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Still Making Me Smile - Livin' the Good Life

Apr. 3rd, 2009

01:11 pm - Still Making Me Smile

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Here is a slightly edited version (taking out some the "ums" and "you knows" for easier reading) of part of Obama's speech at the Town Hall meeting in Strasbourg, France yesterday. I love how he appeals to the better parts of people.

"You know, there have been times, certainly during the campaign, and there have been times over the last several months, where you feel a lot of weight on your shoulders. There's no doubt about it.

During the campaign, the biggest sacrifice, the thing that was most
difficult, was that I was away from my family all the time. You know,
in addition to being jealous about high-speed rail and the nice trains here, I'm also jealous of the fact that campaigns here only last a few months, whereas in the United States we were running for two years.

So I was away from home all the time. And that was very difficult,
because not only do I have a wonderful wife, but I have two perfect
daughters. (Cheers, applause.) And so, I missed them a lot.
(Applause continues.)

But the nice thing is, now that I'm president, it turns out I
have this really nice office in my house called the Oval Office, and
so -- (laughter) -- it only takes me a few seconds to get
upstairs, and I'm home for dinner every night. You also lose privacy
and autonomy -- or anonymity. You know, it used to be when I came to Europe that I could just wander down to a cafe and sit and have some wine and watch people go by, and, you know, go into a little shop, and watch the sun go down. And now I'm in hotel rooms all the time. And I have security around me all the time. And losing that ability to just take a walk... that is something that is frustrating.

But having said all that, I truly believe that there's nothing more
noble than public service. Now, that doesn't mean that you have to run
for president. (Applause.) But, you might work for Doctors Without Borders, or you might volunteer for an agency, or you might be somebody working for the United Nations, or you might be the mayor of Strasbourg.

Right? I mean, you might volunteer in your own community.

What I found at a very young age was that, if you only think about yourself -- how much money can I make; what can I buy; how nice is my house; what kind of fancy car do I have
-- that over the long term, I think you get bored. (Applause.) I think if you're
only thinking about yourself, your life becomes diminished and that the way to live a full life is to think about, what can I do for others? How can I be a part of this larger project of making a better world?

Now, that can be something as simple as the joy of
taking care of your family and watching your children grow and
succeed.

But I think especially for the young people here, I hope you also
consider other ways that you can serve, because the world has so many
challenges right now. There are so many opportunities to make a
difference. And it would be a tragedy if all of you who are so
talented and energetic, if you let that go to waste, if you just stood
back and watched the world pass you by.

Better to jump in, get involved. And it does mean that sometimes
you'll get criticized, and sometimes you'll fail, and sometimes you'll
be disappointed. But you'll have a great adventure, and at the end of
your life, hopefully you'll be able to look back and say, "I made a
difference."

All right. Thank you, everybody." (Cheers, applause.)