President Obama

Congratulations, Senator Mr. President.

Chicago Sun-Times, front page, November 5, 2008

More than change, hope has come to America. This morning we awoke to a new future, a new belief. These United States are a nation defined more aptly by ideas, a hopeful myth constructed to suit our highest aspiration. This election does not actualize or perfect our character as a people, but returns our admiration to those things we have yet to accomplish, the ideals of what we should, as a nation, be. And if we find fulfillment of such lofty notions impossible today, we should not give over to despair. We set our standards high as a matter of deliberation, that we might never become complacent with what we have thus far accomplished. Tomorrow should promise something greater than fear.

This election is by no means an end point. Rather, it is another in a long sequence of American new beginnings. We, the People, must strive to hold our new president accountable not only to the pledges of a campaign hard-fought and won, but also to the promise we put before the world. “Liberty and justice for all” is among the noblest goals of the human endeavor, and to be satisfied simply that tomorrow does not look so much like yesterday would surrender the cause.

It is time for hope, but also vigilance. We cannot let the opportunity put before us slip away. We must not accept a new boss who is remotely the same as the old. A political chapter that opened forty years ago in Miami has turned its last page. What history will write of the next forty years is yet unknown, but in its draft form we must remember that we hold the pen. Let our vigil over these next years be characterized by the very integrity, courage, and wisdom that we would hope of our leaders. Today we might rejoice for President-elect Obama. Tomorrow, we must be prepared to answer the challenges that continue, as such tests do, to present themselves.

We are the United States of America. We must heal ourselves before we can dream of saving the world.