President Obama spoke to an enthusiastic crowd in Chicago after the long election night. Some highlights from the reuters transcript:
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people….
…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. 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….
…whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead….
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. 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….
And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future.
I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks 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.
America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.
I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.
And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.
Immediate reactions from some familiar Cafe names on Twitter:
Paul B. Raushenbush ?(Senior Religion Editor, HuffingtonPost) @raushenbush
Great definition of Hope – stubborn feeling inside us that believes that something betting awaits
Diana Butler Bass ?@dianabutlerbass
Love and charity. It’s a sermon!
An acceptance speech about COMMUNITY, about belonging to one another, about belonging responsibly to the world.
He’s talking about faith, hope, and love in a meaningful inclusive way.
Niraj Warikoo ?(Religion Reporter for Detroit Free Press) @nwarikoo
Pledging to work across partisan lines, Obama says: “We’ve got more work to do.”
“I’ve never been more hopeful about America.”
Susan Russell ?@revsusanrussell
I’m talking about hope — not blind optimism. Hope – the stubborn feeling inside us that believes that something better awaits @BarackObama
The best is yet to come IF we all work for the greater good
Rev. Bosco Peters ?@Liturgy
Crowd struggling with Obama’s graciousness #election2012
Ed Bacon ?@RevEdBacon
The role of citizen does not end with a vote. It’s about self governance. It’s about work
(I’ll throw myself in there…)
Kurt C. Wiesner ?@keepercaines34
“Democracy is noisy and messy and complicated” I think I’ve used that argument about a certain church…
(And perhaps a good way to end…)
Rachel Held Evans ?@rachelheldevans
Dang. One of Obama’s best speeches. Too bad it’s 2 a.m.!