Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Proud to be American

I hope I am right in assuming that no matter who you voted for, today you are proud to be an American. Just before going to bed last night the news of our President elect Barack Obama forced me back in front of the tele so that I could witness this historical event in real time. I am so glad I did. First there was John McCain's gracious concession speech. This is the part I liked best,

This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.
I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too.

But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters.
America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States.
Let there be no reason now ... Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.

Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer him my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day. Though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.
Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain.
These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

I urge all Americans ... I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.
Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.

please go here to see John McCain's full speech.
I don't think John McCain could have conceded any better than that. McCain's show of unity made me proud to be an American.


And then there was Barack Obama's victory speech. This is the part I liked best,

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. (Cheers, applause.)
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled -- (cheers) -- Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states; we are and always will be the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.)

It's the answer that -- that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. It's 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. (Cheers, applause.)

To read Obama's entire speech, please go here.

I had a feeling Barack would win, but I voiced that opinion only to my son and only because he asked me what I thought. Truthfully, I was afraid to say what I thought out loud. I was afraid that the hope I had in what Barack Obama has been telling us was a false hope, unbelievable to most of America. I was also afraid America would not elect Barack Obama simply because he was an African American. I am so glad I was wrong. I am so glad that the majority of people are not afraid. I also was not prepared for the wellspring of emotions I felt deep inside as I watched history unfold before me. I was not prepared to feel the gratitude in my heart upon seeing the utter joy in the faces of my fellow Americans who happened to be black as they listened to Obama's victory speech. This truly is a victory for all of America. Last night for the first time in a very long time I felt true hope for our country. I felt that despite my lack of hope I was surrounded by people who had great hope, and that is a good thing. We all know change is inevitable, but it also requires courage to change. I think I am finally getting the real meaning behind, "Yes we can."

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew"~Abraham Lincoln




5 comments:

Deslilas said...

Congratulations you've now a President you can be proud of.
I must admit that it's not the case in my own country France.
America, we love, is back.
Yes you can and we are waiting a lot from you (as usual).

Deslilas said...

I forget to congratulate too the very elegant looser. The two candidates were very respectable men.

Lily Hydrangea said...

Yes I agree, McCain was quite elegant,nice words to hear from a friend in France, thank you.

M.Kate said...

Congrats to Obama and McCain was very gracious in his choice of words. He definitely scored many points there. Hope you are having a good day :D

Lydia said...

A lovely post and so equitable the way you selected favorite parts from each of the speeches to include here. McCain showed style with his words and set the tone for acceptance of Obama in groups where that may be a stretch.
I, like you, felt the immensity of the historic moments we were watching on TV. It was one of the best nights in my life. Actually, projecting into the future I can see a 90-year-old me thinking it was the Best Night. I hope I'll live that long and will have my memory so this epic time will be with me then....