Dreams, Hope, and the
American Political Tradition
BARACK OBAMA UNDERSTANDS the limits of certainty and the limits of compromise. He knows that democratic politics is the art of the possible, in which results are achieved through persuasion and conciliation rather than force. He knows too that religion “insists on the impossible,” and for that reason people of faith often bristle at compromise. But that conflict explains why, in a culture of many religions, preserving the separation of church and state remains as crucial now as it was when Jefferson and Madison first proposed the principle in their native Virginia. Obama’s skepticism has limits: he declares that he is “absolutely sure” about “the Golden Rule, the need to battle cruelty in all its forms,” and “the value of love and charity, humility and grace.”
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Publication information: Book title: Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition. Contributors: James T. Kloppenberg - Author. Publisher: Princeton University Press. Place of publication: Princeton, NJ. Publication year: 2011. Page number: 249.
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