Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankfulness and Hope, An Election Epilogue

I am not aware of having earned the location of my birth. And I believe that humanity matters more than nationality. Nevertheless, recents days are symbolic of several reasons why I am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America.

The debate over America's next president was not always constructive. And even between friends discussions could sometimes prove frustrating. But I find it all to be a small cost for the immense benefits of free expression and democracy.

At his re-election victory celebration, President Barack Obama captured some of my feelings (full transcription here):
Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.
"People in distant nations" who desire a similar liberty yet see no obvious path to obtain it might hear a message for themselves in Obama's later words for Americans:
...I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.
Today I am especially thankful for what requires no hope--Americans possessing the rights to engage in debate and to choose their own leaders.

I hope Americans work better together in achieving their common goals. I hope America meets the many challenges it faces. I hope Obama plays a positive role in improving America and the world. I hope I contribute.

And I hope people all around the world who seek liberty continue to hope.

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