Imagination is the exercise of generating new and novel mental images. Imagination is the critical link connection between what is and what might be. Imagination is an orientation to the World that emphasizes engaging alternative perspectives and creating new possibilities for action. Imagination is a difficult skill to teach.
Poor leadership may in part be described as a lack of imagination. In leadership, imagination may contribute to revising the meaning of an event, reinterpreting options or alternatives, and reframing purpose in the larger context of a given event. Imagination is the ability to challenge existing operative mental models in order to find, and potentially use, new ways of framing and making decisions.
Moral imagination helps to disengage from a particular process, evaluate that and the mindsets which it incorporates, and think more creatively within the constraints of what is morally possible.
I draw strength from the young Americans – entrepreneurs, activists, soldiers, new citizens – who are remaking our nation once again, who are unconstrained by old habits and old conventions, and unencumbered by what is, but are instead ready to seize what ought to be.
My own family is a made up of the flesh and blood and traditions and cultures and faiths from a lot of different parts of the World – just as America has been built by immigrants from every shore. And in my own life, in this country, and as President, I have learned that our identities do not have to be defined by putting someone else down, but can be enhanced by lifting somebody else up. They don’t have to be defined in opposition to others, but rather by a belief in liberty and equality and justice and fairness.
And the embrace of these principles as universal doesn’t weaken my particular pride, my particular Love for America – it strengthens it. My belief that these ideals apply everywhere doesn’t lessen my commitment to help those who look like me, or pray as I do, or pledge allegiance to my flag.
But my faith in those principles does force me to expand my moral imagination and to recognize that I can best serve my own people, I can best look after my own daughters, by making sure that my actions seek what is right for all people and all children, and your daughters and your sons.
This is what I believe: that all of us can be co-workers with God. And our leadership, and our governments, and this United Nations should reflect this irreducible truth.