You’ll notice that, at the bottom of the screenshot from MSNBC that accompanied last night’s post on Barack Obama, the words “Obama: I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations.”
MSNBC showed these words and others from Obama speech as he was delivering it. Midway through the speech, my wife read this statement about humility and limitations and asked me, “Did he say that? I don’t remember it, and I’ve been listening pretty closely.” I suggested that they were quoting from his prepared text, following the practice, which I find profoundly annoying, that some networks have of preceding commercial breaks during mini-series with quick shots of scenes to come.
But when Obama actually uttered those words at the end of his speech, I found myself moved anyway:
The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment — this was the time — when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
What if — what if — it turns out to be true? What if historians a century from now can point to this fall as the moment when the United States changed its course and finally began to promise of its founding?
It sounds naive, I know, but that’s why having hope is, as Obama, suggests “audacious.”