Flashback: Did Obama Recycle Words in 2008 Berlin Speech?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Seven years ago today, I shared news that seems more true today than it did in 2008. Please read and share the piece as it appears below with only minor modifications.

Caricature of Barack Obama by David Donar at http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com.

Caricature of Barack Obama by David Donar at http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com.

After reading the transcript of the speech Barack Obama delivered in Berlin July 24, 2008, I concluded that at least two parts of his speech appear to have been “recycled” (i.e., they were used by others first).

In the seventh paragraph of the transcript, Obama said this:

“On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

Using the exact phrase, “how the world might be remade,” and without the words, “Barack” and “Obama,” a Google Advanced Search yielded only six results. Two of those results showed promise.

Cover: The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching by Terence and Dennis McKenna

Cover: The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching by Terence and Dennis McKenna

One result showed that the phrase had appeared 14 years ago in a book, The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens and the I Ching, by Terence and Dennis McKenna (Harper Collins 1994):

But there were two philosophies then among the revolutionaries on how the world might be remade. One path, endorsed by the political activists, advocated a traditional Western strategy: seizing political power and using that vantage to ….

I suspect Obama and his speech writers relied upon the above-named book for speech content for several reasons:

• No one can doubt that Obama is a revolutionary who sees a landscape most Americans do not;

• Obama wrote in one of his books that he had experience with a multitude of illegal drugs, some of which must have been of the hallucinogenic variety; and

• Having drawn so much criticism for his relationships — or lack thereof — with Islam and Christianity, Obama must have found comfort in a book that reflected the teachings of I Ching, one of the fundamental books of Confucianism.

Eleven paragraphs later in his Berlin speech, Obama said:

“While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.”

Through a second Google Advanced Search, I found the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX) had used the phrase, “…we share a common destiny,” as part of her 1976 Democratic Convention Keynote Address — “Who Then Will Speak for the Common Good?” — in New York City:

“Let there be no illusions about the difficulty of forming this kind of a national community. It’s tough, difficult, not easy. But a spirit of harmony will survive in America only if each of us remembers that we share a common destiny.

Over the years, I’ve found that politicians who use phrases like “…we share a common destiny” tend to be the same ones determined to foist their Marxist, socialist and nanny-state policies and programs on the people. It’s the kind of change in which few Americans — contrary to Obama’s campaign sloganeering — can believe.

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