The hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores. But somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. Religious leaders like my friends Rev. Jim Wallis and Rabbi David Saperstein and Nathan Diament are working for justice and fighting for change. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations.
I'm not talking about blind optimism here - the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't think about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely. They have killed in many countries. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012.
And yet, I know that, on this night, they look down on me with great pride. They know those things. So doing the Lord's work is a thread that's run through our politics since the very beginning. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild." And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests.
A belief that there are better days ahead. And I found that I recognized in these folks a part of myself. Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.
On November 4th, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough." We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world - tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.
Thank you, and God bless America.