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PHILIPPINE NORMAL UNIVERSITY

National Center for Teacher Education Taft Avenue, Manila

In Partial Fulfillment for the course

SS 503 DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS FOR TEACHERS


during 2nd Semester, School Year 2011 - 2012 Under the supervision of Prof. Jerick Ferrer Presents this

BOOK REVIEW:

THE AUDACITY OF HOPE Barack Obama

by: LEMARK BERNAL VILORIA MA Ed Social Science BOOK REVIEW THE AUDACITY OF HOPE Barack Obama
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The Audacity of Hope is a call for new kind of politics a politics that build upon those shared understandings that pull us together as Americans. Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope This book was written by then a junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. He wrote this book on his platforms as a senator, way before he announced his ambition to run as the President of the United States of America. The discussions on this book are more of political model, not purely on the economic theories that he wanted to implement but this book more so, discussed the development of new American politics, interweaving on economic and social progress the new kind of politics that he wanted to mature. The book has nine (9) chapters each discussing a theme for American progress. Obama was elected as President of United States of America last Nov. 10, 2008.

I. REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS Summary: This chapter discusses the very soul of American politics today: the lines drawn between how Republicans and Democrats are working to achieve new political heights in a diverse American culture. The chapter envisions a government that truly represents Americans in an new kind of politics. Obama discusses how this need ultimately transforms both parties in the attempt to underscore political affinity. He also discussed the gap between the magnitudes of challenges that needed to be faced to the smallness of their politics. In the end, envisioned the maturity of American politics, where both parties can balance idealism and realism, where they can distinguish what can and cannot be compromised, and to admit the possibility that the other side might sometimes have a better point.

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Themes: A. The division of politics makes the country divided, and so Washington was divided. B. The magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics has widening gap, that is caused by the division of politics, between ideological, beliefs, values of the parties. C. A government that truly represents these Americans will require a different kind of politics - where we share common hopes and common dreams. Reaction: The political parties of the United States of America are clearly defined where the Big Government Democrats versus the Small Government Republicans, where the political affinity of each government official are strong and turncoats are almost unheard of, where the influence of the party lingers on the each decision and loyalty are rewarded of. In our country, where politics run off in our everyday lives, the political affiliations of our government officials are not defined by their political philosophies, but of loyalty to one person, or loyalty to whom is seated in the Palace. It is normal for Filipinos to see Congressmen or Senators to shift political parties when elections are near or when a political leader has been prosecuted. Theres neither party loyalty nor party philosophy to speak of, but of loyalty to a certain person, and to his/her power.

II. VALUES Summary: This chapter discusses how politics and policies are being shaped through a system of American values that needed to be enhanced or be changed. He enumerated these values such as party loyalty (where the imperative of campaign promises and gratitude to their campaign donors still stands as a conflict to what each politician believe really believe in which he states is overly amplified especially in Washington.
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He also surmised that his party mates were aghast to his belief that he finds George Bush not as a bad man, but a president who thinks he is doing right for his country.), moral values (He enumerated a number of issues where politics are concerned, especially during campaigns such as gay marriage, tax cuts for the wealthy, national security, and health care. He believes that the language of the values help create the map where American lives today. He also believes that the heart of politics should be the moral values where it should be the cornerstone of any meaningful debates.), individual freedom (where these rights are bundled with us when we are born that cant be taken away without due and just cause.), and good manners (when the very foundation of all values starts at home, where each person should learn what is right and what is wrong. Good manners, such as when saying thank you and please should come as natural as we are. These are the values that are so important that it cannot be regulated or legislated but is taught at home. For Obama, losing this is losing the true American way of life.) He also argued the competence, empathy and sense of mutual understanding are important American values that cannot be forgotten.

Themes: A. Most rich people want the poor to succeed, and most of the poor are both more self-critical and hold higher aspirations than the popular culture allows.
B. Values should be the heart of politics, the cornerstone of any

meaningful debate about budgets and projects, regulations and policies. C. The value of equal opportunity and non-discrimination complements rather than impinge on our liberty.

Reaction: In a traditional Filipino home, learning the words po and opo are important values that needs to be taught to children. It is the prime example of value formation in a traditional Filipino culture. I believe that the formation of a well-mannered man starts from his own home that
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needs to be taken cared for by his/her parents and family. In a sense, these values shall transcend to his community, and his community to the whole country. I agree with Obamas assumption that the foundation of politics should be values, as it moves the society to a far reaching height. Party loyalty should just come in last when the government decisions and actions come to the center. It should be our value that decides the matter in government actions.

III.OUR CONSTITUTION Summary: This chapter discussed the heart of American politics: the Constitution of the United States. As with any constitution, he acknowledges debates that the constitution is a fixed document to be taken word for word, but he believes that the constitution is a living document to be interpreted by the Supreme Court justices. He also acknowledges that the constitution was designed to force conversation as a deliberative democracy, were every citizen is required to engage in a process of testing their ideas against reality. He summarized that the Constitution should be a road map where the passions of individual freedom and communal demands should be marry their ideas. He started and ended this chapter with a conversation with a senior senator from Virginia, Robert Byrd, where the senator discussed the importance of reading and understanding, but most of all learning the heart and soul of the Constitution. Themes: A. One view of the Constitutions is that it is not a static document but rather a living one, and must be read in the context of the everchanging world.
B. Democracy is not a house to be built, but rather a conversation to be

had. Our constitution are designed to force us into a conversation, a deliberative democracy in which all citizens are required to engage in a process of testing their ideas against an external reality. Reaction:
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The Constitution is the highest form of law in a land, where all powers and all other law emanates. There can be no other law or person or office that can overpower the Constitution. I agree with Obamas view that the Constitution is a living document, to be interpreted based on the social need of today. In our country, where politics and politicking are two different things, (as will be defined in later chapters reaction), having this same view as Obamas is a very dangerous line that we must tread. It can result in the collapse of our institutions. However, we must face the same deliberative democracy that is embodied in the road to a true democracy. In our country, its like playing with fire.

IV.POLITICS Summary: In this chapter, Obama continued his discussion with politics, but divulges the extent of political affinity with regards to his first three chapters. The problem with their politics is when the political party clashes with their personal values, whereas they attribute the quality of their politics with the quality of their politicians. However, in order to increase the efficacy of the political process, Obama asserts that political candidates should not vow their loyalty to any special interest group, especially during election times. Aside from those interest groups, there are other forces that work their way to politics organized groups, lobbyist, and individual contributions. He asserted they must loosen the grip on the trappings of power in order to foster the kind of dynamic, discursive government that best serves the needs of the constituency. Another evidence on this patronage politics is the supposedly name-term for a senior politicians, such as Godfather a sign of respect, patronage and / or fear for the political boss. I believe on Obamas view that we should lose the grip of influence by either lobbyist or even patronage politics, as it may clash with our personal value against their wishes for favorable policies. We, the people, must act as guardians against this. Themes: A. It is an American tradition to attribute the problem without politics to the quality of our politicians the President is a moron, or Congressman So-and-so.
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B. Legislation is a product of one hundred compromises, large and small

blend of legitimate policy aims, political grandstanding, jerry-rigged regulatory schemes, and old-fashioned pork barrels. Reaction: The discussions in this chapter are purely political, the influences of contributors and lobbyist are strong in the United States, unlike in our country. Although there are some lobbyists, their political presence is not somewhat too attached, because as I have already mentioned, we are a politics of patronage. As mentioned in the previous chapters reaction, politics and politicking are two different things: our politics are a set of policy that do not have strong ideological positions on each topic, but rather, our politicians are engaged in politicking or patronage politics. And for unfortunate reasons, the latter is stronger on our political spectrum that it can even stop or start an impeachment of an official. These are two different things loyalty, so as to remind our politicians of whom they really owe their political power.

V. OPPORTUNITY Summary: This chapter discussed Obamas view on the economy. He surmised the unique purchasing power between suburb American to the likes of Silicon Valley and Beverly Hills were houses and lots are between few hundred thousand dollars to hundred million dollars. This situation reflects the American economy as based on the free market, he also sees three important roles to be played by government (1) providing infrastructure, including education, science and technology, and energy independence), (2) regulating the market, and (3) help structure the social compact between business and the American workers. For Obama, he doesnt believe in the Ownership Society, but rather to a Welfare Society reflected in his three pillars of social insurance: finding a job, package of health and retirement benefits and establishing government safety nets, such as social security, unemployment insurance, bankruptcy and pension protections. Themes:
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A. Globalization has brought significant benefits to American consumers. It has helped keep inflation in check, boosted returns for the millions of American, and provided new markets for American goods and services. But it has also brought economic instability to millions of Americans. It has forced US-based companies to be automated, downsized, outsourced and offshored. B. Free trade has served the interest of Wall Street but has done little to stop the hemorrhaging of good-paying American jobs. C. The Constitution has placed ownership of private property at the very heart of the system of liberty, and that laissez-faire is the default rule for economic growth. The bankruptcy of Communism and Socialism as alternative means of economic organization has only reinforced those assumptions. D. Alexander Hamilton recognized the vast potential for economic growth one that is the based not on Americans agrarian past, but on a commercial and industrial future. E. Modernize and rebuild the social contracts through investments that can make America more competitive in the global economy: investments in education, science and technology and energy independence. F. Our investment in education cant end with an improved elementary and secondary school system. G. Our dependence on oil doesnt just affect our economy. It undermines our national security. The potential for supply disruption is severe. Reaction: The world is fast changing. The basic point of this chapter is that there are a lot of opportunities that we must take in order to fulfill our accomplishment, especially in our country, where there are a lot of opportunities created for each one, we just dont realize that these will be beneficial to our development. However, I believe that the Philippines, unlike the United States, should develop at a liberty market structure where at least a little regulated to give a chance to Philippine industry to flourish. Although I agree with Obamas view on the roles of
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government, especially the New Social Compact created at the helm of the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt to restructure American economy after the Great Depression of the 20s. Our government should provide leaping investments on education, health care, and especially energy independence. The longer we are dependent to Oil-producing countries, the more precarious situation we are in. In the longer view, our country is blessed with a lot of opportunities; we just had to grab it.

VI.FAITH Summary: This chapter discussed the religious and spiritual consideration of the American society. He started the chapter with a story about a letter he received questioning his ideas on different topics that convoluted American society. The chapter touches his belief that women have the right to choose in abortion and reproductive health and his stance on gay marriage and sexism were somewhat vague. He argued that a corner of American voters were rooted on the idea that conservative Christians would always vote for Republicans, and those with liberallythought ones would vote for Democrats. He also argued that organized religion would son need to acknowledge that the critical role of the clause that established the government also established the robustness of their religious practices. However, Obama also asserts the continued importance of the separation of church and state. He concludes that faith could serve as a common ground for future partnership and cooperation between different parties, and that tolerance and respect for religious diversity is of paramount importance. Themes: A. Religious leaders must make themselves relevant to the everchanging world to survive by accommodating church doctrines to science and by articulating a social gospel that addresses the material issues of economic inequality, racism, sexism, and American militarism. B. The broad principles for discussing faith with a democracy are not allinclusive.

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Reaction: In a country such as ours, religion is placed on a high esteem to the point that our law making bodies cant finish a law for more than 10 years, that our elections are rigged by a bloc voting after a religious endorsement, and that we have toppled 2 Presidents by just a simple radio message. It is frustrating to some that these organized faith can sometimes be a hindrance to our development politically and economically, and that they have a lot of influence even to a sitting President. Religion is bad for politics thats why it is enshrined in our constitution the principle of separation of the church and the state. Bad as it may be, I still believe that we need religion. Our minds can only take us to some heights, but our faith makes us whole it makes us human. I agree with his concluding idea, that we could use our faith as a common ground for cooperation and development.

VII.

RACE

Summary: This chapter focuses on race as a dominant social issue plaguing the country since the liberation of slaves after the US Civil War. He contends that the issue of discrimination emanated, not from the color, but of ignorance and unfamiliarity with the social issues. He narrated how Rosa Parks made progress to create a non-discriminate society. However, he contends that the race issue is not only between black and white, but also between political issues of immigration. Obama concluded the chapter by describing two insoluble problems (1) innercity poor, and (2) illegal immigrants. Themes: A. None of us is immune to the stereotypes that our culture continues to feed us, especially the stereotypes about black criminality, black intelligence or black ethics. B. These prejudices are far more loosely held than they once were although still subject to refutation.
C. The issue for the African-American community is the deteriorating

conditions of inner-city poor, while the Latinos problems are of those


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undocumented immigration.

workers

and

political

firestorm

surrounding

D. The demographics of American are changing inexorably and at

lightning speed, and the claims of new immigrants wont fit neatly into the black-and-white paradigm of discrimination and resistance and guilt and recrimination. E. The classic immigration story is playing out, the story of ambition and adaptation, hard work and education, assimilation and upward mobility. Reaction: As most say, the Philippines is the melting pot of Asian tradition and Western modernity. The Philippines, as I believe, is the gateway to both worlds, as our country is in the middle of two worlds. As it is, our race is a mixture of Malay and Western influences, as such; we are in the center of race issues. Some call Filipinos not as Asians as we really are, or some may say that we are a race of social climbers, all wanting to be Westerners. But I believe that we are an interesting mix of cultures and races. We must seize that opportunity to improve our ties with other countries that may help us achieve our national goals on development. We should not only target immigrating to the United States or to any other country for the sake of economic liberty. Those countries are having their own problems politically, economically and socio-culturally we should start building our nations race to further develop our national agenda on development.

VIII. THE WORLD BEYOND OUR BORDERS Summary: This chapter discussed the foreign policies and American intervention that causes uproar on certain parts of the world, as they view American help as intervention in their domestic policies of each country. The chapter started on Baracks personal history as he has the blood of Kenya, lived in Indonesia and culture of America. Obama relates
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his personal history with that of the world as most Americans feared the domino theory of Communism in Asia, where American sovereignty and much political and foreign policy are directed against these threats. Obama believes that the United States defense budget and military strategy has not fully adapted to the emerging state of world affairs. He proposes affording more responsibility in international policing efforts to our allies, and he strongly asserts the need for multilateralism and cooperation in future military efforts. He believed that when the national security is threatened, America must do its job as a reluctant police in world affairs, such as the need for action in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, although he argued that the prosecution in the recent wars has been poorly handled. Themes: A. Most Americans cant locate Indonesia on a map. B. In the 1960s, Domino Theory is still the central tenet of US Foreign Policy. C. In the field of international affairs, its dangerous to extrapolate from the experience of a single country. In its history, geography, culture and conflicts, each nation is unique. And yet, Indonesia serves as a metaphor for the world beyond our borders - a world in which globalization and sectarianism, poverty and plenty, modernity and antiquity constantly collide.
D. At

times, American foreign policy has been far sighted, simultaneously serving our national interest, and the interest of other nations. At other times, the policies are misguided, based on false assumptions, undermine our national credibility, and make for a more dangerous world. export our way of life, as according to John Quincy Adams, we should not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy nor become the dictatress of the world. However, the very ideals we export overseas were being destroyed at home.

E. Americas early leaders cautioned against idealistic attempts to

F. The top three foreign policies among liberals were withdrawing

troops from Iraq, stopping the spread of AIDS, and working more closely with our allies.
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G. Terrorist networks can spread their doctrines in the blink of an eye, they can probe the worlds weakest link, knowing that an attack in London can will reverberate in New York or Tokyo. Reaction: As an Araling Panlipunan teacher, I think liberally, that each one of is blessed with the natural premise of protectionism that we have the right to defend ourselves against attacks, personal or communal; the same way Obama views foreign policy. However, I disagree to his (and most of their politicians) premise that in order to protect their country, they must do their job as the reluctant police in world affairs. Allowing the United States to amass great powers (such as the UN Security Council and NATO), endangers almost every nation. I believe that the United Nations should restructure itself to equate itself with the changing world the world where the United States is losing grip and China is gaining powers. And that is my second problem, it is dangerous to let China gain more power, more control over its neighbors (example, Taiwan and the countries in South East Asia). The muscles of both USA and China are tightening and readying themselves for war. Our country is being threatened by China to a war due to the controversies in the Kalayaan Group of Islands. Where do we seek help? Of course, United States is our natural ally. Now, the question that lingers on my mind: Who is the lesser evil?

IX.FAMILY Summary: This chapter discussed the importance of family to Obamas policies as it is the most important part of his personal life, as well as having a loving family is the face of his public persona. In this chapter, the he narrated the history of his family life through different phases, and how it reflects to his political policies, such as his belief that neither the federal welfare program or tax code should penalize married couples, nor promoting community-based program that sponsors teen pregnancy problems. Although he concedes that the current societal situation is not ideal, Obama argues that the Republicans who seek to impose a more traditional family structure are not advancing a realistic solution. He abhors any attempt to legislate personal morality and
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intimate life choices, while at the same time recognizing that both supportive social policies and personal responsibility are needed to allow children the unshakable foundation of stability and structure that they need to thrive. Themes:
A. Social conservatism claim that the traditional family is under assault

from Hollywood movies and gay pride parades. Liberals point to the economic factors from stagnating wages to inadequate daycare. B. Seventy percent of families with children are headed by two working parents or a single working parent. Most of them are called juggler families, in which parents struggle to pay the bills, look after their children maintain a household and maintain their relationship. C. Equality for women have played a critical role in the transformation of the workplace; in the minds of most Americans the opportunity for women to pursue careers, achieve economic independence, and realize their talents on an equal footing with men has been one of the greatest achievements of modern life. Reaction: As Filipinos, we believe the foundation of our country is our family a proof is that the Family is enshrined in our constitution. But more than that, it is our family that had been the guidepost for most of our actions individually and communally. I agree that political policies should strengthen the family not to weaken it however, I also believe that the modern family should take cognizance of a traditional family, whereas, in the traditional family, at least one of the parents stays at home, whatever financial sacrifices that may bring. I have been brought up in a unique situation Im living with my grandparents in Paraaque, my father has his own family in Lebanon, my mother is taking care of my siblings in Quezon City with her mother-in-law it is confusing, but family is still family, thats why I believe that no other children should suffer what I have gone through.

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