The King’s Dream


A friend I’d written about earlier wrote this on his blog last night:

 

The King had a dream, and it has been realized. I could never imagine it would be this soon.
Just 53 years ago a black woman was arrested because she wouldn’t stand up to give a white man her seat on a bus. Today a black man was given the highest seat in the country. 
Can you FATHOM the idea???
NOT to say that possibilities didn’t exist… but were they actually available and real and in the people’s minds? Hell NO!
People turned up and said – you know what.. we don’t care about color SO MUCH that we’ll go out of our way to mess with our country!
That is AWESOME on SO MANY LEVELS!
People CARED about Country!
People wanted to make a DIFFERENCE!
People BELIEVED in their ability to make a change!
People broke THROUGH the barriers of color!!!
Ask a black person what this means to them.
I just feel like so many things are possible! I love this.
You could over to his blog and read the complete text.
Meanwhile, yesterday I dropped in at G’s office on the way to somewhere else, and saw that he’d had the CNN website open on his laptop all day, along with whatever work he’d been doing. A colleague of his was sitting opposite the table, so I asked him if he’d been following the US elections. And the guy asked me if I knew who was the MLA from where we live, and then went on to say how strange it is that we don’t know who our MLA is, but we care about what happens in the US of A.
Now this is something that I have a problem with on many different levels. One, it’s really my choice – you know – who I want to know about, and what I really don’t care about. Two, we don’t live in a little burrow called India, and I think it’s now high time that we behave like citizens of the world. Be it the environment, industry, popular culture, or politics – why should we act as though only that which happens in India is what we will follow or subscribe to. That, to me, reeks of jingoism. And of being uninformed of what goes on in the larger world. And of being so blase that we just don’t care. And also a little bit of being EQ challenged.
There are so many bigger, brighter, stronger people in the world. So many more powerful things happening all over the world that we will never know about if all we care to know is who our local MLA is, before these other things. Which is not to say that one shouldn’t know about their local politicians, of course. But I just think that’s a very hollow argument to not know about something as big and bright and beautiful as this (Part I & II).
Last night, I had a bad backache and was stuck in bed, and so fell asleep at 11 pm. G was still pottering around, chatting with his dad, having a drink, reading. I figured he’d come to bed in another hour or so, considering we both need to wake up at 7 am now, since after I’ve started the new job. I woke up around 2 am, feeling thirsty, and saw his side of the bed still empty, and the bathroom lights on. So I called out, and he just shouted back to say he’d go to sleep soon, and I should go back to sleep.
He came to bed when I was drifting back to sleep, and nudged me awake to ask if I was still awake (!!) – I glared at him – and he said that he was still awake because he’d been reading Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, and that he just had to read it out me, maybe because he wanted me to experience what he just had. I heard him read the speech out to me, and I thought it was beautiful too. And, I know it’s just a speech – but it’s the kind that stirs you so deeply and completely. And it says a lot about the man who made the speech.
G also sent out a mail last night to family and friends – here’s a transcript of his mail, and Barack Obama’s speech:
I’ve just finished reading the speech and I had to share this, hence, this mail.
 
I’m neither a supporter of the American Dream, nor influenced by the ideas of the west on how the world should be run.
 
In fact, quite frankly I barely manage to catch the news, and at times, am so absorbed with what’s happening in my immediate surroundings that wouldn’t care much if the world burned. There’s so much to do, so many problems to sort out at home and work, personal stuff – that all of this just absorbs me completely.
 
So who really cares what happens in another part of the world where an election is on and a person who I know little about is being elected president?
 
I heard an annoucer on the radio say in the morning today, while driving to work, that Obama had won, and for some reason I wanted to know if it was true. So I reached office and went online to check, and confirmed that he had in fact won.
 
And since then, I wanted to know what he had to say on being elected president of a country I don’t particularly care for.
 
Shared below is the verbatim text of the Victory Speech Barack Obama gave today, and even though my logical head says he has a lot to prove with what is ahead for him, I think this is probably the most amazing speech I have ever read, reflecting the true meaning of Democracy, at least for me.
 
Read on…

 

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us  to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know  my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office.

We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead.

For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep.

We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.

And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. 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 cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and 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 us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let us 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, individual liberty, and national unity.

Those are values 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, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much.

But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

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5 Comments

Filed under life, quotes, thinks

5 responses to “The King’s Dream

  1. Hi A & G…….
    Writing this cause I just had to..u know that:-)

    while a lot of different people thought the diff was about & would come down to….this election wasn’t just an election…..that’s why the world was watching.
    And while it was not ultimately about white vs black……it was not about a black guy becoming the president either, though Barack Obama embodies a background that so many can relate to

    He won because americans are really tired of the rhetoric and the impact of the polocies of the Bush admin & realized over the last 3-4 yrs that we need to change direction of where this nation is headed.

    What the rest of the world celebrated was the dramatic & decisive claim that Americans made to a shifting back its beliefs & the fact of how many excercised their right to make their voice heard.
    Everyone here is really tired of the corruption & greed of giant corporations, the burying the head in the sand attitude regarding the environment & the unending war rhetoric.

    And I am proud to call myself an American- the opportunity I had on Nov 4th was an intrinsic American one- each individual making a difference in the political process for effective change.-

    I voted & waited with a vulnerable hopefulness ….and cried when the vote counts came thru around 2 AM here.
    And then cried some more as I replayed his 2004 speech at the DNC.
    (YouTube)

    In 2004 I had first seen & heard Barack Obama speak at the keynote address at the Democratic Convention & knew that he was headed somewhere that led him into people’s hearts.

    It is said that when such leaders come into the picture, countries can be reborn- people changed forever & the world renewed.
    I think that what has happened was only possible here in the US & that this man will lead this country, its people & this world onto the path of change – peace & prosperity.
    He is not just an eloquent speaker or a politician.

    It remains to be seen if America will reclaim its role as a true leader- leading by example.

    But the outpouring of the whole world regarding the results of this election in a country outside their realm of daily existence,proves that the expectations from America are alive & well…..quite simply because what this country has done(or not) HAS impacted the world on some level & that will continue to be the case.

    Meanwhile, he surely has his work cut out for him.
    The ones who voted for him, believe.
    The ones who didn’t also support him now.

    I personally believe that America will go through a series of shifts that will change the way things have been run & done in the last several decades.
    And that will help restructure governments & socio-political institutions……..all for the better……leading to a deeper connectivity on a human & global level.

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. Well, I think everyone needs a change in of gears, and Obama might jus’ do it for America!

  3. you know I agree with what u have said but I also agree with what that guy said about being aware about what happens around us. Not to say its wrong to follow politics or anything elsewhere…but “not caring” about what happens to our country reeks of an apathy that is sad…and quite sadly, quintessentially Indian!

    Just my two bits.

    PS: remember the time I was stuck in an airplane with a former chief minister of a state?? I too got a snigger and a quote “You must know the american president atleast”!!!

  4. Doesn’t it make you feel empowered?
    Doesn’t it make you feel like Democracy actually exists and WORKS??

    It felt AWESOME!
    skeptics kept telling me that ultimately Republicans would win… coz that’s just the way it is.
    I turned to them and said “Ha!”

    It felt so BRILLIANT!

    People CHOSE!
    people didn’t just follow the regular..the traditional..
    people ACTUALLY educated themselves and made an active choice..and it WORKED!!!

    and on top of that..
    they DEFIED old expectations and flushed the race card down the toilet.

    I LOVE this place now 🙂

  5. Tinx

    This election really was the coming together of this diverse country – so divided on the main issues facing us today – and excercising those ‘ inalienable rights of We, the People”.

    If anyone believes in the birth & rebirth of nations,I think most Americans saw that opportunity of affecting Change; a most effective message brought home by Obama’s campaign.
    And a very targeted & well run, focussed campaign.

    For the last 8 years, Bush administered this country like the CEO in a boardroom with the most self-protective & political agendas ever in the history of the US Presidency.
    The time was right & Obama brought a hopefulness & unique message that McCan didn’t ( besides the fact that he is 70 something & the prospect of a crazed Sarah Palin becoming the President as a real possibility strengthened the vote against him )

    If one weighs in reactions from Blacks from the times of segregation, this is not a victory of the measure the media is reporting it to be. The attitudes against racism haven’t changed so much yet.
    Yes, the President elect is black & his victory does mean something- that the people want & hope for their government to end this war, bring their sons & daughters home & help the nation get back on its feet & on track to progress……..It is only the more enlightened ones who understand & wanted a government who also restores the US to its role as a leader in tackling issues that affect this world & this planet- ie. establishing peace & undoing some of the damage to the environment.
    The black thing is a post election effect more than a factor that was consciously overcome as a barrier, given the choices- more of the same Bush-like policies vs something different.

    While this is a historic moment & Obama is poised to turn the tide & make history, this victory is about the turnaround in this country’s attitudes & the excercising of this right to bring about change…..the race factor was just 1 piece & that too for a few, not the majority.
    OK, I think I’m done now.:)

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