President Obama's Joplin, MO Commencement Speech: The Power Of Community

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President Obama spoke at the high school commencement Monday night about the power of community, the "bigness of spirit," and the value of unity.

The gist of his message centered on how a community set aside its differences to come together and rebuild after the tornado that nearly wiped out the entire city. His themes touched on the "power of shared effort," and forging a new vision when everything seems hopeless. His primary themes of hope and community are woven throughout the entire twenty minutes. I thought it was an inspiring and touching speech. If it needs a summation, it is his statement that "we are better together than on our own."

At one point in the speech, he mentioned that right after the tornado, the community came together for a meeting and each person was given a Post-it note to write down what their vision was for the community. 1500 Post-its later, there is a wall with all of them on it, and architects are following the suggestions for the rebuilding process. The President quipped, "I'm thinking of trying it with Congress! Give them some Post-it notes."

In a climate where cynicism and negativity seems to rule the day, it's worth taking the twenty minutes to watch this and no matter what you think of the man, his message is true, and it does not depend on him. For me, it's worth remembering that I do this thing, writing, researching, sharing -- blogging -- because I want a record that says we truly are better together than we are alone, and working toward that goal every day is worth enduring the negative and the cynical.

I hope it inspires you today, at least a little bit.


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