28 лютого 2009, 15:53

Звернення Президента США Барака Обами до Конгресу

Для того щоб зрозуміти, чим українська "еліта" відрізняється від, наприклад, американської еліти, достатньо прочитати звернення Президента Сполучених Штатів до спільного засідання Конгресу та Сенату. Я не є надто палким прихильником Барака Обами, але, знаєте, не можуть не вражати його слова про те, як і за рахунок чого, Сполучені Штати збираються виходити з кризи. Безперечно, у цьому звернені відчувається зовсім інша ментальність американців – вони впевнені, що з кризи США вийдуть сильнішими, ще з більшим багажем науково-технічних знань, і саме за рахунок цього будуть залишатись світовим лідером.

Раджу усім прочитати цей виступ Президента Сполучених Штатів. Там є багато того, що повинна зрозуміти і використовувати українська еліта.

Якщо комусь цікавіше послухати цей виступ, то це тут.

До речі, мені здається, що українським Інтернет виданням не завадило б перекласти це звернення Барака Обами українською мовою. На мій погляд, воно того варте.


Для читачів, які полюбляють писати в коментарях щось на кшталт "многа буков", раджу не читати. Не навантажуйте себе, панове.:-)

Усвідомлюючи, що на форумах УП активно працюють пропагандисти БЮТу, які створюють видимість масової підтримки пані Тимошенко, я змушений на певний час закрити можливість коментування своїх блогів.

Усіх, хто небайдужий до того, про що я пишу, надсилайте листи на мою електронну поштову скриньку.

President Obama's Address to Congress

February 24, 2009


Following is a transcript of President Obama's address to a joint

session of Congress on Tuesday, as recorded by CQ Transcriptions.

OBAMA: Thank you very much.

Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, and the first

lady of the United States... (APPLAUSE)

... who's around here somewhere...


... I have come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men

and women in this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to

the men and women who sent us here.

I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our

economy is a concern that rises above all others, and rightly so. If

you haven't been personally affected by this recession, you probably

know someone who has: a friend, a neighbor, a member of your family.

You don't need to hear another list of statistics to know that our

economy is in crisis, because you live it every day. It's the worry

you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights. It's the job you

thought you'd retire from but now have lost, the business you built

your dreams upon that's now hanging by a thread, the college

acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope.

The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere.

OBAMA: But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence

shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times,

tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will

recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than



The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this

nation. The answers to our problems don't lie beyond our reach. They

exist in our laboratories and our universities, in our fields and our

factories, in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of

the hardest-working people on Earth.

Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress

and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure.

What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront

boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future

once more.


OBAMA: Now, if we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that for too

long we have not always met these responsibilities, as a government or

as a people. I say this not to lay blame or to look backwards, but

because it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that

we'll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament.

The fact is, our economy did not fall into decline overnight. Nor did

all of our problems begin when the housing market collapsed or the

stock market sank.

We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new

sources of energy, yet we import more oil today than ever before.

The cost of health care eats up more and more of our savings each

year, yet we keep delaying reform.

Our children will compete for jobs in a global economy that too many

of our schools do not prepare them for.

And though all of these challenges went unsolved, we still managed to

spend more money and pile up more debt, both as individuals and

through our government, than ever before.

In other words, we have lived through an era where too often

short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity, where we

failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next


A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead

of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations...


Regulations – regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit

at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they

couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans

anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions

were put off for some other time on some other day.

Well, that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge

of our future is here.

Now is the time to act boldly and wisely, to not only revive this

economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity.

Now is the time to jump-start job creation, re-start lending, and

invest in areas like energy, health care, and education that will grow

our economy, even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down.

That is what my economic agenda is designed to do, and that is what

I'd like to talk to you about tonight.

It's an agenda that begins with jobs. As soon...


As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery

plan by Presidents Day that would put people back to work and put

money in their pockets, not because I believe in bigger government -

I don't – not because I'm not mindful of the massive debt we've

inherited – I am.

I called for action because the failure to do so would have cost more

jobs and caused more hardships. In fact, a failure to act would have

worsened our long-term deficit by assuring weak economic growth for

years. And that's why I pushed for quick action.

And tonight I am grateful that this Congress delivered and pleased to

say that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is now law.


Over – over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5

million jobs. More than 90 percent of these jobs will be in the

private sector, jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges, constructing

wind turbines and solar panels, laying broadband and expanding mass


Because of this plan, there are teachers who can now keep their jobs

and educate our kids. Health care professionals can continue caring

for our sick. There are 57 police officers who are still on the

streets of Minneapolis tonight because this plan prevented the layoffs

their department was about to make.


Because of this plan, 95 percent of working households in America will

receive a tax cut, a tax cut that you will see in your paychecks

beginning on April 1st.


Because of this plan, families who are struggling to pay tuition costs

will receive a $2,500 tax credit for all four years of college.


And Americans – and Americans who have lost their jobs in this

recession will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits and

continued health care coverage to help them weather this storm. Now...


... I know there are some in this chamber and watching at home who are

skeptical of whether this plan will work, and I understand that


OBAMA: Here in Washington, we've all seen how quickly good intentions

can turn into broken promises and wasteful spending. And with a plan

of this scale comes enormous responsibility to get it right.

And that's why I've asked Vice President Biden to lead a tough,

unprecedented oversight effort, because nobody messes with Joe.




I have told each of my cabinet, as well as mayors and governors across

the country, that they will be held accountable by me and the American

people for every dollar they spend.

I've appointed a proven and aggressive inspector general to ferret out

any and all cases of waste and fraud.

And we have created a new Web site called recovery.gov so that every

American can find out how and where their money is being spent.

So the recovery plan we passed is the first step in getting our

economy back on track, but it is just the first step, because even if

we manage this plan flawlessly, there will be no real recovery unless

we clean up the credit crisis that has severely weakened our financial


I want to speak plainly and candidly about this issue tonight, because

every American should know that it directly affects you and your

family's well-being. You should also know that the money you've

deposited in banks across the country is safe, your insurance is

secure. You can rely on the continued operation of our financial

system; that's not the source of concern.

The concern is that, if we do not re-start lending in this country,

our recovery will be choked off before it even begins. You see...


You see, the flow of credit is the lifeblood of our economy. The

ability to get a loan is how you finance the purchase of everything

from a home to a car to a college education, how stores stock their

shelves, farms buy equipment, and businesses make payroll.

But credit has stopped flowing the way it should. Too many bad loans

from the housing crisis have made their way onto the books of too many

banks. And with so much debt and so little confidence, these banks are

now fearful of lending out any more money to households, to

businesses, or even to each other.

When there's no lending, families can't afford to buy homes or cars,

so businesses are forced to make layoffs. Our economy suffers even

more, and credit dries up even further.

That is why this administration is moving swiftly and aggressively to

break this destructive cycle, to restore confidence, and restart


And we will do so in several ways. First, we are creating a new

lending fund that represents the largest effort ever to help provide

auto loans, college loans, and small-business loans to the consumers

and entrepreneurs who keep this economy running.


Second – second, we have launched a housing plan that will help

responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their

monthly payments and refinance their mortgages.

It's a plan that won't help speculators or that neighbor down the

street who bought a house he could never hope to afford, but it will

help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home

values, Americans who will now be able to take advantage of the lower

interest rates that this plan has already helped to bring about. In

fact, the average family who refinances today can save nearly $2,000

per year on their mortgage.


Third, we will act with the full force of the federal government to

ensure that the major banks that Americans depend on have enough

confidence and enough money to lend even in more difficult times. And

when we learn that a major bank has serious problems, we will hold

accountable those responsible, force the necessary adjustments,

provide the support to clean up their balance sheets, and assure the

continuity of a strong, viable institution that can serve our people

and our economy.

OBAMA: Now, I understand that, on any given day, Wall Street may be

more comforted by an approach that gives bank bailouts with no strings

attached and that holds nobody accountable for their reckless

decisions, but such an approach won't solve the problem.

And our goal is to quicken the day when we restart lending to the

American people and American business (OOTC:ARBU) and end this crisis

once and for all. And I intend to hold these banks fully accountable

for the assistance they receive, and this time they will have to

clearly demonstrate how taxpayer dollars result in more lending for

the American taxpayer.


This time – this time, CEOs won't be able to use taxpayer money to

pad their paychecks, or buy fancy drapes, or disappear on a private

jet. Those days are over.


Still, this plan will require significant resources from the federal

government and, yes, probably more than we've already set aside. But

while the cost of action will be great, I can assure you that the cost

of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy

that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade.

That would be worse for our deficit, worse for business, worse for

you, and worse for the next generation. And I refuse to let that



Now, I understand that when the last administration asked this

Congress to provide assistance for struggling banks, Democrats and

Republicans alike were infuriated by the mismanagement and the results

that followed. So were the American taxpayers; so was I.

So I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now,

especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad

decisions. I promise you: I get it.

But I also know that, in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern

out of anger or yield to the politics of the moment.

(APPLAUSE) My job – our job – is to solve the problem. Our job is to

govern with a sense of responsibility.

I will not send – I will not spend a single penny for the purpose of

rewarding a single Wall Street executive, but I will do whatever it

takes to help the small business that can't pay its workers or the

family that has saved and still can't get a mortgage.

That's what this is about. It's not about helping banks; it's about

helping people.


It's not about helping banks; it's about helping people. Because when

credit is available again, that young family can finally buy a new

home. And then some company will hire workers to build it. And then

those workers will have money to spend. And if they can get a loan,

too, maybe they'll finally buy that car or open their own business.

Investors will return to the market, and American families will see

their retirement secured once more. Slowly, but surely, confidence

will return, and our economy will recover.


So – so I ask this Congress to join me in doing whatever proves

necessary, because we cannot consign our nation to an open-ended

recession. And to ensure that a crisis of this magnitude never happens

again, I ask Congress to move quickly on legislation that will finally

reform our outdated regulatory system.


It is time. It is time.


It is time to put in place tough, new commonsense rules of the road so

that our financial market rewards drive and innovation and punishes

shortcuts and abuse.

OBAMA: The recovery plan and the financial stability plan are the

immediate steps we're taking to revive our economy in the short term,

but the only way to fully restore America's economic strength is to

make the long-term investments that will lead to new jobs, new

industries, and a renewed ability to compete with the rest of the


The only way this century will be another American century is if we

confront at last the price of our dependence on oil and the high cost

of health care, the schools that aren't preparing our children and the

mountain of debt they stand to inherit. That is our responsibility.

In the next few days, I will submit a budget to Congress. So often,

we've come to view these documents as simply numbers on a page or a

laundry list of programs.

I see this document differently. I see it as a vision for America, as

a blueprint for our future.

My budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every

issue. It reflects the stark reality of what we've inherited: a

trillion-dollar deficit, a financial crisis, and a costly recession.

Given these realities, everyone in this chamber – Democrats and

Republicans – will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which

there are no dollars, and that includes me.

But that does not mean we can afford to ignore our long-term challenges.

I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of

themselves, that says government has no role in laying the foundation

for our common prosperity, for history tells a different story.

History reminds us that, at every moment of economic upheaval and

transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big


In the midst of civil war, we laid railroad tracks from one coast to

another that spurred commerce and industry.

From the turmoil of the Industrial Revolution came a system of public

high schools that prepared our citizens for a new age.

In the wake of war and depression, the G.I. Bill sent a generation to

college and created the largest middle-class in history.


And a twilight struggle for freedom led to a nation of highways, an

American on the moon, and an explosion of technology that still shapes

our world.

In each case, government didn't supplant private enterprise; it

catalyzed private enterprise. It created the conditions for thousands

of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive.

We are a nation that has seen promise amid peril and claimed

opportunity from ordeal. Now we must be that nation again.

That is why, even as it cuts back on programs we don't need, the

budget I submit will invest in the three areas that are absolutely

critical to our economic future: energy, health care, and education.


It begins with energy.

We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable

energy will lead the 21st century. And yet it is China that has

launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy

efficient. We invented solar technology, but we've fallen behind

countries like Germany and Japan in producing it. New plug-in hybrids

roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in


Well, I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of

tomorrow take root beyond our borders, and I know you don't, either.

It is time for America to lead again.


Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation's supply of

renewable energy in the next three years. We've also made the largest

investment in basic research funding in American history, an

investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but

breakthroughs in medicine, in science and technology.

We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry

new energy to cities and towns across this country. And we will put

Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so

that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills.

OBAMA: But to truly transform our economy, to protect our security and

save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to

ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.

So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a

market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more

renewable energy in America. That's what we need.


And to support – to support that innovation, we will invest $15

billion a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power

(OTCBB:SOPW), advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more efficient cars

and trucks built right here in America.


Speaking of our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad

decision-making and a global recession have pushed our automakers to

the brink. We should not and will not protect them from their own bad


But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto

industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it;

scores of communities depend on it; and I believe the nation that

invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.


Now, none of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy. But

this is America. We don't do what's easy. We do what's necessary to

move this country forward.

And for that same reason, we must also address the crushing cost of health care.

This is a cost that now causes a bankruptcy in America every 30

seconds. By the end of the year, it could cause 1.5 million Americans

to lose their homes. In the last eight years, premiums have grown four

times faster than wages. And in each of these years, 1 million more

Americans have lost their health insurance.

It is one of the major reasons why small businesses close their doors

and corporations ship jobs overseas. And it is one of the largest and

fastest-growing parts of our budget. Given these facts, we can no

longer afford to put health care reform on hold. We can't afford to do



It's time.


Already, we've done more to advance the cause of health care reform in

the last 30 days than we've done in the last decade. When it was days

old, this Congress passed a law to provide and protect health

insurance for 11 million American children whose parents work



Our recovery plan will invest in electronic health records and new

technology that will reduce errors, bring down costs, ensure privacy,

and save lives.

It will launch a new effort to conquer a disease that has touched the

life of nearly every American, including me, by seeking a cure for

cancer in our time.


And – and it makes the largest investment ever in preventive care,

because that's one of the best ways to keep our people healthy and our

costs under control.

This budget builds on these reforms. It includes a historic commitment

to comprehensive health care reform, a down payment on the principle

that we must have quality, affordable health care for every American.

It's a commitment...


It's a commitment that's paid for in part by efficiencies in our

system that are long overdue, and it's a step we must take if we hope

to bring down our deficit in the years to come.

Now, there will be many different opinions and ideas about how to

achieve reform. That's why I'm bringing together businesses and

workers, doctors and health care providers, Democrats and Republicans

to begin work on this issue next week.

I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. Once again,

it will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy

Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has

weighed down our economy and our conscience long enough.

So let there be no doubt: Health care reform cannot wait, it must not

wait, and it will not wait another year.


OBAMA: The third challenge we must address is the urgent need to

expand the promise of education in America.

In a global economy, where the most valuable skill you can sell is

your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to

opportunity. It is a pre-requisite.

Right now, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require

more than a high school diploma, and yet just over half of our

citizens have that level of education. We have one of the highest high

school dropout rates of any industrialized nation, and half of the

students who begin college never finish.

This is a prescription for economic decline, because we know the

countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow. That

is why it will be the goal of this administration to ensure that every

child has access to a complete and competitive education, from the day

they are born to the day they begin a career. That is a promise we

have to make to the children of America.


Already, we've made a historic investment in education through the

economic recovery plan. We've dramatically expanded early childhood

education and will continue to improve its quality, because we know

that the most formative learning comes in those first years of life.

We've made college affordable for nearly 7 million more students, 7 million...


... and we have provided the resources necessary to prevent painful

cuts and teacher layoffs that would set back our children's progress.

But we know that our schools don't just need more resources; they need

more reform. And that is why...


That is why this budget creates new teachers – new incentives for

teacher performance, pathways for advancement, and rewards for

success. We'll invest – we'll invest in innovative programs that are

already helping schools meet high standards and close achievement

gaps. And we will expand our commitment to charter schools. It is...


It is our responsibility as lawmakers and as educators to make this

system work, but it is the responsibility of every citizen to

participate in it.

So tonight I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more

of higher education or career training. This can be a community

college or a four-year school, vocational training or an

apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will

need to get more than a high school diploma.

And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It's not just

quitting on yourself; it's quitting on your country. And this country

needs and values the talents of every American.


That's why – that's why we will support – we will provide the

support necessary for all young Americans to complete college and meet

a new goal: By 2020, America will once again have the highest

proportion of college graduates in the world. That is a goal we can



That's a goal we can meet.


Now – now, I know that the price of tuition is higher than ever,

which is why, if you are willing to volunteer in your neighborhood or

give back to your community or serve your country, we will make sure

that you can afford a higher education. And to encourage...


And to encourage a renewed spirit of national service for this and

future generations, I ask Congress to send me the bipartisan

legislation that bears the name of Senator Orrin Hatch, as well as an

American who has never stopped asking what he can do for his country,

Senator Edward Kennedy.


OBAMA: These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for

our children, but it is up to us to ensure they walk through them.

In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a

parent, for a mother or father who will attend those parent-teacher

conferences, or help with homework, or turn off the TV, put away the

video games, read to their child.


I speak to you not just as a president, but as a father when I say

that responsibility for our children's education must begin at home.

That is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. That's an

American issue.


And there is, of course, another responsibility we have to our

children, and that's the responsibility to ensure that we do not pass

on to them a debt they cannot pay. That is critical.


I agree, absolutely.


See, I know we can get some consensus in here.


With the deficit we inherited, the cost...


... the cost of the crisis we face, and the long-term challenges we

must meet, it has never been more important to ensure that, as our

economy recovers, we do what it takes to bring this deficit down. That

is critical.


Now, I'm proud that we passed a recovery plan free of earmarks, and I

want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend

reflects only our most important national priorities.

And yesterday, I – I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the

deficit in half by the end of my first term in office. My

administration has also begun to go line by line through the federal

budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs.

As you can imagine, this is a process that will take some time, but we

have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade.

In this budget...


In this budget, we will end education programs that don't work and end

direct payments to large agribusinesses that don't need them. We'll



We'll eliminate the no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq...


... and – and reform...


... and – and reform our defense budget so that we're not paying for

Cold War-era weapons systems we don't use. We will...


We will root out – we will root out the waste and fraud and abuse in

our Medicare program that doesn't make our seniors any healthier. We

will restore a sense of fairness and balance to our tax code by

finally ending the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs



In order to save our children from a future of debt, we will also end

the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.


Now, let me be clear. Let me be absolutely clear, because I know

you'll end up hearing some of the same claims that rolling back these

tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people. If

your family earns less than $250,000 a year, a quarter million dollars

a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat:

not one single dime.


OBAMA: In fact – not a dime.

In fact – in fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut – that's

right, a tax cut – for 95 percent of working families. And, by the

way, these checks are on the way.


Now, to preserve our long-term fiscal health, we must also address the

growing cost in Medicare and Social Security. Comprehensive health

care reform is the best way to strengthen Medicare for years to come,

and we must also begin a conversation on how to do the same for Social

Security, while creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all



Finally, because we're also suffering from a deficit of trust, I am

committed to restoring a sense of honesty and accountability to our

budget. That is why this budget looks ahead 10 years and accounts for

spending that was left out under the old rules and, for the first

time, that includes the full cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.


For seven years, we've been a nation at war. No longer will we hide its price.


Along with our outstanding national security team, I am now carefully

reviewing our policies in both wars, and I will soon announce a way

forward in Iraq that leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends

this war.


And with our friends and allies, we will forge a new and comprehensive

strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat Al Qaida and combat

extremism, because I will not allow terrorists to plot against the

American people from safe havens halfway around the world. We will not

allow it.

(APPLAUSE) As we meet here tonight, our men and women in uniform stand

watch abroad and more are readying to deploy. To each and every one of

them, and to the families who bear the quiet burden of their absence,

Americans are united in sending one message: We honor your service; we

are inspired by your sacrifice; and you have our unyielding support.


To relieve the strain on our forces, my budget increases the number of

our soldiers and Marines. And to keep our sacred trust with those who

serve, we will raise their pay and give our veterans the expanded

health care and benefits that they have earned.


OBAMA: To overcome extremism, we must also be vigilant in upholding

the values our troops defend, because there is no force in the world

more powerful than the example of America. And that is why I have

ordered the closing of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and will

seek swift and certain justice for captured terrorists...


... because living our values doesn't make us weaker. It makes us

safer, and it makes us stronger.

And that is why I can stand here tonight and say without exception or

equivocation that the United States of America does not torture. We

can make that commitment here tonight.


In words and deeds, we are showing the world that a new era of

engagement has begun, for we know that America cannot meet the threats

of this century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America.

We cannot shun the negotiating table nor ignore the foes or forces

that could do us harm. We are instead called to move forward with the

sense of confidence and candor that serious times demand.

To seek progress towards a secure and lasting peace between Israel and

her neighbors, we have appointed an envoy to sustain our effort. To

meet the challenges of the 21st century – from terrorism to nuclear

proliferation, from pandemic disease to cyber threats to crushing

poverty – we will strengthen old alliances, forge new ones, and use

all elements of our national power.

And to respond to an economic crisis that is global in scope, we are

working with the nations of the G-20 to restore confidence in our

financial system, avoid the possibility of escalating protectionism,

and spur demand for American goods in markets across the globe, for

the world depends on us having a strong economy, just as our economy

depends on the strength of the world's.

As we stand at this crossroads of history, the eyes of all people in

all nations are once again upon us, watching to see what we do with

this moment, waiting for us to lead.

Those of us gathered here tonight have been called to govern in

extraordinary times. It is a tremendous burden, but also a great

privilege, one that has been entrusted to few generations of

Americans, for in our hands lies the ability to shape our world, for

good or for ill.

I know that it's easy to lose sight of this truth, to become cynical

and doubtful, consumed with the petty and the trivial.

But in my life, I have also learned that hope is found in unlikely

places, that inspiration often comes not from those with the most

power or celebrity, but from the dreams and aspirations of ordinary

Americans who are anything but ordinary.

I think of Leonard Abess, a bank president from Miami who reportedly

cashed out of his company, took a $60 million bonus, and gave it out

to all 399 people who worked for him, plus another 72 who used to work

for him. He didn't tell anyone, but when the local newspaper found

out, he simply said, "I knew some of these people since I was 7 years

old. I didn't feel right getting the money myself."

I think about...


I think about – I think about Greensburg – Greensburg, Kansas, a

town that was completely destroyed by a tornado, but is being rebuilt

by its residents as a global example of how clean energy can power an

entire community, how it can bring jobs and businesses to a place

where piles of bricks and rubble once lay.

"The tragedy was terrible," said one of the men who helped them

rebuild. "But the folks here know that it also provided an incredible


OBAMA: I think about Ty'Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from that school

I visited in Dillon, South Carolina, a place where the ceilings leak,

the paint peels off the walls, and they have to stop teaching six

times a day because the train barrels by their classroom.

She had been told that her school is hopeless. But the other day after

class, she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the

people sitting in this chamber. She even asked her principal for the

money to buy a stamp.

The letter asks us for help and says, "We are just students trying to

become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself, and one day

president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South

Carolina, but also the world. We are not quitters."

That's what she said: "We are not quitters." These words...


These words and these stories tell us something about the spirit of

the people who sent us here. They tell us that, even in the most

trying times, amid the most difficult circumstances, there is a

generosity, a resilience, a decency, and a determination that

perseveres, a willingness to take responsibility for our future and

for posterity.

Their resolve must be our inspiration. Their concerns must be our

cause. And we must show them and all our people that we are equal to

the task before us.

I know...


I know that we haven't agreed on every issue thus far.


There are surely times in the future where we will part ways. But I

also know that every American who is sitting here tonight loves this

country and wants it to succeed.


I know that.


That must be the starting point for every debate we have in the coming

months and where we return after those debates are done. That is the

foundation on which the American people expect us to build common


And if we do, if we come together and lift this nation from the depths

of this crisis, if we put our people back to work and restart the

engine of our prosperity, if we confront without fear the challenges

of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does

not quit, then some day, years from now, our children can tell their

children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that

are carved into this very chamber, "something worthy to be


Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of

America. Thank you.


Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

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