“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” — Nelson Mandela
President Obama delivered remarks on the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Dec. 5, 2013.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real. He achieved more than could be expected of any man.
Today, he’s gone home, and we’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth.
He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages.
Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better.
His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or in our own personal lives.
And the fact that he did it all with grace and good humor, and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much more remarkable. As he once said, “I’m not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid. I would study his words and his writings. The day he was released from prison, it gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears.
And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set. And so long as I live, I will do what I can to learn from him.
To Graca Machel and his family, Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us. His life’s work meant long days away from those who loved him most, and I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.
To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal and reconciliation and resilience that you made real — a free South Africa at peace with itself. That’s an example to the world, and that’s Madiba’s legacy to the nation that he loved.
We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again, so it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set — to make decisions guided not by hate but by love, never discount the difference that one person can make, to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.
For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived, a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice.
May God bless his memory and keep him in peace.
Now that HealthCare.gov is working for the vast majority of users, it’s time to refocus on what’s truly at stake, which is ensuring Americans have the security of decent health insurance at a reasonable cost.
Obamacare holds insurance companies accountable, lowers health care costs, gives Americans more freedom and control in their health-care choices and improves the quality of care.
The Affordable Care Act means better coverage for those who already have health insurance, and more options for those who don’t.
In the first month of open enrollment, applications for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program spiked across the country, particularly in the states participating in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Nearly 1.5 million low-income Americans now have access to public health insurance.
In their renewed attack on health-care reform, you won’t hear Republicans mention these Obamacare highlights and stats:
- More than 105 million Americans no longer have lifetime dollar limits on their coverage. Under the new health care law, insurers can no longer impose lifetime dollar limits on care and annual limits are being phased out by 2014.
- Since September 2010, approximately 3.1 million young adults have gained coverage through the provision of the Affordable Care Act that enables children up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan.
- Seniors with Medicare are paying less for prescription drugs: More than 5.1 million people on Medicare have saved over $3.1 billion on prescription drugs, including a one-time $250 rebate check to seniors who fell into the prescription coverage gap or “donut hole” in 2010, and a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs worth an average of $604 per person in 2011.
- Thanks in part to new tools and resources provided by the Affordable Care Act, health care fraud prevention and enforcement efforts recovered nearly $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars in Fiscal Year 2011 and $10.7 billion over the last three years.
- In every State and for the first time ever, insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more and more states have the authority to reject unreasonable premium increases.
21st Century Democrats proudly endorses Wendy Davis, a true progressive, for governor of Texas. A rising star in the Democratic Party, 21st Century Democrats first endorsed Davis in 2008, when she won her state senate seat.
Davis has proven to be a powerful leader, an inspiring woman and a strong candidate, and 21st Century Democrats stands ready to help her win.
Davis rose to national prominence in June of this year, when she filibustered and protested for 13 hours against Texas Senate Bill 5, which banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and imposed new regulations designed to close clinics. While state Republicans eventually forced passage of the anti-abortion bill in a special session, taking the lead in that crucial fight helped Davis build a strong base from which to launch her campaign for governor of Texas.
A Democrat hasn’t won the Texas governorship since Ann Richards in 1990, but Davis has widespread support, already counting among her donors supporters in all 254 Texas counties. And she is on the right side of the policies — immigration reform, Obamacare and women’s issues — that will drive Election Day turnout among Latino, African-American and women voters.
Read 21st Century Democrats’ full profile of Wendy Davis.
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