On Republicans and Democrats, Barack Obama recounts the political state of affairs of the time. The usual backlash and “dirt-digging” of the opposition party, to the disagreement on the spectrum of issues ranging from LGBT, gun control, and the many individually biased policies that had to meet a common ground for compromise. Regardless of the competitiveness of the folks in the white house, he views the implication of the decisions made by those at the helm of affairs from the perspective of the average person on the receiving end of them all. The party system generally gave or gives no room for outliers. In order words, as a democrat, you have to hate what other democrats hate and love what they love. In his words, both parties simply began developing checklists for orthodoxy, leaving a Democrat who questioned abortion lonely and a Republican who championed gun control marooned.
On Values, Barack Obama recounted his experience, pre-senate and post-senate. From when he was just a simple lecturer to when he became a policy maker. He explained that Values are creeds that should serve as the foundation of the American System. From the declaration of independence to the bill of rights, he believes that our individualism has always been bound by a set of communal values. The abolition of the death penalty, racial bias, and all other subjective perspectives have constantly been debated. This is as a result of the bias of all parties. He went ahead to alienate some particular funny but value-based experiences that affected every rise to the top – including civil right. You would understand if you have read this.
The chapter on constitution shape shifted from the process of law making to the ‘normal’ anomaly of controversy. One particularly interesting thing that caught my attention was the concept of the ‘filibuster’. It simply means this: “because all senate business is conducted by unanimous consent, any senator can bring proceedings to a halt by exercising his right to unlimited debate and refusing to move on to the next order of business. In order words, he can talk. For as long as he wants.” You should already be able to tell the effect of this one piece of the entire constitution and how the process of law making can be completely kept to a halt. He also explained that the constitution is made in an attempt to merge the ideal of individual freedom to the demands of community.
The entire book is loaded with as much information as can be imagined. However, since the review was in part, I would leave whatever criticism I have for this book till the end of the series. I recommend this for those who have a flair for American politics or those who simply want to have a glimpse as to how it works.
You can get this on Amazon.
It was strange enough that I picked a book with principles and political practices that are almost completely different from those I am used to. However, I strongly believe in the necessity of all-round information – no knowledge is a loss. In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama feeds the readers with insight on happenings from both angles of the system.
I rate this part a 4 out of 5. You can give it your own rating below.