hard to look at him and not see the horror of that night written in his expression. It’s hard to not see the sadness and the tragedy written in the lines of his face.
…and then he smiles.
And he smiles because despite all the violence and the bloodshed, he never turned to resentment. Even though he could have lashed out with righteous anger against his enemies, his state, and his country, he chose instead to keep believing in what Lincoln called the ‘better angels of our nature.’
He could have given up, but he kept the faith
Forty years have past since Kennedy and King, and he still believes in what we can be as a people, who we are as a nation, and the boundless potential that wells deep inside each and every one of us.
I am here today because of that belief.
I am here today because this is who we can be.
The South Carolina state motto reads “Dum spiro spero” – “While I breathe, I hope.”
I can think of few things more fitting today as we begin this convention to confirm Senator Barack Obama as our nominee for president of the United States of America – a man who four years ago inroduced us to the audacity of hope, who has shown us all the power of hope, and who reminds us time and time again as we heard here today that “in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.”
He keeps the faith.
“Dum spiro spero” – “While I breathe, I hope.”
What can take a man raised without a father–whose mother struggled sometimes to put food on the table– what can take that man and instill within him the desire to put others before himself, to make a difference rather than a fortune, to be a husband, and a father, and a leader, and soon president of the United States?
What can take a young man born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, help him overcome a childhood stutter, an untimely family tragedy, and a near fatal brain aneurysm to become a senator, a statesman, and one of the clearest voices for change our country has ever produced?
What can take a boy from rural Denmark, South Carolina and let him hold a future his father could only dream of?
“Dum spiro spero” – “While i breathe, I hope.”
Hope will lead us to a brighter future. But make no mistake. The path before us is a difficult one. There are those who will say we are too young, too inexperienced, or too idealistic. They’ll tell us it’s too hard.
They’ll tell us you can’t make people care. They’ll tell us that some day, when we’re older, we’ll understand.
But we know better. America knows better.
Frederick Douglass said, “If there is no