…And We Will

Posted by Melvin Bray on January 5th, 2009 filed in Useful Perhaps

At the beginning of this semester, I am requiring that all my students learn the following portion of then-Candidate Obama’s “Yes We Can” speech—which he delivered in New Hampshire (8 Jan 2008) as the ‘worse’ concession speech of all time…

[9 min, 07 secs]
“We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no
matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way
of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

“We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. They will
only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We’ve been
asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against
offering the people of this nation false hope.

“But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been
anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible
odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t
try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a
simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

“‘Yes we can.’ Yes we can. Yes we can.

“It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the
destiny of a nation—yes we can.

“It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail
toward freedom through the darkest of nights—yes we can.

“It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and
pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness—yes we can.

“It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the
ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King
who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land—
yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation.
Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.

“And so tomorrow, as we take this campaign South and West; as we learn
that the struggles of the textile worker in Spartanburg are not so
different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas; that the
hopes of the little girl who goes to the crumbling school in Dillon are
the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we
will remember that there is something happening in America; that we
are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people;
we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter
in America’s story with three words that will ring from coast to
coast; from sea to shining sea—Yes, We, Can.”

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