Saturday, January 17, 2009

Train to the Inauguration

Well Obama has kicked-off his Inauguration with the historic train ride from Philadelphia to Washington DC.

His speech in the 30th Street Train Station was filled with promise, grace, and encouragement. It again reminds me what a once in a lifetime President we have before us. It is not to say that we can expect Barack Obama to fix all the deep and troubling problems we have before us, but his leadership, intelligence, and his ability to connect with the American people demonstrates what a truly remarkable and promising President he will be - not just the US, but in the international community.

And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not. What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our founders displayed. What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry - an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels.

That is the reason I launched my campaign for the presidency nearly two years ago. I did so in the belief that the most fundamental American ideal, that a better life is in store for all those willing to work for it, was slipping out of reach. That Washington was serving the interests of the few, not the many. And that our politics had grown too small for the scale of the challenges we faced.

But I also believed something else. I believed that our future is our choice, and that if we could just recognize ourselves in one another and bring everyone together - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, north, south, east and west, black, white, Latino, Asian, and Native American, gay and straight, disabled and not - then not only would we restore hope and opportunity in places that yearned for both, but maybe, just maybe, we might perfect our union in the process.

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