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But our success is only possible because we have never treated those self-evident truths as self-executing. Generations of Americans have marched, organized, petitioned, fought and even died to extend those rights to others; to widen the circle of opportunity for others; and to perfect this union we love so much.
President Obama offered up an Independence Day greeting to listeners in his weekly address, one day earlier than usual, that focused on American ideals, its founders, its military, its promise and ... the U.S. Men's Soccer Team.
I want to begin today by saying a special word to the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, who represented America so well the past few weeks. We are so proud of you. You’ve got a lot of new believers. And I know there’s actually a petition on the White House website to make Tim Howard the next Secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel’s got that spot right now, but if there is a vacancy, I’ll think about it.
On a more serious note, he reflected on the lives and ideals of the men who came together to form a new nation:
It was 238 years ago that our founders came together in Philadelphia to launch our American experiment. There were farmers and businessmen, doctors and lawyers, ministers and a kite-flying scientist.

Those early patriots may have come from different backgrounds and different walks of life. But they were united by a belief in a simple truth – that we are all created equal; that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But as the opening quote to this post shows, he emphasized that those rights are not "self-executing," and that it is up to Americans today, as it has been up to generations before our own, to fight to make these rights more than just aspirational for all Americans.

He closed with thanks to those who serve in America's military, and wishes for a great holiday weekend for us all. To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
July 5, 2014

Hi, everybody. I hope you're all having a great Fourth of July weekend.

I want to begin today by saying a special word to the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, who represented America so well the past few weeks. We are so proud of you. You’ve got a lot of new believers. And I know there’s actually a petition on the White House website to make Tim Howard the next Secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel’s got that spot right now, but if there is a vacancy, I’ll think about it.

It was 238 years ago that our founders came together in Philadelphia to launch our American experiment. There were farmers and businessmen, doctors and lawyers, ministers and a kite-flying scientist.

Those early patriots may have come from different backgrounds and different walks of life. But they were united by a belief in a simple truth – that we are all created equal; that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Over the years, that belief has sustained us through war and depression; peace and prosperity. It’s helped us build the strongest democracy, the greatest middle class, and the most powerful military the world has ever known. And today, there isn’t a nation on Earth that wouldn’t gladly trade places with the United States of America.

But our success is only possible because we have never treated those self-evident truths as self-executing. Generations of Americans have marched, organized, petitioned, fought and even died to extend those rights to others; to widen the circle of opportunity for others; and to perfect this union we love so much.

That’s why I want to say a special thanks to the men and women of our armed forces and the families who serve with them – especially those service members who spent this most American of holidays serving your country far from home.

You keep us safe, and you keep the United States of America a shining beacon of hope for the world. And for that, you and your families deserve not only the appreciation of a grateful nation, but our enduring commitment to serve you as well as you’ve served us.

God bless you all.  And have a great weekend.

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Comment Preferences

  •  how's that latino outreach going, gop? (6+ / 0-)

    i'm sickened by those bus protesters

  •  Isn't it ironic (or something) that our country (9+ / 0-)

    can send young men and women around the globe to fight, AND in some cases DIE, to protect freedom for the people of Afghanistan and its neighbors at a financial cost in the trillions of dollars, while some would have us deny assistance to a few hundred children from Guatemala?

    The relatively poor and sometimes demonized country of Syria took in more than a million refugees (mostly women and children) fleeing from Iraq while we bombed Iraqi  towns and homes, yet we can't spare the resources to care for a few hundred child refugees from Guatemala?

    Really?

    "Portion of the adolescent prisoners in solitary on Rikers Island who have been diagnosed with a mental illness: 7/10." Tell someone.

    by RJDixon74135 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 07:15:38 AM PDT

    •  what planet are you from again? (0+ / 0-)
      to protect freedom for the people of Afghanistan and its neighbors
      http://original.antiwar.com/...

      I get the part about feeding children, but it really isn't that simple. Our MIC budget comes first no matter which Party is currently ruling to roost.

    •  bananas vs. oil (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RJDixon74135

      is it clearer now?

      actually, the sadder truth is that we've never been shy about sending lawyers, guns and money to central america in order to slaughter peasants in behalf of banana merchants, a fact not incidental to the unwelcomed arrival at our borders of so many of their citizens.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:13:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama salutes soccer, just like a good Mooslim, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I love OCD, mjbleo, skillet, bananapouch1

    right? ;P
    #SoccerShariah

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 07:19:03 AM PDT

  •  Men's soccer? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bananapouch1

    Impeach him!  NOW!

  •  It's not self-executing is the important point. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, Sybil Liberty, aimeehs

    Constant vigilance is part of the price of democracy, and most people ignore that reality.  This year is critical for GOTV, educating and building enthusiasm.  I do not care that Democrats aren't perfect.  I'm tired of the standard caveats.  If Conservatives had prevailed we would still be a British Colony.  We'd still be promoting slavery, women would still be chattel, white landowners would be the only people voting.  Look at what I just wrote and let it sink in that 238 years later that's exactly what today's Conservatives are fighting for.  This isn't a small skirmish.  Google pictures of Kabul in the 60s.  Women in modern clothing, in bookstores, free to move about the city.  Now remember acid being thrown at fully veiled young girls going to school.  It can happen here.  That's the dream of Conservative Christians.  The American Taliban isn't a cute phrase it's a serious warning.  Anyone who sits back and whines about Dems just not being Good enough to work for electing is clueless.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 07:36:05 AM PDT

    •  nearly 4 decades later-Paul Simon performs A-tune (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I love OCD

      @ 2011 induction to Academy of Arts and Sciences

      ...and still trying to get some rest - "Eternal vigilance..."

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 08:04:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You wrote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TJ
      I do not care that Democrats aren't perfect.
      Non-perfection is to be expected of human endeavors.  No serious political calculus uses perfection as a threshold.  Redherring.

      But that begs the question: To what standard should we hold Democrats?  Nearly three and a half decades of "Democrats are not as bad as Republicans" has got us to the Democratic partisans' rallying cry of "it could be worse."

      How's mediocrity workin' for us 99ers?  By my gauge, "it could be better."

      If not through pressure from wonky-types, like people that post on this website, then by what mechanism does the Democratic Establishment abandon Economic Royalism and Military Empire?

      The only reason the 1% are rich is because the 99% agree they are.

      by GreatLakeSailor on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 09:09:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's the deal. The doggiest Blue Dog (4+ / 0-)

        votes with Dems in Congress 98% of the time.  The 50 State Strategy requires that we compromise with our desires.  Read George Washington on the 3 principles we must hold to if this noble experiment is to succeed.  No one will ever be the President I fully support on every issue.  No one will be the...fill in office.  What I posted is the core issue here- Conservatives have been wrong every single time there was a push for rights.  Every. Single. Time.  Liberals have fought for those rights every single time and we've won, after losing many initial skirmishes.  This remains a center-left nation.  How is that NOT an enormous win?  How is it we're NOT celebrating this?  A wholly sold out media, billions in bribes, a party that lies incessantly, endlessly, loudly and we're still not Nazi Germany on steroids.  That's a fucking miracle.  

        Depressing turnout in elections is probably not our best tactic.  We blew it badly during the ACA debates by chasing the Blue Dog red herring instead of focusing on the best bill to come out of of the committees.  And now spend huge amounts of energy blaming Obama that the ACA wasn't better and stronger.  

        In 2008 Obama kept saying "You are the change you've been waiting for."  Did we leverage that?  No.  Mostly what I hear is complaints about Obama not being the "change I voted for".  Really?  So we have no skin in the game we just roll out of our Barcaloungers every 4 years and vote for the guy who might have the magic wand?  

        Texas is your model, folks.  4 years ago we didn't have enough good Dems to fill the lines on ballots.  Battleground Texas, using OFA skills, is changing that.  The Democrats in Texas are on the ground.  Every state needs that kind of commitment, then you'll be able to elect Democrats you can be proud of.  In the meantime try to avoid the apathy that gives us Rick Scott, Scott Walker, Louis Gohmert, Paul Ryan.  

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 09:41:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Legally, this is not a center-left nation by any (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GreatLakeSailor

          stretch of the imagination.

          Demographically -- if people were able to actually connect their values to the realities of policy, rather than the mythologies of policy -- then, yes, we would be center-left.

          Most Americans, for example, probably believe that workers should enjoy almost all of the protections whose advocacy and implementation are the natural purview of unions. Nonetheless, most Americans are anti-union, because they've been told that unions are something other than what they are.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:30:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But so what? Take away their weekends (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sybil Liberty

            and they'll change their tune.  The states with the best employment numbers are the ones that raised the minimum wage.  Not all 50 did it, Congress punted because of Republican greed.  It's still happening.  Equal rights for GLBTQs, state by state.  Blue states are thriving, Red states aren't.  When it's your wallet, people tend to overcome propaganda and get it.  Let's see how many of the Tea Party Govs lose in 2014, then we'll have a better sense of left vs right.

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 05:07:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Hope you had a good holiday. (0+ / 0-)

          That's a lot of verbiage...

          I'm not sure why you are spending time arguing the D's are better than R's; L's are better than C's.  I didn't realize that was in dispute.  I certainly didn't raise that issue.

          It is curious that your summation again falls to, essentially, “Hey, it could be worse; we should celebrate!!”

          I do find a little incredible your claim that no Blue Dog Dem defects more than 2% of the time (defect from the Dem Establishment or from the economic interests of the 99ers is a question of far greater importance, but I'll assume you mean from the Dem Establishment).  Have you looked at Matheson, McIntyre or any of these folks listed in this diary?

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          Of course all of this is ignoring that a percentage-adherence-metric is a poor evaluation tool.  Hell,if I were in Congress my percent adherence to Dem Establishment would be well below 98%: I wouldn't have voted for the NDAA with habeas corps suspension, I wouldn't have voted for the Farm bill that gives $15 billion more (more, extra, above!!) than the President asked to Giant Farming Conglomerates while cutting nutritional assistance to our most vulnerable citizens by $9 billion, I wouldn't have voted to buy 52 new Littoral ships when the Pentagon asked for 32, I would not vote to renew the “patriot” act, NSA dragnet spying, and FISA court without some very serious overhauling.  I could go on and on.  Percentage adherence ignores the subject of the vote and the subject of the vote is kinda important.

          So help me out here.  I asked, “If not through pressure from wonky-types...then by what mechanism...”

          You answer in the case Obama, “Did we leverage that? No”  I have to admit, I really don't know what you mean.  Leverage what/how?  Mass protests when he chose Wall Street insiders Jack Lew, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner for economic leaders?  Or Wall Street lawyer Eric Holder to go clean up Wall Street after it crashed our economy?  Or telecommunications insider Tom Wheeler to police his former associates?  Or secret "free" trade deals like TPP, or the breaking of his campaign pledge to revisit NAFTA?

          What mechanism/opportunity are you claiming was missed such that ethical choices were made instead of the grotesque conflict of interest, corporate insider, revolving door appointments, complete with perfectly predictable results, that were made?

          The only reason the 1% are rich is because the 99% agree they are.

          by GreatLakeSailor on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 08:23:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  In the GOP response, (0+ / 0-)

    Rep. JoeBob Sheeplicker, R-Teabaggistan, accused Obama of celebrating the 4th simply as a means of drawing attention away from Benghazi. "We all know the 4th was ordained by Jesus and, as a Mooslum, Barak Hussein Obama is simply putting another charge in our soon-to-be-introduced impeachment plans", said Sheeplicker. He added "Besides, if he is for the 4th, we have to be agin it and that won't look so good to our Rascal brigade supporters".

    Oh my god, it's full of cheese! - 2001 first draft

    by sizzzzlerz on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 08:04:33 AM PDT

  •  Such an odd sentiment about Constitutional rights (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreatLakeSailor

    Americans are weary of having political leaders playing games, taking away hard won fundamental rights just to watch us fight to regain them. What kind of political leaders plot to place increasingly difficult barriers to basic rights as if the nation's citizens are rats in a maze, something to be toyed with? It's one thing to fight a foreign enemy to protect your rights, quite another matter when democratically elected leaders become the opponents to freedom. It's not an evolutionary or productive exercise. Quite the opposite, its regressive, destructive.

    From privacy rights to public education to Social Security cuts, privatization of government,  unfair taxation, consumer abuse, voting, labor and civil rights, domestic political corruption is tearing down everything we fought for over the last 200 years.  And now we have to tolerate a POTUS telling us its some sort of character-building experience?

    That's contemporary corporate leadership thinking for you. Focus on manipulating and abusing resources for more profit while producing inferior products.

    No thanks, not buying it.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 08:11:28 AM PDT

  •  Pres. Obama's eyes look a little bit as if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mikeVA

    he is so tired of it all that he had started already to "relax" for the weekend. Well, he deserves a break and a little drink and may be today a good steak.

    ....And today, there isn’t a nation on Earth that wouldn’t gladly trade places with the United States of America...

    Right on, Mr. President, but make a left turn first.

    We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

    by mimi on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 08:34:59 AM PDT

    •  The problem with this kind of statement: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myrmecia gulosa
      ... And today, there isn’t a nation on Earth that wouldn’t gladly trade places with the United States of America ...
      is that it's silly tribalist nonsense. Even if it made sense -- which it doesn't  -- it would be nonsense.

      There are almost certainly several countries whose citizens, voting in concert, would not choose to accept for themselves our social conditions or our international sociopathology.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:20:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah, everybody knows that, but it's not (0+ / 0-)

        necessary to point it out. President Obama himself knows it, you can clearly hear that, if you have listened to him for years.

        Just let it go. One of thousands of rhetorical phrases in hundreds of speeches all saying not much. Why point out what everyone knows ? It's not necessary and adds to the pain of many.

        We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

        by mimi on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 05:05:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why point it out? (0+ / 0-)

          Because tribalism is going to be the end of us all. I don't know who this "everybody" is that you are talking about, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't include most of the American population.

          The ability to believe such obvious fallacies as that "America is the Bestest Evah" is part and parcel of the ability to believe a whole lot of other lies:

          A. That we have the best health care system.
          B. That we have the most freedom;.
          C. That the terrorists hate us for our freedom.
          D. That we live in a meritocracy, in which hard work is rewarded and poor people are poor because they lack certain virtues.

          ... while denying a whole lot of other obvious truths:

          E. That serving in our armed forces means killing people who are not "our" enemies in the service of people who are not "our" friends, and that it is damned hard to locate the honor in that.
          F. That the world is warming, it is our fault, and the consequences will be hellacious.
          G. That property is an unnatural fiction, representing the single greatest constraint there is on personal liberty, and that as such, it is subject to whatever limitations please those of us who create the property by encoding the fiction in our laws.
          H. That the suffering of non-humans matters.
          I. That we have absolutely no idea how dangerous it might be for us to have saturated our environment with plastics that are slowly degrading from large polymers into nanoscopic multimers.
          J. That we are rapidly consuming the available water, and when it is gone billions of humans will starve.
          K. That allowing farmers to pour antibiotics into animal feed is destroying the effectiveness of the antibiotics, with eventual result that hundreds of millions of humans will die of common infections. why the fuck is this still legal when everybody knows what a horrifyingly bad idea it is?
          L. Etc. etc. etc.

          Living in a world of delusions is a bad fucking idea, and those of us who aren't under the spell shouldn't just dumbly nod along

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 06:21:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Sweaty, the heat was crazy on July 2 in Va-DC (0+ / 0-)

    I wanted every politician in DC to stand outside for an hour on July 2nd. The air was stagnant and must have approached 100F. And it was even more crazy on the third.

    I ran in the afternoon. Some strange cold front happened. It was blazing hot and then rain and then the temperature dropped abruptly. It must have dropped at least 15 to 20 degrees.

  •  In our nation's history... (0+ / 0-)

    there have been many times where we have come close to attaining "The Simple Truths" our forefathers envisioned, that President Obama enumerated in his brief address this morning.
    Sadly, they have never seemed farther away, appearing less-attainable than they do today..
    The State Of Our Union has been created in large part over the course of the last 30 years or so by republican doctrine, and [in]action.
    They have seen to it that we have become ever more divided,  farther removed from 'A Perfect Union'.
    The latest manifestations of this sad reality have been carried out by our Supreme Court.
    Businesses are now being treated as religious institutions, corporations as people, and actual people, little more than disposable annoyances, standing in the way of the elite, who wish to extract as much wealth as possible from the country, and tuck it away safely off-shore for their own benefit.
    This situation is untenable, yet can be reversed.
    However, it will take a sustained effort of genuine activism carried out tirelessly over many election cycles...
    Starting this November.
    Will we rise to the challenge?

    "These 'yet to be, United States."
      --James Baldwin--

  •  Only in the game of soccer could a team that (0+ / 0-)

    went 1-2-1 inspire such nationalist pride  ...

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 11:53:31 AM PDT

  •  Yawn. (0+ / 0-)

    Blah blah blah flags blah blah old white men that started the country blah blah men's sports blah blah blah.

    Now do something about women's healthcare.

    Color ME not fired up for America at the moment.

  •  This right here..... (0+ / 0-)

    "But as the opening quote to this post shows, he emphasized that those rights are not "self-executing," and that it is up to Americans today, as it has been up to generations before our own, to fight to make these rights more than just aspirational for all Americans."

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