Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama's Victory Poem


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.

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 very first time in their lives,
because they believed
that this time must be different;
that their voice could be
that difference.

It's the answer spoken
by young and old,
rich and poor,
Democrat and Republican,
black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American,
gay, straight,
disabled and not disabled -
Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States:
we are, and always will be,
the United
States of America.

It's the answer
that led those who have been told
for so long by so many
to be cynical,
and fearful,
and doubtful of 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.

A little earlier this evening,
I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain.
He fought long and hard in this campaign,
and he's fought even longer and harder
for the country he loves.
He has endured sacrifices for America
that most of us cannot begin to imagine,
and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.
I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and
I look forward to working with them
to renew this nation's promise
in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey,
a man who campaigned from his heart
and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton
and rode with on that train home to Delaware,
the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight
without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years,
the rock of our family
and the love of my life,
our nations next First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Sasha and Malia,
I love you both so much,
and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House.
And while she's no longer with us,
I know my grandmother is watching,
along with the family that made me
who I am.
I miss them tonight,
and know that my debt to them is
beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe,
my chief strategist David Axelrod,
and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics
- you made this happen,
and I am forever grateful for what
you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all,
I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to -
it belongs to you.

I was never
the likeliest candidate for this office.
We didn't start with much money
or many endorsements.
Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington -
it began in the backyards of Des Moines
and the living rooms of Concord
and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built
by working men and women
who dug into what
little savings they had
to give five dollars
and ten dollars
and twenty dollars
to this cause.
It grew strength
from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy;
who left their homes
and their families
for jobs that offered little pay
and less sleep;
from the not-so-young people who braved
the bitter cold
and scorching heat
to knock on the doors of
perfect strangers;
from the millions of Americans
who volunteered,
and organized,
and proved
that more than two centuries later,
a government
of the people,
by the people
and for the people
has not perished from this 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
we know
there are brave Americans waking up
in the deserts of Iraq
and the mountains of Afghanistan
to risk their lives
for us.
There are mothers and fathers
who will lie awake after their children fall asleep
and wonder how they'll make
the mortgage,
or pay their doctors bills,
or save enough for college.
There is new energy to harness
and new jobs to be created;
new schools to build
and threats to meet
and alliances to repair.

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 can't 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.

What began
twenty-one months ago
in the depths of winter
must 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 cannot happen if we go back
to the way things were.
It cannot happen
without you.

So let us summon a new spirit
- of patriotism
- of service and 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 taught us anything,
its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers
- in this country,
we rise or fall as one nation;
as one people.

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.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond
our shores,
from parliaments and palaces
to those who are huddled
around radios in the forgotten corners of
our 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 this 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 -
we proved once more
that the true strength of our nation
comes not from our the might of our arms
or the scale of our wealth,
but from the enduring power of
our ideals:
and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America -
that America can change.
Our union can be perfected.
And what we have already achieved
gives us hope
for what we can and must achieve

This election had many firsts
and many stories that will be told
for generations.
But one that's on my mind tonight is 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 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 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.

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.

Thank you,
God bless you,
and may God Bless
the United
States of America.

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