Thursday, September 4, 2008

Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech For The Nomination as President of the United States

Photos by Lee Davis and James Groomes

Semator Barack Obama speaks at Invesco Mile Field Stadium on August 28, 2008 in Denver.

By Senator Barack Obama

To Chairman Dean and my great Friend Dick Durbin , and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation. With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States. Let me express my thanks to the historic state of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest- a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours-Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia--I love you so much and I'm so proud of all of you. Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story--of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't ell off or well known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart--that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women--students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors--found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments--a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.
Tonight, more American are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can''t afford to pay and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges and not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed polices of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty, that sits on the hand while a major American city drown before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people. to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land--enough. This moment--this election is our chance to keep in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say "Eight is enough."

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country and bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.
But the reoord's clear John McCain has votes with George Bush ninety percent of the time. senator McCain like to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

James W. Groomes, Wrigley Bulletin photographer, Wendell, movie actor, and Past President of the Los Angeles Urban League are captured here outside of the the Pepsi Center in Denver.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in you r lives--on health care and education and the economy--Senator McCain has been anything but independent.t He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief ad visors- the man who wrote his economic plan -was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote "a nation of whiners."

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved one leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Delegates, people and press had come from all over the world to hear Barack Obama's acceptance speech, as the first African American nominated by the Democratic National Committee as President of the United States of America.

Now I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of American. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? Hoe else could he propose hundred of billion in tax beaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one plenty of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subsided to that old discredited Republican philosophy-give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own book straps-even if you don;t have boots. You're on your own.

Well its time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America. You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country. That not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don';t defeat a terrors network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don;'t tell me that Democrats won't defend this country, don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans--Democrats and Republican- have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21s century terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing so that America is one again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his position for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan for political playboo. So let us agree that patriotism's has no party. I love this country, and so do you and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red American or a Blue America-they have served the United States of America. So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn out ideas and politics of the past. For past of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our series of common purpose- our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in these country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang -violence in Clevenland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping Ak-47 out of the hands of criminals. I know there are difference on same sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.

Passions fly on immigration but can't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of American's promise--the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what--its worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all it promise seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again. Then its best to stop hoping and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for the office. I can't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough of the politics in the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teach us--that at defining moments like the this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington, Change comes to Washington, Change happens because the American people demand it--because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership a new politics for a new time. America, this is one of those moments
I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. Ive seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyist more accountable to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

Donna Brazile Democratic analysis for CNN and John Lewis freedom fighter are pictured at the the Democratic National Convention just before Joe Biden spoke to accept his nomination.

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwater rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit--that American promise-that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain, that binds us together in spite of our differences. that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. it's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours--a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines,and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington before Lincolns Memorial and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered them could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discard. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead-people of every credc and color, form every walk of life--is that in America our destiny is nexticalby liked. That toghter our deream can be one.

We cannot walk alone, "the preachter cried. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

America, we cnnot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and mso many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this eleciton, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise-that American promise-and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confress.Barack Obamoa is the first African American to be nominated by the Democratic National Committee for President of the United States of America. This historic event took place on the same day as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March on Washington, August 28, 1963.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

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