Wednesday, November 5, 2008

WEDNESDAY QWOTE: A Day of Pride in America

Today, I am proud to be an American. Yesterday's election confirmed the special nature of this great country in which we live. I don't believe in "manifest destiny" or "American exceptionalism" in a theological sense. God has only chosen one nation in world history, and it's not us. Nevertheless, the fact that we could elect an African-American President one generation after the assassination of Martin Luther King is an amazing accomplishment that says a lot about the goodness and opportunity that thrive in our land.

I am also proud because last night two of the most gracious, hopeful and civil speeches I've ever heard were given by the two candidates, one conceding and the other celebrating victory. If only the entire campaign could have been conducted with the respect and civility of these speeches! Nevertheless, these men should be commended for their inspiring words, and it is to be hoped that the goodwill expressed in words last night will continue in days to come.

McCain's Concession Speech
"...A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to visit — to dine at the White House — was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful 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 for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.

"...I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our goodwill 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..."
Obama's Victory Speech
"...The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even 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 wont agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that 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 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, calloused hand by calloused hand...

"Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values 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. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too."

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