Whether we live in small towns or sprawling cities, on the coast or in the heartland, we are all members of one great community called America. We care for one another and we care about all humanity.
Americans are by nature optimists and dreamers. We 'll work hard to overcome any adversity if it means achieving a better future for ourselves and our families. We believe that if given a decent opportunity to make the most of their God-given talents, most anyone can succeed in America.
Americans are also by nature fixers and doers. Our greatest tools as a society are our sense of justice and compassion. We are generous and caring. We believe that everyone deserves a fair chance and an equal shot at a good life.
No matter whether our heart is red or blue, we all want basically the same things out of life: the enjoyment of good health, a job with good benefits, more time with our families, a retirement with dignity, stronger and safer communities and schools, a fair and just society, a cleaner environment, and a freer, more peaceful and more secure world.
Americans are not like how Hollywood portrays us. We are everyday people, strong in some ways, and weak in others. We're good neighbors. We love our kids, help in our communities, and depend on our faith. While we sometimes falter, Americans generally know right from wrong. And we know something is wrong in America today.
We know in our hearts that for more and more of us basic human needs are falling out of reach. We are working more hours for less pay and fewer benefits. Poverty and sickness are more widespread. Families are stressed. Retirement security is threatened.
Fairness and justice are being replaced by a winner-take-all society that rewards those with narrow self-interest who cheat and who steal. Our popular culture is becoming more polluted. Our natural environment, the gift of God 's creation, is being altered and dirtied to the degree that endangers the health of our children and theirs. Our world is less peaceful and more dangerous than ever. The prospect of a better future seems increasingly unlikely.
Perhaps worst of all, we have allowed ourselves to become divided against ourselves, despite sharing so many values and aspirations that could unite us. Divided we are weaker, and if our divisions grow any deeper America will no longer stay a great nation.
By resolving to move beyond the few things that we 've allowed to divide us, we can and must rebuild the American community. The way forward for America in this new century is through cooperation and mutual respect. The responsibility belongs to the people to show our politicians the way. Through the actions of everyday Americans working together across party lines, we can build a stronger, smarter, healthier, safer and more loving America.
Working together means first setting aside our stereotypes, and rising above our anger. A clenched fist is an extension of a closed mind. Common ground is reached only through a willingness to listen with a mind that is open. A democracy recognizes that there are intelligent people supporting each side of every issue, and that there exists no issue facing us truly as simple as a choice between two absolutes.
Working together includes finding people-to-people solutions, within our own neighborhoods and communities. Americans do not expect government to solve all our problems. Government exists to help us do our best, and to prevent those who would deny us the basic tools needed to live out the American dream.
Working together towards our common goals means standing up to those who would spin our wants and needs into webs of scare tactics and lies. Wanting health care for all is not the same as wanting big government and socialism. Wanting equality in education for all is not the same as wanting special favors for a few. Wanting to help the poor and disabled is not the same as wanting them to remain dependent. Wanting fairness in taxation is not the same as wanting higher taxes, but instead fewer loopholes. Wanting a clean environment is not the same as wanting to stifle economic growth.
A nation cannot remain great unless it remains prosperous, and it cannot remain prosperous unless its people strive to keep the avenues of opportunity open to all. A nation cannot remain prosperous unless its people help each other to live richer, freer, and longer lives. That is our common moral mission. That is what will make America a greater, and better nation.