Who says we can’t make it?
Who says that this nation of muscle and dreams, of imagination and strength, can’t last through the next millennium?
Who says differences will tear us apart and pettiness will drive holes in our moral structures?
Who says that different peoples with different voices will crack the melting pot we have created when their voices rise as individuals in a mass culture?
Who says that men who love men and women who love women will alter the very nature of love and forever minimize its impact on human relationships?
Who says America isn’t working because a noisy few seek power and money over conscience and caring, and deception over the better angels of truth and honesty?
Who says we aren’t a brotherhood and a sisterhood of freedom who seek the chainless rights of all races and nations over the darker nights of slavery and subjugation?
Tell me who says that and I will counter with a black man of taste and eloquence being inaugurated as 44th president of the United States, just 150 years from the emancipation of his antecedents, speaking words of hope and declaring that America remains the dream of the world.
Who said that would never happen?
I will show you a crowd of a million believers, many with tears of joy in their eyes, who are making it happen: whites and blacks and browns and all the gradients of color in between; Christians and Jews and Muslims; gays and straights, young and old, liberals and conservatives, men and women, planners and implementers.
I wish I could have stood among them on the National Mall, rather than sit before a television set, because I wanted to feel the emotions of immediacy that roared through the crowd like a winter storm on a day of fresh and startling beauty.
The Roman Empire died because it lost its way, and the Greek civilization ceased to value what it already had. We are the best of both of them, builders and thinkers constructing a union of states from the better parts of their history. We are the valiant sum of their parts.
I hope with all my heart that all could see what I saw as President Obama spoke to the masses and to the world on his inauguration day; I wish with all my heart that they could have felt what I felt on that singular moment in history.
A new day has dawned on America. Who said it would never come?
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