Tuesday, November 4, 2008


"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer...

...Its been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America...

...and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the earth, this is your victory. I know you didn't do this just to win an election, and I know you didn't do it for me, you did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime; two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq, in the mountains of Afghanistan, to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and father who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they will make the mortgage, or pay their doctors bills, or save enough for their child's college education. There is new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair. 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 set backs and false starts. There are many who won't agree with everything decision or policy I make as president, and we know the government cant solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face, I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.

And above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way its been done in America for two hundred and twenty one years, block by block, brick by brick, callused hand by callused hand. What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter can not end on this Autumn night.

This victory alone is not the change we seek, it is only the chance for us to make that change.

And that can not happen if we go back to the way things were, 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. Let us remember, that if this financial crisis has taught us anything its that we can not have a thriving wall street while main street suffers. In this country we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the republican party of the white house, a party founded on the values of self reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are values that we all share, and while the Democratic party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours: 'We are not enemies but friends, though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.'

To those American who's support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices, I need your help and I will be your president too. And all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those who would tear the world down, we will defeat you, to those who seek peace and security, we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright, tonight we prove once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope. That's the true genius of America, that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts. There are many stories that will be told for generations. But the one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She is 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 a hundred and six 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 is 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 that we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed, yes we can. At a time when woman'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 dustbowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a new deal, new jobs, and 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 the 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 a hundred and six 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. This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment, this is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids. To restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace, to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that out of many we are one, that while we breathe we hope, and where we are met with cynicism and doubt and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people....YES WE CAN"

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