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Jan 19, 2009
This week's theme
Words from Obama

This week's words
cohere
syncretic
endemic
abrogate
sui generis

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Dreams From My Father
Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Tomorrow Barack Obama will become president of the US, and not a moment too soon. This week we'll feature words from Obama, words from his books, speeches, and interviews.

Unlike most politicians, who hire ghostwriters, Obama writes his own books. He's a gifted writer. Reading his words you can see his thought process. He's not one who sees the globe in black and white. He has lived outside the US and has been exposed to other cultures (nyt). He realizes that just because someone has a different set of beliefs, just because someone looks different, doesn't mean he's wrong -- sometimes there can be two ways to do something and both can be right.

Obama is to be commended for his accomplishments. We've come a long way in this country. But we still have far to go before we can call ourselves truly unbiased. Real progress will be when any capable person can have a fair chance at winning the highest office, even someone who happens to be, say, a black gay vegan atheist woman.

Anything is possible... but don't hold your breath.

cohere

PRONUNCIATION:
(ko-HEER)

MEANING:
verb intr.: To be united; to work or hold together.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin cohaerere, from co- (together) + haerere (to stick).

USAGE:
"I learned to slip back and forth between my black and white worlds, understanding that each possessed its own language and customs and structures of meaning, convinced that with a bit of translation on my part the two worlds would eventually cohere."
Barack Obama; Dreams From My Father; Times Books; 1995.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. -Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights leader (1929-1968)

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