What Obama Said In 2006 About 'Dark Times' Is Even More Relevant Today

Some much-needed wisdom in difficult times.

Two years before Obama's historic and ultimately successful presidential campaign, the then-senator went on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss his second book, The Audacity Of Hope. An excerpt from the 2006 interview in which Obama gives his take on America's progress was recently resurfaced by The Huffington Post's Lisa Capretto, and serves as a valuable bit of advice — perhaps even more so now than before — for those frustrated by the current political climate.

"If you think about this country, what's happened is typically that we've gone in spurts. Sometimes we make progress — the Civil Rights Movement or abolition — and then sometimes we go into dark times," Obama said. "But the general trajectory is upward."

Obama then quoted his favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. line (as he has done many times in his presidency): "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

The interview in 2006 was right on the cusp of Obama's ascent to the White House. He had given an extraordinary speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 that propelled him to national prominence, and there was talk that he would launch a bold, historic campaign for the presidency. 

Obama told Winfrey in that interview that they were in "troubling times," and spoke of Americans' cynicism about government and the greed for power was taking over people's belief in doing right — issues that, ironically, are still among today's chief concerns. So perhaps if the arc of the moral universe does bend towards justice, it may also be true that sometimes it goes in circles on its way there. 

Cover image via Everett Collection / Shutterstock.

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