Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
On January 28th, President Barack Obama delivered his 5th state of the union address since taking office. In addition to outlining his plans for the coming years, Obama used the opportunity to once again inspire the nation to realize their collective dreams, with some very inspiring quotes.
Obama talked about re-tooling the tax code, increasing the minimum wage, spending more on infrastructure projects, necessary improvements to all levels of education and his desire to use to diplomacy to avoid going into any more costly wars.
It was an impassioned 1-hour speech that focused less on partisan politics, and more on how both sides of the aisle needed to work together to push the nation forward. He characterized 2014 as a year of action. And as diplomatic as he attempted to be, he also made a point of emphasizing he would go it alone if Congress refused to cooperate.
It had humor, drama, and as with most Obama speeches, it was deeply moving and inspirational. One of our favorite quotes of the night came at the very end of his speech, when addressing the heroic story of a serviceman who was seriously injured on his 10th tour in Afghanistan, he said:
I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.
A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.
For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.
Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.
After describing the chilling details of his injury and the slow and painful road to recover he said very simply:
“Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.” – Barack Obama
It was beautifully stated in that way that only Obama can. In fact, our feelings were perfectly summed up in another quote by a CNN contributor who went on to say:
“A speech by Barack Obama is a lot like sex,” said GOP strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos. “The worst there ever was is still excellent.”
Our thoughts exactly.
Below, we celebrate another term of Barack Obama’s presidency with a list of the most powerful, profound and timeless quotes thus far.
Barack Obama Quotes: The 15 Most Inspirational Sayings Of His Presidency:
1) On Change:
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama
2) On The Importance of Hard Work:
“We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential.” – Barack Obama
3) On The Potential Of Americans:
4) On values:
“If we aren’t willing to pay a price for our values then we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in them at all” – Barack Obama
5) On Love:
6) On dizzying celebrity:
I’m so overexposed, I’m starting to make Paris Hilton look like a recluse. – Barack Obama
President Barack Obama joins Stan Verrett at North Carolina A&T University to talk about race, sports and being Undefeated.
7) On Americans Being Able To Make It:
8) On The Pursuit of Higher Education:
“We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.” – Barack Obama
9) On Marriage Equality:
10) On hopelessness
The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. – Barack Obama
11) On Peace:
12) On Money:
“Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.” – Barack Obama
13) On Cynicism:
14) On Dreams and Glass Ceilings:
15) On The American Dream From Last Night’s Address:
My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress – to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. The America we want for our kids – a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us – none of it is easy. But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s within our reach. – Barack Obama
Do you have any favorite Barack Obama sayings or political quotes we may have missed? Let us know in the comments.
Updated May 2016: As a bonus we’ve included the 2016 Howard University commencement speech, itself filled with many inspiring quotes.
image via: jamesomalley