Obama Uses ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ To Remind Americans Of The Importance Of Empathy

Source: Huffington Post

BY Marina Fang Associate Politics Editor, The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama in his farewell address to the nation Tuesday argued that empathy for those who are different is an essential pillar of democracy.

Quoting one of American literature’s most famous characters, Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Obama urged Americans to “start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do.”

He asserted that fighting racism and bigotry requires both political and social change.

“Laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change,” he said. “If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said, ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’”

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