Dear Mr. President,
I have had tears in my eyes on and off since last night when you took the stage in Grant Park, Chicago. When you implored us to fully believe that mantra "Yes we can," repeating it calmly and humbly, I knew it was finally true.
Your face, as you walked onto that stage last night held something often shadowed by your confidence (though your confidence is of a different sort than we have come to know, so refreshingly lacking in arrogance). You were humbled and in your humility, you cemented your humanity. And it was all there on your face, before you spoke one word. People have praised and attacked your oration these past several months. But there, standing before tens of thousands in Chicago and millions more watching across the world, you did not need to say a word. Your face held more eloquence than any speech you have ever given.
When you did finally speak, your modesty did not allow you to run away to some perch of hyperbole and expectation, too lofty to reach. Even in this moment of jubilation, you were realistic. And you showed great respect for your listeners by not making grand promises that would leave us disheartened in the end. Instead you did what you have done until now. You told us the truth. You told us that the road ahead will be long. The road ahead will be difficult. And you reminded us once again that it was not you that allowed for your standing there in Grant Park (though our praise may outweigh your modesty today), but us. As you have called on us before, you asked us to believe not just in your ability to bring change, but to believe in ours as well.
This last point is what will make you a great leader, Mr. President. No matter how many times it is repeated, let this fact never lose the weight it carries: You have inspired millions of people across the world to believe that their voices matter. Where before they had none, today they have one. And it is loud. And it is clear. And it is spoken through you, Mr. President.
As the world celebrates--and it is truly a world celebration--we recognize that there is so much work to be done. You would not let us forget this, even in your proudest moment. Today the real work begins. Having taken a giant leap for man, we are still great leaps and bounds from where we wish to be. You know this, Mr. President, as well as anyone. Still, today, facing in this new direction, the sun shining brightly on my face, I join the world in this celebration. And I say with more fervor than I have ever said before: I am proud to be an American. Because being an American today once again feels as though I am a part of the world.
Thank you for that, Mr. President.
When You Get Bored Here, Go Here:
- David Luke Doody
- David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.
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