Between Bill Clinton turning “Arithmetic!” into an applause line, John Kerry using Rocky IV to slam Mitt Romney, and Joe Biden’s irrepressible Joe Bidenness, I won’t have the brainpower to fully process the speeches from the Democratic Convention until the weekend. But here’s my favorite part of President Obama’s speech:
So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens – you were the change.
You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who’ll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that.
You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible.
You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home; why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home.”
If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible…well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.
Democracy is not about constitutions and institutions. It’s not about politicians and parliamentarians. It’s about citizens, taking responsibility not only for themselves but for their society. We don’t just live in our nation. We don’t just serve our nation. We don’t just preserve our nation. We build our nation. Always, every day, in moments small and large, we build it. We build it together. Let’s strive to build it with wisdom, with compassion, and with determination.