Day One

President Obama won! PRESIDENT OBAMA WON!

It was a nail-biter last night.

Kevin and I were getting our coats on to leave the house and see whether there were folks in the street with whom we could celebrate – and I fell asleep. With my coat on. Sitting straight up. It was a long day, and I think that the relief of Obama’s victory drained all adrenaline (and consciousness) out of me.

So I sadly missed the victory speech. The first thing I did upon waking, though, was find the transcript so that I could read it, and put my favorite bits here.

Obama’s Victory Speech: Best Bits

#1.) Let me say this publicly. Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you too as our nation’s first lady.

#2.) You will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way,  to every hill, to every valley.  You lifted me up the whole day, and I will always be grateful for everything that you’ve done.

#3.) That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight. And it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

#4.) We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this world has ever known —  but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.

#5.) Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours.

#6.) The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self- government.

#7.) This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared —  that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.

#8.) I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the road blocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.

Generosity of spirit; gratefulness; responsibility to one another; hope- the stubborn belief that, despite evidence to the contrary, the best lies ahead of us. What a beautiful America to wake up to.

Next up: paving the path for auto-didaction!

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