Last week, President Obama accepted his party’s nomination and laid out the choice American voters have between two fundamentally different sets of values that would guide our country. Introduced by his wife and partner Michelle Obama, the President reminded us that hope is “not blind optimism, not wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty—that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward even when the odds are great, even when the road is long.”
He spoke as President: realistic about the challenges that face America, but confident in our capacity to overcome them. He spoke as Commander-in-Chief: certain that protecting our national security and interests is intrinsically tied to promoting and holding true to the values that made our nation exceptional in the first place. He spoke as a father: concerned about the country we’re leaving our children, and determined to make sure it is one that allows them to meet their God-given potential. He spoke as a person of faith: drawing courage and perseverance from his faith to keep fighting for every American.
His speech was a speech about the common good. It was a values speech. In his words, this campaign is about “a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known — the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s army, the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone. They knew they were part of something larger — a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression, a nation where the most innovative businesses turn out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in that pride and success from the corner office to the factory floor.”
So he called on Americans to “rally around a set of goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.” You can read about these goals here.
The President returned to the values and spirit of America that has made it the most exceptional nation in the world:
”As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility, and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success. We have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk- takers, the entrepreneurs who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system, the greatest engine of growth and prosperity that the world’s ever known.
“But we also believe in something called citizenship — citizenship, a word at the very heart of our founding, a word at the very essence of our democracy, the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.”
As the President made clear, the power, worth, and capacity of the individual has never been at odds with the common good in this country—these two values reinforce and depend on one another.
The President closed with hope, a hope that has been tested, but reaffirmed in the spirit of the American people. “They remind me,” he said, “in the words of scripture, ours is a future filled with hope. And if you share that faith with me, if you share that hope with me, I ask you tonight for your vote.”
We are 57 days away from Election Day. Make sure our values continue to have a voice in The White House and commit to vote today.