Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Last Words of the First Day: President Obama's Inspiration

“Which brings me to the third and main reason why this was not just a campaign but it was a movement… and that’s you. Because when I look out across this… this place.... When I look out and see all of you, I think… look at you, you guys are just kids! And maybe it’s because so many of you are so young, or at least young at heart, that you could imagine what had not been done before. You didn’t know any better when people said I couldn’t win. You didn’t understand that that’s not how it is done, when people said, ‘well you can’t raise money over the internet $25 at a time.’ You didn't know, so you just went out and raised money over the internet $25 at a time. Yes we can.

[Crowd chanting "yes we can, yes we can..."]

“When people said, ‘you know what, you can’t build a grass-roots organization in all 50 states and have people just get on a website and just decide, ‘well, I’m going to vote for Obama and I’m just going to start organizing.’ You’re not supposed to be able to do that.’ And you guys just went ahead and did it. You didn't know any better - you said yes we can.

“That’s spirit. That…

[Crowd chanting “Ready to go! Fired up!”]

“Hey... Let me say this because I'm... I'm gonna get carried away and my wife's like, my wife said, 'you were going to be short, you were going to be brief.' Plus we’ve got an amazing show coming up. Let me just pause by saying this… now hold up, hold up… hold up, hold up.

“There is.. here's, here's… here is what I just want... want you to remember from this campaign is that… listen up, I want you guys to listen up, ‘cuz so many of you are at the start of your careers.

“You know... we now have some big problems, and we’ve assembled what I think will be an outstanding administration. We are going to follow through on our commitments, we are going to work hard to keep people in their homes, provide jobs, improve the education system for every American and change our foreign policy to reflect our ideals and our values – we are going to do all that.

“But here is the thing, I guess, that is most important to me, is that you take the spirit and the culture of this campaign and you keep applying it not just to campaigns, make it that sense of possibility that you guys can do anything, that you can reimagine the world. That you can lead not by trying to manipulate your way or push down somebody else to get your way but instead lead through the force of your example and your discipline and your creativity. I just hope that you carry that with you everywhere you go because that’s what America needs right now, active citizens like you who are willing to turn towards each other, talk to people you've never met and say, ‘c’mon, let’s go do this, let’s go change the world. Let’s go create a better way to teach our children, let’s go figure out how to make the healthcare system work for every American, let’s go make sure that we got accountability in our government, let’s go to other countries and spread the word of freedom and democracy but also prosperity and equality and justice.

“What an enormous force you've got inside yourselves. Don’t put that on the shelf and wait for the next four years. Next week, next month, next year, for the rest of your lives. Cling on to that essential thing about you. What made this campaign special was you, and don’t let anybody forget, don’t let anybody take that away from you. Because I promise you, I promise you, if everybody in this hall is willing to keep doing what you guys have been doing over the last two years, then I’m optimistic about America. And I’m gonna make some mistakes, but you’ll, you'll set me right. And after I’m out of office, then you’ll set the next person right. And maybe someday you’ll be in office, and you’ll set the country right. And maybe you’ll never be in office, but you’ll make your neighborhood right or you’ll make your job right.

“I am confident in you. I have faith in you. I am grateful to you. You, together, can change the world. God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you.”

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