Tonight I went with my neighbor and friend, Paul, and his daughter, Caitlin, and with my daughters, Hannah and Chloe, to the opening of the Obama campaign office here in State College. There were many people of diverse backgrounds, much energy and a good deal of excitement for the Obama campaign.
Chloe, Caitlin and Hannah were quite excited, dancing and singing and, of course, chanting along with the “Fired Up and … Ready to Go!” call and response. It was powerful to feel the energy of so many young people and not a few older ones at the office opening tonight.
There is a lot of work to be done if Obama is to do well and perhaps even win in Pennsylvania next month. But after tonight I am more confident that it is possible.
My confidence is yet further augmented by Obama’s speech on race in America today. It is a sober, thoughtful speech. It is a challenging speech, one that asks us to live up to the mature politics of which I spoke here months ago. It recognizes that America “is irrevocably bound to a tragic past.” And yet, it pushes us to think about how we will respond to this past.
Will we continue to be haunted by it in a paralyzing way, or will we draw upon it even as we move toward a more perfect union? Or, to use Obama’s words:
“This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.”
This is a call to action, to live up to a promise so long deferred. Now is the time.