Sayings President Obama Likes Best (2 of 10) + FREE download of Chinese Proverbs ebook (529 pages)

Uploaded by YourVirtualWorld on 21.08.2012

Some of you regularly act upon the wisdom handed down to us by the common people of
ancient times and of today. How refreshing it is to see leaders who know and act upon
the wisdom of the world's greatest proverbs.
There is a Chinese proverb: "Consider the past, and you shall know the future."
Hi everybody, welcome. I’m your host, Binary Mouse and we have another truly fantastic
story to share with you.
Nongho. Good afternoon. It is a great honor for me to be here in Shanghai, and to have
this opportunity to speak with all of you. I'd like to thank Fudan University's President
Yang for his hospitality and his gracious welcome.
There is a Chinese proverb: "Consider the past, and you shall know the future." Surely,
we have known setbacks and challenges over the last 30 years. Our relationship has not
been without disagreement and difficulty. But the notion that we must be adversaries
is not predestined -- not when we consider the past. Indeed, because of our cooperation,
both the United States and China are more prosperous and more secure. We have seen what
is possible when we build upon our mutual interests, and engage on the basis of mutual
And yet the success of that engagement depends upon understanding -- on sustaining an open
dialogue, and learning about one another and from one another. For just as that American
table tennis player pointed out -- we share much in common as human beings, but our countries
are different in certain ways.
I believe that each country must chart its own course. China is an ancient nation, with
a deeply rooted culture. The United States, by comparison, is a young nation, whose culture
is determined by the many different immigrants who have come to our shores, and by the founding
documents that guide our democracy.
Those documents put forward a simple vision of human affairs, and they enshrine several
core principles -- that all men and women are created equal, and possess certain fundamental
rights; that government should reflect the will of the people and respond to their wishes;
that commerce should be open, information freely accessible; and that laws, and not
simply men, should guarantee the administration of justice.
Of course, the story of our nation is not without its difficult chapters. In many ways
-- over many years -- we have struggled to advance the promise of these principles to
all of our people, and to forge a more perfect union. We fought a very painful civil war,
and freed a portion of our population from slavery. It took time for women to be extended
the right to vote, for workers to win the right to organize, and for immigrants from
different corners of the globe to be fully embraced. Even after they were freed, African
Americans persevered through conditions that were separate and not equal, before winning
full and equal rights.
None of this was easy. But we made progress because of our belief in those core principles,
which have served as our compass through the darkest of storms. That is why Lincoln could
stand up in the midst of civil war and declare it a struggle to see whether any nation, conceived
in liberty, and "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal" could long
endure. That is why Dr. Martin Luther King could stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
and ask that our nation live out the true meaning of its creed. That's why immigrants
from China to Kenya could find a home on our shores; why opportunity is available to all
who would work for it; and why someone like me, who less than 50 years ago would have
had trouble voting in some parts of America, is now able to serve as its President. And
that is why America will always speak out for these core principles around the world.
Earlier today Michelle and I visited Moneygall where we saw my ancestral home and dropped
by the local pub. (Applause.) And we received a very warm welcome from all the people there,
including my long-lost eighth cousin, Henry. (Laughter.) Henry now is affectionately known
as Henry VIII. (Laughter.) And it was remarkable to see the small town where a young shoemaker
named Falmouth Kearney, my great-great-great grandfather, my grandfather’s grandfather,
lived his early life. And I was the shown the records from the parish recording his
birth. And we saw the home where he lived.
And he left during the Great Hunger, as so many Irish did, to seek a new life in the
New World. He traveled by ship to New York, where he entered himself into the records
as a laborer. He married an American girl from Ohio. They settled in the Midwest. They
started a family.
It’s a familiar story because it’s one lived and cherished by Americans of all backgrounds.
It’s integral to our national identity. It’s who we are, a nation of immigrants
from all around the world.
But standing there in Moneygall, I couldn’t help but think how heartbreaking it must have
been for that great-great-great grandfather of mine, and so many others, to part. To watch
Donegal coasts and Dingle cliffs recede. To leave behind all they knew in hopes that something
better lay over the horizon.
When people like Falmouth boarded those ships, they often did so with no family, no friends,
no money, nothing to sustain their journey but faith -- faith in the Almighty; faith
in the idea of America; faith that it was a place where you could be prosperous, you
could be free, you could think and talk and worship as you pleased, a place where you
could make it if you tried.
And as they worked and struggled and sacrificed and sometimes experienced great discrimination,
to build that better life for the next generation, they passed on that faith to their children
and to their children’s children -- an inheritance that their great-great-great grandchildren
like me still carry with them. We call it the America Dream. (Applause.)
It’s the dream that Falmouth Kearney was attracted to when he went to America. It’s
the dream that drew my own father to America from a small village in Africa. It’s a dream
that we’ve carried forward -- sometimes through stormy waters, sometimes at great
cost -- for more than two centuries. And for my own sake, I’m grateful they made those
journeys because if they hadn’t you’d be listening to somebody else speak right
now. (Laughter.)
To return to the proverb -- consider the past. We know that more is to be gained when great
powers cooperate than when they collide. That is a lesson that human beings have learned
time and again, and that is the example of the history between our nations. And I believe
strongly that cooperation must go beyond our government. It must be rooted in our people
-- in the studies we share, the business that we do, the knowledge that we gain, and even
in the sports that we play. And these bridges must be built by young men and women just
like you and your counterparts in America.