President Barack Obama delivers his speech this week at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech in the same building in 1858.  (TV screengrab)

Politics of hope

IN the midst of heated political climate in America, President Barack Obama returned to the State House of Representatives in Springfield, Illinois where, nine years ago, he announced that he was running for president of the United States.

There, last Wednesday, the President delivered a historic speech eloquently.

He asked America to overcome political divisions and unify.

He called on candidates from both political parties and called their attention to their political bickering and insulting one another.

Invoking Abraham Lincoln, who spoke in the same Hall in 1858, along similar theme as Mr. Obama’s call for unity.

Lincoln’s famous line, “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (lifted from three gospels of the Bible, Matthew, Mark & Luke), was invoked by President Obama.

Obviously, in light of the divisions created by the “boiling” political campaign.

President Lincoln’s call for unity, however, was due to the division in America in his time over slavery.

In his speech, President Lincoln said, “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave, half free.”

In his speech Wednesday, President Obama called on Americans to find ways to work together.

“Polarization and meanness should end.”

“I want for this democracy to live up to the people’s expectations.”

In short, Mr. Obama called his dictum “politics of hope.”

He said the situation was not hopeless.

Rather, he was hopeful ways could be found for the nation’s leaders to work together.

We think President Obama’s speech was meaty, significant and patriotic.

However, we feel it was untimely.

We must remember, these are days of heated political exchanges, even insults.

Such can be expected in an electoral campaign.

When he and Secretary Hillary Clinton fought each other for the presidency, similar war-like situation happened.

But, as long as no one takes the in-fighting in a personal way, as Sen. Marco Rubio says, and every one shakes hands after the elections, fine.

Look at Sec. Clinton, she was named Secretary of State by President Obama, the most important cabinet position in the Executive Branch, after her bitter campaign against the President.

Politics of selfie

Two teenagers from New Hampshire in selfie with Secretary Hillary Clinton.

Until two years ago, selfie was king!

Today, selfie is part of daily life to many, including politicians, for practical reasons.

“Elected officials are increasingly employing the selfie as a digital-age tool to appear as authentic, accessible and spontaneous to the public, even while what’s often underlying their growing use of the self-snapped photos is a calculated effort at control and careful image-making,” said an expert.

You must have seen Sec. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders and all the Republican Party candidates on television being self-shot in selfie by adoring fans.

Selfies made easy accessibility to candidates.

It could be one reason why so many people attend political meetings nowadays.

This could be true even in the Philippines.

Remember Makati was named selfie capital of the world?

(Not anymore. Jersey City is! Lol.)

Chelsea and Hillary Clinton took one selfie.

Former President Bill Clinton shot a selfie with Bill Gates, noting “Two Bills, one selfie.”

Former President George H.W. Bush posed for one with country singer Brad Paisley.

Soon after, Barbara Bush, smiled for her own with Fox’s Steve Doocy.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell got in by posting on Facebook a selfie he took 60 years ago, before anyone had ever heard of a selfie.

In New Jersey, Francis D. Sison, Paul Verzosa and I are competing for first place as local selfie king.

(I have gotten in trouble a couple of times because of selfies.)

Thus, I have slowed down considerably.


Remember when Ellen DeGeneres gathered a group of actors during an Oscar Awards night two years ago in order to take selfie of the group?

That selfie reportedly earned 3.4 million re-tweets, beating President Obama’s and his wife Michelle’s 780,000 in November 2012 for the popular “four more years selfie” of the First Couple.

I’m inviting you to visit this Facebook: “Let’s Make Jersey City Facebook Capital.”

Feel free to post your favorite selfies.

Last summer, two teeners from New Hampshire made it their mission to take selfies with each of the Republican presidential candidates.

After accomplishing their goal, the sisters became a familiar fixture on the trail in the Granite State.

They’ve attended dozens of political events and rallies over the past several months and caught up with the crowded field of presidential candidates.

So, selfie could even arouse the political interest of young people.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders in selfie with a citizen after the debate in Milwaukee last Thursday evening.  (TV screengrab)

The author (left) in selfie with Jersey City, N.J. Mayor Steve Fulop.  (Filipino Reporter file photo)

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