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10 February 2007 @ 11:44 pm
Barack Obama Announces his Candidacy  
"Senator Barack Obama officially launched his bid for the US Presidency on Saturday in Springfield, Illinois outside the Old State Capitol building where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic “house divided” anti-slavery speech in 1858."

I've read some of what Senator Obama has had to say and like him. A lot. Part of why I like him is because he reminds me of Abraham Lincoln, in my opinion, not only the greatest president this country has ever known, but one of the greatest men the world has ever known. Not only a great man, but a good one. I've never mentioned Lincoln in my lj, but offline, anyone who knows me for any length of time knows of my pride and love of the 16th President of the United States. I've read countless books, can proudly recite The Gettysburg Address at the drop of a hat and I honestly can't remember a time when I wasn't somewhat enamored of him. He's my greatest hero. And when I listen to Obama, read his words, he strikes me with the same sensibility. All the way. This quote from him, while announcing his candidacy is an example of what I meant above:

"I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness - a certain audacity - to this announcement," he said. "I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change."

Barring some unforeseen information coming out, he has my support.

ETA: You can see a video of his speech (where he invokes my man Abe in word, spirit, tone and actual remembrance a few times) at his official site BarackObama.com and the full text of his speech is there as well, but I included it in this entry for less clicking.

Full Text of Senator Barack Obama's Announcement for President
Springfield, IL | February 10, 2007

"Let me begin by saying thanks to all you who've traveled, from far and wide, to brave the cold today.

We all made this journey for a reason. It's humbling, but in my heart I know you didn't come here just for me, you came here because you believe in what this country can be. In the face of war, you believe there can be peace. In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope. In the face of a politics that's shut you out, that's told you to settle, that's divided us for too long, you believe we can be one people, reaching for what's possible, building that more perfect union.

That's the journey we're on today. But let me tell you how I came to be here. As most of you know, I am not a native of this great state. I moved to Illinois over two decades ago. I was a young man then, just a year out of college; I knew no one in Chicago, was without money or family connections. But a group of churches had offered me a job as a community organizer for $13,000 a year. And I accepted the job, sight unseen, motivated then by a single, simple, powerful idea - that I might play a small part in building a better America.

My work took me to some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods. I joined with pastors and lay-people to deal with communities that had been ravaged by plant closings. I saw that the problems people faced weren't simply local in nature - that the decision to close a steel mill was made by distant executives; that the lack of textbooks and computers in schools could be traced to the skewed priorities of politicians a thousand miles away; and that when a child turns to violence, there's a hole in his heart no government could ever fill.

It was in these neighborhoods that I received the best education I ever had, and where I learned the true meaning of my Christian faith.

After three years of this work, I went to law school, because I wanted to understand how the law should work for those in need. I became a civil rights lawyer, and taught constitutional law, and after a time, I came to understand that our cherished rights of liberty and equality depend on the active participation of an awakened electorate. It was with these ideas in mind that I arrived in this capital city as a state Senator.

It was here, in Springfield, where I saw all that is America converge - farmers and teachers, businessmen and laborers, all of them with a story to tell, all of them seeking a seat at the table, all of them clamoring to be heard. I made lasting friendships here - friends that I see in the audience today.

It was here we learned to disagree without being disagreeable - that it's possible to compromise so long as you know those principles that can never be compromised; and that so long as we're willing to listen to each other, we can assume the best in people instead of the worst.

That's why we were able to reform a death penalty system that was broken. That's why we were able to give health insurance to children in need. That's why we made the tax system more fair and just for working families, and that's why we passed ethics reforms that the cynics said could never, ever be passed.

It was here, in Springfield, where North, South, East and West come together that I was reminded of the essential decency of the American people - where I came to believe that through this decency, we can build a more hopeful America.

And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a divided house to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States.

I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness - a certain audacity - to this announcement. I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.

The genius of our founders is that they designed a system of government that can be changed. And we should take heart, because we've changed this country before. In the face of tyranny, a band of patriots brought an Empire to its knees. In the face of secession, we unified a nation and set the captives free. In the face of Depression, we put people back to work and lifted millions out of poverty. We welcomed immigrants to our shores, we opened railroads to the west, we landed a man on the moon, and we heard a King's call to let justice roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done. Today we are called once more - and it is time for our generation to answer that call.

For that is our unyielding faith - that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.

That's what Abraham Lincoln understood. He had his doubts. He had his defeats. He had his setbacks. But through his will and his words, he moved a nation and helped free a people. It is because of the millions who rallied to his cause that we are no longer divided, North and South, slave and free. It is because men and women of every race, from every walk of life, continued to march for freedom long after Lincoln was laid to rest, that today we have the chance to face the challenges of this millennium together, as one people - as Americans.

All of us know what those challenges are today - a war with no end, a dependence on oil that threatens our future, schools where too many children aren't learning, and families struggling paycheck to paycheck despite working as hard as they can. We know the challenges. We've heard them. We've talked about them for years.

What's stopped us from meeting these challenges is not the absence of sound policies and sensible plans. What's stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics - the ease with which we're distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems.

For the last six years we've been told that our mounting debts don't matter, we've been told that the anxiety Americans feel about rising health care costs and stagnant wages are an illusion, we've been told that climate change is a hoax, and that tough talk and an ill-conceived war can replace diplomacy, and strategy, and foresight. And when all else fails, when Katrina happens, or the death toll in Iraq mounts, we've been told that our crises are somebody else's fault. We're distracted from our real failures, and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants.

And as people have looked away in disillusionment and frustration, we know what's filled the void. The cynics, and the lobbyists, and the special interests who've turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we're here today to take it back. The time for that politics is over. It's time to turn the page.

We've made some progress already. I was proud to help lead the fight in Congress that led to the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate.

But Washington has a long way to go. And it won't be easy. That's why we'll have to set priorities. We'll have to make hard choices. And although government will play a crucial role in bringing about the changes we need, more money and programs alone will not get us where we need to go. Each of us, in our own lives, will have to accept responsibility - for instilling an ethic of achievement in our children, for adapting to a more competitive economy, for strengthening our communities, and sharing some measure of sacrifice. So let us begin. Let us begin this hard work together. Let us transform this nation.

Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Let's set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let's recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let's make college more affordable, and let's invest in scientific research, and let's lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America.

And as our economy changes, let's be the generation that ensures our nation's workers are sharing in our prosperity. Let's protect the hard-earned benefits their companies have promised. Let's make it possible for hardworking Americans to save for retirement. And let's allow our unions and their organizers to lift up this country's middle-class again.

Let's be the generation that ends poverty in America. Every single person willing to work should be able to get job training that leads to a job, and earn a living wage that can pay the bills, and afford child care so their kids have a safe place to go when they work. Let's do this.

Let's be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill, and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let's be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president's first term.

Let's be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil. We can harness homegrown, alternative fuels like ethanol and spur the production of more fuel-efficient cars. We can set up a system for capping greenhouse gases. We can turn this crisis of global warming into a moment of opportunity for innovation, and job creation, and an incentive for businesses that will serve as a model for the world. Let's be the generation that makes future generations proud of what we did here.

Most of all, let's be the generation that never forgets what happened on that September day and confront the terrorists with everything we've got. Politics doesn't have to divide us on this anymore - we can work together to keep our country safe. I've worked with Republican Senator Dick Lugar to pass a law that will secure and destroy some of the world's deadliest, unguarded weapons. We can work together to track terrorists down with a stronger military, we can tighten the net around their finances, and we can improve our intelligence capabilities. But let us also understand that ultimate victory against our enemies will come only by rebuilding our alliances and exporting those ideals that bring hope and opportunity to millions around the globe.

But all of this cannot come to pass until we bring an end to this war in Iraq. Most of you know I opposed this war from the start. I thought it was a tragic mistake. Today we grieve for the families who have lost loved ones, the hearts that have been broken, and the young lives that could have been. America, it's time to start bringing our troops home. It's time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else's civil war. That's why I have a plan that will bring our combat troops home by March of 2008. Letting the Iraqis know that we will not be there forever is our last, best hope to pressure the Sunni and Shia to come to the table and find peace.

Finally, there is one other thing that is not too late to get right about this war - and that is the homecoming of the men and women - our veterans - who have sacrificed the most. Let us honor their valor by providing the care they need and rebuilding the military they love. Let us be the generation that begins this work.

I know there are those who don't believe we can do all these things. I understand the skepticism. After all, every four years, candidates from both parties make similar promises, and I expect this year will be no different. All of us running for president will travel around the country offering ten-point plans and making grand speeches; all of us will trumpet those qualities we believe make us uniquely qualified to lead the country. But too many times, after the election is over, and the confetti is swept away, all those promises fade from memory, and the lobbyists and the special interests move in, and people turn away, disappointed as before, left to struggle on their own.

That is why this campaign can't only be about me. It must be about us - it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice - to push us forward when we're doing right, and to let us know when we're not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of citizenship, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.

By ourselves, this change will not happen. Divided, we are bound to fail.

But the life of a tall, gangly, self-made Springfield lawyer tells us that a different future is possible.

He tells us that there is power in words.

He tells us that there is power in conviction.

That beneath all the differences of race and region, faith and station, we are one people.

He tells us that there is power in hope.

As Lincoln organized the forces arrayed against slavery, he was heard to say: "Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought to battle through."

That is our purpose here today.

That's why I'm in this race.

Not just to hold an office, but to gather with you to transform a nation.

I want to win that next battle - for justice and opportunity.

I want to win that next battle - for better schools, and better jobs, and health care for all.

I want us to take up the unfinished business of perfecting our union, and building a better America.

And if you will join me in this improbable quest, if you feel destiny calling, and see as I see, a future of endless possibility stretching before us; if you sense, as I sense, that the time is now to shake off our slumber, and slough off our fear, and make good on the debt we owe past and future generations, then I'm ready to take up the cause, and march with you, and work with you. Together, starting today, let us finish the work that needs to be done, and usher in a new birth of freedom on this Earth."

I say, if you're going to pattern your speech after any famous American politician in history, Abe is the one to look to ... especially for a Senator from Illinois. He makes a lot of grand promises, but he acknowledges that and as a Lincoln-ite, I gotta say he did a fabulous job in channeling him and if Barack Obama is even half the man that Abraham Lincoln is, he just might achieve all that he sets out to do.
deevee45deevee45 on February 11th, 2007 04:59 am (UTC)
I can't wait for this! I am actually an optimistic Democrat. I think either Barack or Hillary can and will win. I don't know who I am voting for, but I'm leaning toward Hillary for reasons that have nothing to do with competence (although I think she's extremely competent). I just want to see the faces of the Nazi Neoncon Republicans who hate Bill Clinton with the fire of a thousand suns, who blame him for everything bad that has ever happened in America, who cheered with glee when Bill finally left office, finally thought to be rid of him for good. I want to see their faces when he COMES BACK! What I wouldn't give to see that.

So I will be working once again for the Dems to MAKE THAT HAPPEN. If not, I will happily work for them to elect a real statesman to the White House. If the rats haven't destroyed it.
Arabian: Lincolnarabian on February 11th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
Well, I like Hillary, but I actually despise Bill. With a passion. A fiery passion. I know she wasn't, but Monica Lewinsky could have been a spy and he let her into the oval office to perform for him. In addition, he lied to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Am I holding him to a higher standard than I would a normal Joe Blow? Damn straight. He was the President of the United States of America. And he was a liar and he broke laws.

Yes, he did good things for this country, and yes, I would take a thousand Bill Clintons over George W. Bush. And yes, those who blame him for all of the evils are blind, stupid fools, however, I still find him a morally reprehensible person and I prefer morals with good judgment in the highest office.

Sorry, fiery hatred. I like Hillary, though. Although, I have some issues with her ... stemming mostly from Whitewater and her other snafus, but one of the great things about her is she genuinely seems to learn from her mistakes. Still, I prefer Barack Obama. He's my first choice. As for Bill coming back ... he better not be. I think Hillary is strong enough that she'll run the country without him. It will be her, she won't be a figurehead for him. I won't vote for him, so I better not see him as major selling point for her if she wins the Democratic Nomination. Ever. (Unless the other choice was George W.)
deevee45deevee45 on February 11th, 2007 05:11 am (UTC)

I totally get the Bill Clinton hate. I don't hate him, but this is America and we can certainly disagree (at least, it's America when the Neocons aren't telling us that if we disagree with them, we're unAmerican). I think for most Americans, however, Bill will be a big selling point. Hillary will no doubt run the polls to see if he is indeed helpful to her candidacy, but my glee comes strictly from seeing the Neocons burning with fury at the (probably just imagined, but still...) return of Bill!
Lauren: pic#57918137risewiththefall on February 11th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
Sigh... I am in love with Obama. He's done so much for the poor in Illinois, and since being elected to the Senate he's worked on a TON of environmental stuff, which are two HUGE selling points for me. I love Hillary too though; she's extremely smart and a very shrewd politician. Either way, I feel like I win. I'm glad you've found someone to (most likely) support!
Arabian: Lincolnarabian on February 11th, 2007 05:33 am (UTC)
Oh, there's no "most likely" about it. Again, barring some unforeseen info about him that somehow manages to wreck all the wonder that he is (and what are the odds of that?!) he's got my support. I'm at his official website now, the video of his annoucement is up. Woo!
deevee45deevee45 on February 11th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC)
My ideal ticket is Barack/Hillary or Hillary/Barack. I honestly think that they would make a great team no matter who was VP. I think this Democratic ticket would slay the competition.
Arabian: Lincolnarabian on February 11th, 2007 05:37 am (UTC)
I think that would awesome, and I'd be more for Barack as Pres, liberated woman though I be. Everything about him makes me proud to be an American and he reminds me of Abe. There is no greater compliment in politics than that from me.
deevee45deevee45 on February 11th, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
Yup. I agree, Barack would make me feel proud to be an American again--he's a true statesman, possibly the only one we have to offer. But that little (ok big) ball of hatred I have inside for the Neocons makes me hope that somehow Hillary makes it somewhere on the ticket as well.
A Girl Called Shannon: The Office - WOOT!!zimshan on February 11th, 2007 07:16 am (UTC)
Oh, goodness, hon. Thank you for posting the link and full text of the speech. I was going to look it up earlier today, but I'm afraid I probably would have forgotten about it and that's just not something I would have wanted to miss.

WHEW. He's got me on this one. I haven't felt this strongly about a presidential candidate since...well, ever really. But you hear him speak and you just get this feeling like he's IT, you know? He's exactly what this country needs right now.

So, it's official. I'm in for the long haul. BRING ON THOSE PRIMARIES, OBAMA. LET'S KNOCK HILLARY ON HER ASS!
Arabian: Obama 2008arabian on February 11th, 2007 08:08 am (UTC)
Thank The Colbert Report. Thursday's episode referenced Obama making the announcement this weekend in Springfield and I just watched it tonight. When I went to check, I saw that the news had just been put up so the timing was perfect.

ou hear him speak and you just get this feeling like he's IT, you know?

Exactly. And I know I keep referencing Lincoln (but, hey, Abe's my man!), but I was reading parts of the speech to my BFF and the intonation of it was so like The Gettysburg Address, the feel, the flow of it, that it did literally bring tears to my eyes. He really does remind me of Abraham Lincoln -- beyond the surface political similarities (Lincoln served 8 years in legislature, so has Obama, Lincoln had one term as an Illinois Senator, so did Obama), it's the feeling that this is a GOOD man who truly wants the best for this country and all of her citizens at heart. I believe him. I believe in his convictions.

He's exactly what this country needs right now.



Well, I'm not anti-Hillary. As I said above, what I like best about her is that she truly does seem to learn from her mistakes, but the main reason I prefer Obama over her is that I feel that Hillary wants the presidency because she wants the presidency. With Obama, he wants the presidency so that he help steer this country in the right direction and get us back on track ... make us proud to be Americans.

OBAMA 2008!
A Girl Called Shannon: The Office - WOOT!!zimshan on February 11th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
Well, thank you Steven Colbert! ;)

but I was reading parts of the speech to my BFF and the intonation of it was so like The Gettysburg Address, the feel, the flow of it, that it did literally bring tears to my eyes.

Oh, I know. I was thinking the same thing. I mean, not specifically tying it to the Gettysburg or anything but listening to it, it felt revolutionary. Like here it is, this is an important moment. The structure of the speech. It had such heart, you know? You just, people say you can fake it but I really don't think you can. Great speechmaking is an art that I believe can only truly arise from someone who has that heart to truly care. Who knows, maybe I just WANT to believe him too much. I had basically lost all hope for this country to produce a great statesmen in these times. But for the country's sake, I really do hope he is the real thing.

Well, I'm not anti-Hillary. As I said above, what I like best about her is that she truly does seem to learn from her mistakes
Heh. Well, Hillary is where we'll have to disagree. I sort of hate her with a passion of a thousand fiery suns. In a way that, if she won the presidency, I'm not too sure I would be able to live in this country. That's how bad. Yea, I know, it's sort of unreasonable but I just can't help it. It has nothing to do with her being a woman, I have no problem with the idea of a woman president, it's just HER. To me, she is...well, the opposite of everything Obama seems to be. Fake, self-serving, money-made, plastic smiles, the whole lot. I just don't trust a word that comes out of her mouth. Everything she stands for is what is wrong with politics that veered me away from it, and Obama's everything that makes me want to get back into it. Like you said. He makes me proud to be an American again.

I can't wait for the debates!
WeHo M.: WW - Typo!afrocurl on February 11th, 2007 08:11 am (UTC)
I have a weird love/hate relationship with Lincoln (most of it I will blame on my scary Republican Constitution professor in college), but I'm stuck by going to Springfield around Lincoln's birthday to make this announcement.

If the video footage includes Obama rubbing Lincoln's nose, then the man might really have me.
Arabian: Lincolnarabian on February 11th, 2007 08:14 am (UTC)
Hate and Lincoln in the same sentence does not compute. Seriously. The man was so good. He was such a good, good man. A great man. The things he managed to do, how he managed to do them, how he dealt with life and everything. He was one of the most amazing human beings who has ever graced this earth. Ever. When he said "with malice toward none; charity for all," he truly meant that in his heart and soul and that is how he lived his life. He was a good man.
WeHo M.: VM - Slackerafrocurl on February 11th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
I should clarify that statement for you.

I love the ideas he stood for, of course, but dislike when scary Republicans try to coop him as one of their own.
pingback_botpingback_bot on September 2nd, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
User zimshan referenced to your post from WE REALLY DID IT, AMERICA, WE REALLY FUCKIN' DID IT. saying: [...] I can't hardly take a breath. The anticipation of what we're waiting to see right now, the weight of it all, is just...GEEZE.

I said when he first won, 'I don't think I'm gonna believe it until I see his hand on that Bible at inauguration.'


Or at least, I hope so. Technically, I have class, but I've emailed my professor to see if I can come in late. Because WHAT WAS I THINKING? I CAN'T *NOT* WATCH THIS.

Doris Goodwin was just on MSNBC and said, "for those of us who are historians, it's pretty impressive to be living it right now, not just reading about it a hundred years later". That sums up everything for me. That was exactly the first thought I had after first stumbling on Obama's Candidacy Announcement posted on February 10th, 2007 [...]