The hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds. Yet what we also understand is that our values should express themselves not just through our churches or synagogues, temples or mosques; they should express themselves through our government. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American. This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating.
My parents shared not only an improbable love, they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. We the people, in order to form a more perfect union." I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible. And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war. But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. America's strong bonds with Israel are well known.
"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence.
And it puts the lie to the notion that the separation of church and state in America means faith should have no role in public life. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century, and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in these areas.
We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few.