Obviously, I'm happy right now. OK, deliriously happy. Shamelessly filled with joy.
But I know that not all of you are and I'm going to make every effort not to be smug or glib. I have been in your shoes. Twice, as a matter of fact, out of the last two elections. I believe that most people vote out of a deep conviction that the candidate they choose is the best choice to lead our country and will do a better job of making our nation and our lives better. It's not like your sports team losing. This is real and it affects us and if you think the worse candidate won, that's big stuff. It's discouraging and hard and for a lot of people this year, probably frightening, given all of the fear-mongering that has gone on.
But not only am I proud of Americans for voting for the man I believe will do the better job, I am proud of Americans for doing what had been said to be impossible. All elections are historic, but this time our collective history has changed in a way that it hasn't before. Now you can look in the eyes of any child and say, "You can be president. It doesn't matter what the color of your skin, or whether you grew up rich or poor, heir to a political dynasty or the son of a single mother. If you work hard, if you study hard, if you serve others, you can do this too."
Both of the candidates we had this year are role models for choosing service, military or community, over lives lived solely for personal gain. I haven't understood the cynicism associated with these two candidates. While I didn't like the tactics associated with the McCain campaign, particularly in the last few weeks, I respect the man. I believe both of these men are idealists. Maybe that makes me naive, but you won't convince me otherwise. I think McCain is a good man, but I believe that Obama is the man with the right ideas and demeanor for these times.
Of course no one man can change the course of our nation on his own. The president does not have unlimited power, but his power and influence are tremendous. History was made tonight and things are going to change, I believe for the better.
I can't express how happy I am to have the chance to see this history unfold before us, to be a part of it. I am proud of my country. I am hopeful for our future.
I had forgotten for a little while there what hope felt like. It feels good. It feels really, really good.