My fellow Americans, today you sent a message to the whole world,” she says. Our values endure. Our democracy stands strong. And our motto remains: e pluribus unum. Out of many, one.
We will not be defined only by our differences. We will not be an us versus them country. The American dream is big enough for everyone. Through a long, hard campaign, we were challenged to choose between two very different visions for America. How we grow together, how we live together, and how we face a world full of peril and promise together.
Fundamentally, this election challenged us to decide what it means to be an American in the 21st century. And for reaching for a unity, decency, and what President Lincoln called ‘the better angels of our nature.’ We met that challenge.
Today with your children on your shoulders, your neighbors at your side, friends old and new standing as one, you renewed our democracy. And because of the honor you have given me, you have changed its face forever. I’ve met women who were born before women had the right to vote. They’ve been waiting a hundred years for tonight.
I’ve met little boys and girls who didn’t understand why a woman has never been president before. Now they know, and the world knows, that in America, every boy and every girl can grow up to be whatever they dream — even president of the United States.
This is a victory for all Americans. Men and women. Boys and girls. Because as our country has proven once again, when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.
If you dig deep enough through all the mud of politics, eventually you hit something hard and true. A foundation of fundamental values that unite us as Americans. You proved that today.
In a country divided by race and religion, class and culture, and often paralyzing partisanship, a broad coalition of Americans embraced a shared vision of a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America.
An America where women are respected and immigrants are welcomed. Where veterans are honored, parents are supported, and workers are paid fairly. An America where we believe in science, where we look beyond people’s disabilities and see their possibilities, where marriage is a right and discrimination is wrong. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, or who you love.
An America where everyone counts and everyone has a place. A place and a purpose. Because we all have a role to play in our great American story. And yes, that absolutely includes everyone who voted for other candidates or who didn’t vote at all.
This summer, a writer asked me if I could go anywhere back in time and tell anyone in history about this milestone, who would it be? And the answer was easy. My mother, Dorothy.
“You may have heard me talk about her difficult childhood. She was abandoned by her parents when she was just 8 years old. They put her on a train to California where she was mistreated by her grandparents and ended up out on her own, working as a housemaid.
Yet she still found a way to offer me the boundless love and support she never received herself. She taught me the words of our Methodist faith: ‘Do all the good you can for all the people you can in all the ways you can for as long as ever you can.’
I think about my mother every day. Sometimes I think about her on that train. I wish I could walk down the aisle.
I wish I could walk down the aisle and find the little wooden seats where she sat, holding tight to her even younger sister. alone. Terrified. She doesn’t yet know how much she will suffer.
She doesn’t yet know she will find the strength to escape that suffering. That is still a long way off. The whole future is still unknown as she stares out at the vast country moving past her.
I dream of going up to her, and sitting down next to her, taking her into my arms, and saying, ‘Look at me. Listen to me. You will survive. You will have a good family of your own. And three children. And as hard as it might be to imagine, your daughter will grow up and become the president of the United States.’
I am sure of this as anything I have ever known: America is the greatest country in the world. And from tonight going forward, together, we will make America even greater than it has ever been, for each and every one of us. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America.