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The rebirth of American pragmatism/non-foundationalism

Paul Grobstein's picture


Barack Obama's speech in Denver, 29 August, 2008, excerpted with annotations
(see Paths to Story Telling as Life)


through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that’s the essence of America’s promise.

The business of public life is to make possible the exploration of new directions, individually and collectively.

We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose – our sense of higher purpose. And that’s what we have to restore.

you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

The business of public life is to get it less wrong. Fuschia dots have an essential role in that process on a collective scale, as do all individuals. The test is in the future, not in the past.

we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

To get it less wrong, we must trust in our capacity, individually and collectively, to conceive and achieve what we has not yet been.