What am I feeling?
Am I happy this morning? Yes, I am. But it feels more complicated than that. I’m feeling wary, ready, urgent, afraid. I’m feeling like this campaign has just been a first step of a long road ahead. Note, Obama didn’t call us to be happy last night: he called us to action. He did not let his supporters (or his opponents, for that matter) off the hook. He told us there is work to do. Work we must all take part in, together.
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 can’t happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of 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, it’s 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’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let’s 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 and individual liberty and national unity.
He does not let us off the hook. He calls us to serve. Maybe that’s why I feel the way I do. I wonder, am I strong enough? Will I live up to the call he makes? Will we give him the support it takes to allow him to do this vicious job for us while still loving and growing his beautiful family?
He goes on to remind us that this campaign has been about building, not tearing down.
Those are values that 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 tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.
Let us take the next steps together.