At the Georgetown University #PovertySummit President Obama made some very real comments, tying his own background to modern society’s challenges in the areas of education and social investment; access to jobs, internet, transportation; mentoring, youth, fatherhood, families and community:
I am a black man who grew up without a father, and I know the cost that I paid for that. And I also know that I have the capacity to break that cycle, and as a consequence I think that my daughters are better off … For me to have that conversation does not negate my conversation about the need for early childhood education, or the need for job training, or the need for investment in infrastructure or jobs in low-income communities…
But when I’m sitting there talking to these kids, and I’ve got a boy who says, you know what, how did you get over being mad at your dad, because I’ve got a father who beat my mom and now has left, and has left the state, and I’ve never seen him because he’s trying to avoid $83,000 in child support payments, and I want to love my dad, but I don’t know how to do that — I’m not going to have a conversation with him about macroeconomics. (Laughter and applause.)
I’m going to have a conversation with him about how I tried to understand what it is that my father had gone through, and how issues that were very specific to him created his difficulties in his relationships and his children so that I might be able to forgive him, and that I might then be able to come to terms with that.
And I don’t apologize for that conversation.
Amen, Mr. President.
Here’s the full transcript of President Obama’s remarks.