Now this is presidential and inspiring. The tail end of Barack Obama’s remarks at last night’s Al Smith dinner (transcribed from video):
The fact that each October, in the closing weeks of a hard-fought campaign, people of all political persuasions can come to this dinner, and share a meal and honor the work of this foundation, underscores the reality that no matter what differences or divisions or arguments we are having right now — we ultimately belong to something bigger and more lasting than a political party.
We belong to a community. We share a country. We are all children of God.
And in this country, there are millions of fellow citizens, our brothers and sisters, who need us very much. Especially now. We are being battered by a very serious economic storm, and for many Americans it’s only deepened the quiet storms they’ve been struggling through for years.
Beyond the walls of this hotel, on the streets of one the greatest cities in the wealthiest nation on earth, there are men and women and children who’ve fallen on hard times and hard luck. Who can’t find work or even a job that pays enough to keep a roof over their heads. Some are hanging on just by a thread.
Scripture says God creates us for works of service. We are blessed to have so many organizations like this one, in the Catholic diocese that perform these acts of God every day. But each of us also have that responsibility. Each of us has that obligation. Especially now.
So, no matter who we are or what we do — and what I believe is each of us in this room asks for, and hopes for and prays for enough strength and wisdom to do good and to seek justice, and play our small part in building a more hopeful and compassionate world for the generations that will follow.
Before Al Smith was a candidate who made history, he was a man who made a difference. A man who fought for many years to give Americans nothing more than a fair shake and a chance to succeed. And he touched the lives of hundreds of thousands, of millions as a result. Simply put, he helped people. And that’s a distinction we can all aspire to. And we can all achieve.
Young or old, rich or poor, Democrat or Republican or Independent. And I have no doubt if we come together at this moment of crisis with this goal in mind, America will meet this challenge and weather this storm. And, in the words of Al Smith, "walk once more in eternal sunshine."
Remember when presidents called us to public service, to working for the greater good, to ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country? Get out there and vote…
NOTE: Sen. Ben Cardin will be here for a live chat at noon PT/3:00 pm ET to talk about voting issues. Hope you can join us!