In a sense, what brought me to Chicago in the first place was a hunger for some sort of meaning in my life. I learned that everyone's got a sacred story when you take the time to listen. I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
And I think they recognized a part of themselves in me too. As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all. This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together. I'll invest in early childhood education. Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions.
I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents' dreams live on in my two precious daughters. I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. They're looking to relieve a chronic loneliness. It's that we all have it within our power to make this a better world. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.
This is a problem that's brought together churches and synagogues and mosques and people of all faiths as part of a grassroots movement. It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences 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.
That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose - our sense of higher purpose. But what the people heard instead - people of every creed and color, from every walk of life - is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. This has bred more fear and mistrust. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.
God bless you.