It doesn’t seem right to let the week go by without noting that Obama’s acceptance speech made me so proud to be a citizen of our country. I watched it with Robert from a Ravenswood television, eating Chicago pizza, and cheering. The next day, which was yesterday, I looked at everyone around me differently, on the train and on the streets. As if we were all agents of a collective force for change.
When I was in Vancouver in April, talking theater with another group of disgruntled artists, I was taken to task on the foreign policies of the Bush Administration, which is a little like taking candy from a baby. The only response I had to say was “I have a lot of hope for Obama.”
My Canadian theatrical interlocutor responded, “We all do, too,” which reminded me how many other nations have stakes in this election and in our politics.
That hope, which has grown as I’ve traveled around this country and heard people’s enthusiasm for him, and renewed sense of purpose, is now no more a dream. It’s a reality. We got him nominated, and now we can get him elected, and then we can get back to work. And not a moment too soon.
These words have been quoted everywhere words are quoted:
And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our “intellectual and moral strength.” Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.
These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.
But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America, they have served the United States of America.
The full text of his speech is here.
Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of Scripture, hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.