President Obama in Newark spoke yesterday with passion and compassion about the plight of those re-entering the community after having served their time in prison. These were heart-felt and intelligent sentiments not often heard through today’s fog of divisive politics and posturing debate comments. It was like a breath of fresh air from a president often stymied by a dysfunctional congress, but determined to do what he can. It was in sharp contrast with our governor who has frequently espoused similar ideas but now feels constrained to veer to the right and even demean the president.
It was a speech that lifted the hearts of often dispirited residents in Newark. It was speech that provided examples of real people who have turned their lives around. It was a speech that showed how community members can help themselves by helping those most in need.
President Obama ended his presentation noting that up-front we need more efforts in housing, jobs, schools and college affordability. “But it is not too late. With help there are people who have gone through tough times, have made mistakes, but they can get on the right path. That’s what we have to invest in. That’s what we have to believe. That’s what we have to promote. That’s why I am so proud of what Newark is doing and that’s what I hope everyone will do.”
In the midst of frequent doom and gloom, this was our “Happy Warrior” President, shining a bright light in dark corner, urging a new path, and asking for the the best in all of us.