Shortly before President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night, I had read New York magazine’s feature on Jon Favreau, the outgoing chief speechwriter of the administration’s first term. The gist of the piece was that Favreau had refashioned favored ideals, aphorisms and anecdotes in several of Obama’s speeches, many germinating from a 2005 commencement speech offered at Knox College in Illinois. As the magazine went back and forth between the commencement speech and later Obama appearances, one quote stood out to me:
“Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition.”
A poverty of ambition. Wow. As I was watching the State of the Union last night, I was reminded of this turn of phrase and realized that, to a large extent, much of Obama’s vision lies in ensuring that the American people do not suffer from this deficit. It’s a powerful message to today’s youthful generation to say that ambition is not equated with dollar signs, but with character. Both Favreau and Obama have hit it out of the park. May we continue to heed their words in the years to come.
For the full text of the State of the Union address, see this link, courtesy of The Atlantic Wire.