For a guy who just lost a primary, ’08 Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama sounds like he won. Highlights and remarks follow the video below…
The Illinois senator gave yet another stirring speech, his knack for which is far superior to the rest of the field on either side.
“A few weeks ago, no one imagined that we’d have accomplished what we did here tonight,” began Obama, just after congratulating winner Sen. Hillary Clinton. “For most of this campaign, we were far behind, and we always knew our climb would be steep. But in record numbers, you came out and spoke up for change. And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment â€“ in this election â€“ there is something happening in America.”
Obama reiterated this election season’s common theme of “change,” but did it with an inspired finesse and a commanding cadence that recalled Dr. Martin Luther King’s gifted oratory: “There is something happening when people vote not just for the party they belong to but the hopes they hold in common â€“ that whether we are rich or poor; black or white; Latino or Asian; whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. That is what’s happening in America right now. Change is what’s happening in America.”
Shades of John F. Kennedy were self-evident as Obama declared, “We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists; citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our planet from a point of no return. And when I am President, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home; we will finish the job against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; we will care for our veterans; we will restore our moral standing in the world…”
Obama then said, in a punishing Larry Holmes-like jab to the failed Bush administration and desperate GOP candidate Rudy Giuliani, among others, “We will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election, it is a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the twenty-first century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.”
His speech built up to a crescendo as he exclaimed, “In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes we can!”
“Yes We Can” then became the stirring chant of the frenzied crowd; they shouted it often and loudly, in perfect unison.
Obama wasn’t finished. In the best part of his speech, he underscored his mantra and touched on numerous milestones of American history. “It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights. Yes we can. It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness. Yes we can.
“It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
“Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can!”
Tremendous. After seven years of darkness in America, forgive this blogger for feeling a bit giddy about the future, even if it’s perhaps the illusory after-effects of a heady political sermon.
The prepared text of this speech is available in full at this link.