The day after Pearl Harbor my grandfather signed up for duty; joined Patton's army, marched across Europe. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible. We believe that everyone, everywhere should be loved, and given the chance to work, and raise a family. The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great - a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight. Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America's promise. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today.
The hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. Religious leaders like my friends Rev. Jim Wallis and Rabbi David Saperstein and Nathan Diament are working for justice and fighting for change. Universities and states, including Illinois, are taking part in a divestment campaign to pressure the Sudanese government to stop the killings. It's that we all have it within our power to make this a better world.
I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. And this restlessness - this search for meaning - is familiar to me. They could've heard words of anger and discord.
I was not raised in a particularly religious household. Last time we took up immigration reform, it failed. That's not the judgment we need. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education. I am emphasizing such investments within my country.
They're ready to turn the page on the old politics and the old policies - whether it's the war in Iraq or the health care crisis we're in, or a school system that's leaving too many kids behind despite the slogans. You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country. I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. Indeed, faith should bring us together.