Sometimes I wonder if the change that I envision for this country is attainable. You see, the change I propose is cultural, fundamental, institutional, structural--radical. As radical as Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, as radical as Kennedy's 1962 prediction of moon exploration. I am impelled to quote an excerpt from a speech he made at Rice University in 1962:
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do... Other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard, because the goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."
Ten months after that speech was made Mr. Kennedy was jduged by a lone gunman and sentenced by the same not to see his prediction, his dream, the American hope, the American ethos come to fruition. Five years and one month after his eay too early dismissal from our planet, Frank Borman, Jim Lovely, and Bill Anders of Apollo 8 read from the opening versus of Genesis from a space ship in outer space. Inspired by their accomplishment and captivated by the emotion of scripture we all experienced outer space that 1968 Christmas Eve. We accomplished the improbable. We saw Earth from the moon. We were all historic astronauts. We all won.
Forty years later I wonder if my story; my traveled road... Is my journey to political outer space something America is able to support. Our diasporic country so strong, so resilient, yet so sensitive, so fragile, I wonder.
I wonder, will those whose ancestors fought for the independence of the South understand that my love for our Union is inseparable from my love for them? I wonder.
I wonder if those whose bedrock of stability was shattered by this vulnerability of our nation on 9/11 because of hatred and extremism understand that my love for my father and his beliefs in no way conflict with my undaunted determination to protect this-- our beloved nation at all costs? That my culturally diverse background allows me to appreciate the many perspectives of all Americans--their smiles and their frowns. Their hopes and their fears. I wonder.
I wonder if my rags to riches tosry that is only possible in this amazing beacon of light we call America is enough. Enough for those who are still iving in rags, in our ghettos, in our trailer communities to believe that I will not forget them because I was once sharing those rags. I wonder.
Today our country is hurting on many fronts and I believe that our resilience will shine through because of our common suffering. Wall St. is hurting, Main St. is hurting. Our seniors are hurting, our youth are hurting. I envision that hurt pulling us together to create solutions, to smile like we have never smiled before. We are the Generation of Greatness.
But I know, we have military concerns with Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Georgia. We have humanitarian concernsi n Darfur. Economic concerns in China. We are very busy. Will I be able to solve all of our problems abroad? No.
But we can. We can if we change cultrually, fundamentally, institutionally, and structurally. I do not look like the status quo, I know. Undoubtedly, many graves will turn over in disgust if I am elected, I know. My face in the White house is a radical concept that our founding fathers never fathomed. But they were revolutionaries that went against the status quo of their day. Their radical vision has been the envy of every generation in the world since. That vision was the United States of America.
I wonder if we--American can see that my vision is the same as theirs. I wonder if we will choose to hope, not because it is easy but because it is hard.