This is the message that needs to be delivered not only in the African-American community, but in all communities. Inspiration, followed by motivation, followed by perspiration can improve any life, while entitlement, envy and greed can only diminish it.
The president asked -- no, he commanded -- the Morehouse graduates to "be a good role model, set a good example for that young brother coming up. If you know somebody who's not on point, go back and bring that brother along -- those who've been left behind, who haven't had the same opportunities we have. ... You've got to be engaged on the barbershops, on the basketball court, at church, spend time and energy to give people opportunities and a chance. Pull them up, expose them, support their dreams. Don't put them down."
Beyond the rhetoric, the president acts as if these ideals can best be advanced by government, but even he seemed to acknowledge there is something more powerful than what happens in Washington. It is what happens inside an individual.
The values the president stressed are, or once were considered to be, American values. They are needed most, not only where people live in poverty, but among those who suffer from a poverty of spirit.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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