Saturday, October 22, 2016

What a contrast!

LP note: I was struck by reading this piece by President Obama vs. Donald Trump's rhetoric in the current presidential campaign.

It is too bad that the president is just now, at the tail end of his second term, coming into his own. Not that he hasn't done great stuff. But his naïve optimism at the beginning of his first term was blown apart by the Republican Party and their supporters whose chief goal was not to govern for the betterment of the country and its people, but rather to try to bring him down.

Because of this destructive behavior, they end up with Donald Trump as their candidate. Yes, they got what they deserved.

Today, President Obama is no less smart but he's more wary, more battle-tested and more a realist. And surprisingly, he hasn't lost his optimism, but he realizes that not everyone is onboard with him for their own reasons — faith? power? money? — rather than logic, science and doing good for all — three of the founding pillars of our country.

This piece is an extraordinary example of how a president should think. From reading it you'll wonder what he's going to be doing next, and what impacts he has yet to make on this world.

Now Is the Greatest Time to Be Alive

by President Barack Obama

WHEN WIRED ASKED me to guest-edit the November issue, I didn’t hesitate. I know it’s the height of election season, and I happen to have a day job that keeps me pretty busy. But given the chance to immerse myself in the possibility of interplanetary travel or join a deep-dive conversation on artificial intelligence, I’m going to say yes. I love this stuff. Always have. It’s why my favorite movie of last year was The Martian. Of course, I’m predisposed to love any movie where Americans defy the odds and inspire the world. But what really grabbed me about the film is that it shows how humans—through our ingenuity, our commitment to fact and reason, and ultimately our faith in each other—can science the heck out of just about any problem.

I’m a guy who grew up watching Star Trek—and I’d be lying if I said that show didn’t have at least some small influence on my worldview. What I loved about it was its optimism, the fundamental belief at its core that the people on this planet, for all our varied backgrounds and outward differ­ences, could come together to build a better tomorrow.

I still believe that. I believe we can work together to do big things that raise the fortunes of people here at home and all over the world. And even if we’ve got some work left to do on faster-than-light travel, I still believe science and technology is the warp drive that accelerates that kind of change for everybody.

(The article is here.)

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