Barack Obama discorso dopo le elezioni 2012 con traduzione in italiano e testo inglese completo


 

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

Questa è la risposta detta dalle code che si accalcavano dalle scuole e chiese in numeri che questa nazione non ha mai visto; da gente che aspettava tre ore e quattro ore, molto per la prima volta nelle loro vite, perchè credevano che questo tempo avrebbe fatto la differenza; che la loro voce avrebbe potuto essere quella differenza.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

Questa è la risposta detta da giovani e vecchi, ricchi e poveri, democratici e repubblicani, neri, bianchi, latini, asiatici, nativi americani, omossessuali, disabili e non disabili – Gli americani mandano un messaggio al mondo che non è mai stato una collezione di stati rossi e blu: noi siamo, e sempre saremo, gli Stati Uniti d’America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

Questa è la risposta lasciata da coloro che avevano parlato così a lungo da così tanto da essere cinici, e paurosi e dubbiosi di quello che possiamo realizzare per tendere le mani nell’arco della storia e piegare questo una volta ancora verso la speranza di un giorno migliore.


It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

Ciò è stato lungo tempo a venire, ma stanotte, pochiè di quello che abbiamo fatto questi giorni, in queste elezioni, durante questo definito momento, il cambiamento è arrivato in America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

Ho già ricevuto una piacevole chiamata dal senatore McCain.  Ha combatturo a lungo e faticosamente in questa campagna, e ha combattuto anche più a lungo e più difficilmente per il paese che ama. Lui aa sopportato sacrifici per l’America che la maggior parte di noi non può iniziare ad immaginare, e noi siamo migliori anche grazie al servizio reso da questo leader coraggioso e altruista. Mi congratulo con lui e la governatrice Palin per tutto quello che hanno ottenuto, e non vedo l’ora di lavorare con loro per rinnovare la promessa di questa nazione nei prossimi mesi.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

Voglio ringraziare il mio compagno in questo viaggio, un uomo che ha fatto la campagna elettorale col cuore, parlando per le donne e per gli uomini con cui è cresciuto nelle strade di Scranton e cavalcò con su quel treno verso casa nel Delaware, il vicepresidente eletto della Stati Uniti, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

Io non sarei qui questa sera senza il sostegno continuo della mia migliore amica degli ultimi sedici anni, la roccia della nostra famiglia e l’amore della mia vita, la prossima first lady della nostra nazione, Michelle Obama. Sasha e Malia, vi amo entrambe così tanto, e vi siete guadagnate il nuovo cucciolo che verrà con noi alla Casa Bianca. E mentre lei non è più con noi, so che mia nonna ci sta guardando, insieme alla famiglia che mi ha reso quello che sono. Mi mancano, stasera, e so che il mio debito verso di loro è incommensurabile.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

Al mio responsabile della campagna David Plouffe, il mio capo stratega David Axelrod, e la migliore squadra per campagne elettorali mai messa insieme nella storia della politica – hai fatto in modo che questo accadesse, e sono per sempre grato per quello che avete sacrificato per farlo fare.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

Ma soprattutto, non dimenticherò mai a chi veramente appartiene questa vittoria a – appartiene a voi.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

Non sono mai stato il candidato più probabile per questa carica. Non abbiamo iniziato con finanziamenti o appoggi ufficiali. La nostra campagna non è stata pianificata nelle grandi sale di Washington – E ‘iniziata nei cortili di Des Moines, nei tinelli di Concord, sotto i portici di Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

E ‘stata costruita da lavoratori e lavoratrici che hanno attinto ai loro pochi risparmi che avevano per offrire cinque dollari, dieci dollari, venti dollari alla causa. E ‘cresciuta tra i giovani, che hanno rigettato il mito dell’apatia della loro generazione, che hanno lasciato le loro case e le loro famiglie per un’occupazione che offriva uno stipendio modesto e meno sonno, dalle persone non-così-giovani che hanno sfidato il freddo pungente e il caldo più soffocante per bussare alle porte di perfetti sconosciuti, dai milioni di americani che si sono offerti, e organizzati, e hanno dimostrato che molto più di due secoli dopo, un governo del popolo, dal popolo e per il popolo non è sparito dalla faccia di questa Terra. Questa è la vostra vittoria.


I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

Lo so che non lo avete fatto solo per vincere un’elezione e so che non l’avete fatto per me. Lo avete fatto perché capite l’enormità del compito che ci attende. Perché anche se questa sera festeggiamo, sappiamo che le sfide che il futuro ci presenterà sono le più grandi della nostra vita – due guerre, un pianeta in pericolo, la peggiore crisi finanziaria da un secolo. Anche mentre siamo qui stasera, sappiamo che ci sono americani coraggiosi che si svegliano nei deserti dell’Iraq e le montagne dell’Afghanistan per rischiare le loro vite per noi. Ci sono madri e padri che resteranno svegli dopo che i loro bambini si addormentano e si chiedono se ce la faranno il mutuo, o pagare le bollette del loro medico, o risparmiare abbastanza per l’università. Ci sono nuova energia e nuovi posti di lavoro da creare, nuove scuole da costruire e minacce di incontro e alleanze da riparare.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

La strada da percorrere sarà lunga. La salita sarà ripida. Forse non ci riusciremo in un anno o anche un solo mandato, ma l’America – non sono mai stato più speranzoso di quanto lo sia questa notte che ci arriveremo. Vi prometto – noi come popolo, ci arriveremo.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

Ci saranno battute d’arresto e false partenze. Ci sono molti che non saranno d’accordo con ogni decisione o ogni politica che faccio in qualità di Presidente, e sappiamo che il governo non può risolvere ogni problema. Ma sarò sempre onesto con voi sulle sfide che abbiamo di fronte. Io vi ascolterò, soprattutto quando non siamo d’accordo. E soprattutto, vi chiedo di unirvi nell’opera di ricostruzione della nazione nell’unico modo in cui è stato fatto in America per duecento e 21 anni – blocco per blocco, mattone su mattone, mano lavoratrice (con i calli) nella mano lavoratrice.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

Ciò che è iniziato 21 mesi fa, in pieno inverno, non deve finire in questa notte autunnale. Questa vittoria da sola non è il cambiamento che cerchiamo – è solo l’occasione per noi di procedere al cambiamento. E questo non può accadere se torniamo al modo in cui le cose erano. Non può accadere senza di voi.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Cerchiamo quindi di convocare un nuovo spirito di patriottismo, di servizio e di responsabilità in cui ognuno di noi decida di darci dentro, di lavorare sodo e di badare non solo noi stessi, ma l’un l’altro. Ricordiamoci che se questa crisi finanziaria ci ha insegnato qualcosa, è che non possiamo avere una Wall Street prospera mentre Main Street soffre – in questo paese, dbbiamo aumentare o diminuire come un unica nazione, come un unico popolo.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.


Resistiamo dunque alla tentazione di ricadere nella faziosità e meschinità e immaturità che hanno avvelenato la nostra politica così a lungo. Ricordiamoci che era un uomo di questo Stato che per primo ha portato la bandiera del partito repubblicano alla Casa Bianca – un partito fondato sui valori della fiducia in se stessi, la libertà individuale, e l’unità nazionale. Questi sono valori che tutti condividiamo, e mentre il partito Democratico si è aggiudicato una grande vittoria questa notte, lo facciamo con una misura di umiltà e determinazione a sanare le divisioni che hanno frenato il nostro progresso. Come Lincoln disse a una nazione ancora più divisa della nostra, “Noi non siamo nemici, ma amici … se le passioni possono averlo allentato non devono rompere i nostri legami di affetto.” E a quegli americani il cui supporto devo ancora conquistarmi – Forse non ho ottenuto il vostro voto, ma sento le vostre voci, ho bisogno del vostro aiuto e sarò anche il vostro presidente.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

E a tutti quelli che guardano questa sera da oltre i nostri litorali, dai parlamenti e dai palazzi, a coloro che si stanno stringendo intorno a radio negli angoli dimenticati del nostro mondo – le nostre storie sono diverse, ma il nostro destino è comune e una nuova alba per la leadership americana è a portata di mano. A coloro che invece vorrebbero distruggere questo mondo dico: – noi vi sconfiggeremo. A coloro che cercano pace e sicurezza – vi sosteniamo. E a tutti coloro che si chiedono se il faro dell’ America è ancora acceso – questa sera abbiamo dimostrato ancora una volta che la vera forza della nostra nazione non nasce dalla nostra potenza delle nostre armi o dal cumulo delle nostre ricchezze, bensì dalla vitalità duratura dei nostri ideali: democrazia, libertà, opportunità e tenace speranza.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

Perché questo è il vero spirito dell’America – che l’America può cambiare. La nostra unione può essere realizzata. E quello che abbiamo già ottenuto ci dà speranza per quello che possiamo e dobbiamo ottenere domani.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

In queste elezioni si sono viste molte novità e molte storie che saranno raccontate per generazioni. Ma una che è nella mia mente stasera riguarda una donna che ha votato ad Atlanta. E ‘un po’ come i milioni di altri che stavano in fila per far sentire la loro voce in questa elezione, ma c’è qualcosa – Ann Nixon Cooper ha 106 anni.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin. And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

Era nata una generazione dal passato schiavista, un tempo in cui non c’erano automobili per le strade, né aerei in cielo, quando qualcuno come lei non poteva votare per due ragioni – perché era una donna e per il colore della sua pelle . E stasera, penso a tutto quello che lei ha visto nel corso della sua secolo in America – alle sofferenze e alla speranza, alle battaglie e al progresso, quando ci è stato detto che non possiamo, e le persone che invece ribadivano questo credo americano: Sì, noi possiamo

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can. When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can. When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

In un’epoca in cui le voci delle donne furono messe a tacere e le loro speranze respinte, ha vissuto per vederle alzarsi in piedi e parlare e dirigersi verso le urne. Sì, noi possiamo. Quando c’era disperazione nel Dust Bowl e la depressione in tutto il paese, ha visto una nazione superare le proprie paure con un New Deal, nuovi posti di lavoro e un nuovo senso di scopo comune. Sì, noi possiamo. Quando le bombe sono cadute a Pearl Harbor, e la tirannia ha minacciato il mondo, lei era lì a testimoniare una generazione seppe elevarsi e salvare la democrazia. Sì, noi possiamo.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

Era lì quando c’erano gli autobus di Montgomery, gli idranti a Birmingham, un ponte a Selma, e un predicatore di Atlanta che diceva alla popolazione: “Noi dobbiamo andare oltre”. Sì, noi possiamo.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

Un uomo ha camminato sulla luna, un muro è caduto a Berlino, un mondo è stato collegato dalla nostra scienza e immaginazione. E quest’anno, in queste elezioni, lei ha puntato il dito contro lo schermo e ha votato, perché dopo 106 anni in America, passati in tempi migliori e in ore più cupe, lei sa che l’America può cambiare. Sì, noi possiamo.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

America, abbiamo fatto tanta strada. Abbiamo visto così tanto. Ma c’è molto di più da fare. Quindi questa sera chiediamoci – se i nostri figli dovessero vivere fino a vedere il prossimo secolo, se le mie figlie dovessero avere la fortuna di vivere a lungo quanto Ann Nixon Cooper, a quali cambiamenti assisteranno? Quali progressi avremo fatto?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Questa è la nostra occasione per rispondere a questa chiamata. Questo è il nostro momento. Questo è il nostro tempo – per mettere la nostra gente al lavoro e aprire le porte delle opportunità per i nostri figli, per ripristinare la prosperità e promuovere la causa della pace, per reclamare il sogno americano e riaffermare quella verità fondamentale – che anche se tanti, siamo uno , che mentre respiriamo, speriamo, e quando siamo assaliti dal cinismo, dal dubbio e da chi ci dice che non possiamo, risponderemo con quel credo senza tempo che riassume lo spirito di un popolo:

Yes We Can (Sì, noi possiamo). Grazie, Dio vi benedica, e che Dio benedica gli Stati Uniti d’America.

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Spero non ci siano errori gravi di traduzione visto che l’ho scritta con una certa stanchezza sul tardi; nel caso per favore avvisatemi nei commenti, grazie.

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Testo completo in inglese:

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.


I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.


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