Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Finally

There's hardly words to describe last night or the feeling of today -- a new day in our country.

And at the same time, it's hard not to feel a little apprehensive, maybe a little skeptical.

Whether you supported Obama or McCain, there are those nagging doubts. Did the country do the right thing? Does he have enough experience and the fortitude to get us out of the mess we're in?

I think we did and he does. He's already gotten us over the biggest hurdle -- our ability to believe that change is possible.

One of the greatest gifts that Obama has is to tap into our inner idealism. It's hard to trust it -- we've been so disappointed and let down by our government before. It's hard to believe Obama's words of inspiration and hope are really possible.

Yet, his sense of hope is undeniably infectious. I loved this part of his speech where he reminds us of how far we've come in the last century and wonders how much further we might go in the next:

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

And while he staunchly stands by his ideals of what's possible, he's also a very practical realist. He knows we have a hard road ahead and admits he won't be perfect:

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

And then he asks us to join him in helping solve the world's problems. He cannot do it alone:

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

If we allow ourselves to feel that sense of idealism, but approach what lies ahead with the underpinning of realism and responsibility, I think we'll do ok, America. We can all figure our way out of this mess. Yes, we can.
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3 comments:

Tiffany said...

His speech was just amazing. So powerful, with no gloating whatsoever. I think it was one of the best political acceptance speeches of our time. I feel Obama has the ability to finally unify our country, if everyone will just come together and give him a chance.

Farfisa said...

With as many people as turned out for the vote yesterday, I hope that we all stay committed to action, to helping, to working together and not wait for the world to change (to borrow a phrase)

bloggingmom67 said...

I agree with you. I think Obama has a lot ahead of him to fix, but I think he'll do it. I think we made the right choice.

And I think his speech is powerful.
Yeah!