As our president said it, change has come to America. Change has come for Americans the world over. Even those Americans staying up until 2AM, watching a tiny four-inch diagonal video feed on their computer screen, sitting at a cold table in Shanghai, China.
I am changed because for the first time in my adult life, I can take pride in who I am and where I am from. Living abroad, amongst students and teachers from dozens of countries, I have never had a greater sense of being an American. Yet I have also been made ever more fully aware of the complete idiocy of our recent policies and behaviors. Within America, all the grand divisions and minute sub-denominations of our society seem so pressing. Abroad, you are either American or you are not. I am American, like it or not. For eight long years, I have not liked it.
Yet, tonight –or this morning— we have again put a man on the moon. I stayed up tonight because witnessing a person of color take the oath of office is a moment no less awe-inspiring than that of the Apollo mission. It is an event that must been seen live to be truly appreciated and celebrated. It is, in fact, more tremendous than a moon landing. This time our national triumph was not earned by the strength of our science nor the prowess of our industry but by the simple power of our vote, the private decision of tens of millions of ordinary individuals. More than any other attainment in our history, this is a victory of the American people.
I am changed by the chance to take part in that victory. I am changed by the faith it renews in our democracy, the hope and pride it reconnects to our country's name. I am changed by the acceptance of what it means for "my people," both in this generation and every one to follow. Most of all, I am changed by the new belief that service rendered in the name of American society will not be futile strokes against a tide of corruption and everlasting injustice. Led by a president we believe in, we can believe in what we do.
We have made real progress today. America has changed.
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