I value good manners, for example. Every time I meet a kid who speaks clearly and looks me in the eye, who says "yes, sir" and "thank you" and "please" and "excuse me," I feel more hopeful about the country. I don't think I am alone in this. I can't legislate good manners. But I can encourage good manners whenever I'm addressing a group of young people.
The same goes for competence. Nothing brightens my day more than dealing with somebody, anybody, who takes pride in their work or goes the extra mile- an accountant, a plumber, a three-star general, the person on the other end of the phone who actually seems to want to solve your problem. My encounter with such competence seem more sporadic lately; I seem to spend more time looking for somebdoy in the store to help me or waiting for the delivery man to show. Other people must notice this; it makes us all cranky, and those of us in government, no less than in business, ignore such perceptions at their own peril.
An excerpt from the Audacity of Hope.
Presisent, Barack Obama