Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Two Great Election Night Speeches

We held an election in America yesterday. One man won, one man lost. But the man who lost emerged a winner in my heart, to stand alongside that man who won. When all is said and done, the United States of America is the winner because of what these two men said in their final speeches of the Presidential campaign.

Both were eloquent, both were inspiring.

Sen. John McCain’s concession speech moved me to tears as he called for a reconciliation of Americans and asked us all to cherish our citizenship.

“I’ve always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Sen. Obama believes that too,” Sen. McCain told America.

“In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.”

“Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We MAKE history,” Sen. McCain concluded.

It was almost as if Sen. Barack Obama picked up where Sen. McCain’s speech left off.

“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,” he said in his opening.

He paid tribute to Sen. 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 American that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.”

His words also brought me to tears as he issued his challenge to America.

“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 fall starts … 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.”

President-Elect Obama talked about 106-year-old Ann Nixon Cooper, who was wheeled over to her Atlanta polling place on a hospital gurney and voted by touching her finger to a screen placed on her bed. I felt my heart in my throat.

And I felt hope rise up within me as he concluded: “This is our chance … 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.”

Two thoughts:

1. If Sen. McCain had campaigned using the sincere tone and passion that punctuated his concession speech, and not evoked a combative spirit in the final month of the campaign, the election possibly may have turned his way. That was the John McCain that I was leaning toward voting for early in the campaign.

2. President-Elect Obama is an inspiring speaker with deep and inspiring words. The sincerity of his messages and the hope they carried swayed me to vote for him. Now all I want is for him to do the work he was elected to do, and lead us in fixing the country.


Rebecca said...

Thanks for posting this. I was all election'ed out before the speeches came on and missed them.

Bevlove said...

Let's hope everyone can come together and work for the good of our country.

casch said...

Let's hope our country can pull together in a cohesive manner. We need to "regroup" and be supportive.

Montee said...

Craig, I agree with you about McCain. I think he listened way too much to his advisors.

Obama gave another eloquent speech. Now he is going to have to prove to me that he is as good as his speeches.