That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted at least, most of the time. It is on your lips and in your heart. It's an idea that's often forgotten or dismissed in cynical times. Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. It's not because John McCain doesn't care. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead.
Tonight is a particular honor for me because - let's face it - my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. These are some of the challenges that test our conscience - as Americans and people of faith. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women - students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors - found the courage to keep it alive. We seek no military bases there. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons.
We have to do what we can, knowing it's hard and not swinging from a naive idealism to a bitter defeatism - but rather, accepting the fact that we're not going to solve every problem overnight, but we can still make a difference. That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension.
I learned that everyone's got a sacred story when you take the time to listen. I didn't fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. I don't know what Bible they're reading, but it doesn't jibe with my version. These are not whiners. She poured everything she had into me. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11.
John Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren't held hostage to the profits of oil companies, or the sabotage of foreign oil fields. We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honors the dignity of work. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. We are taking concrete actions to change course.