My fellow Americans, I stand before you today a humbled man.
Though we have accomplished much in the last few years it has not been enough. Not nearly enough for the millions of unemployed, not nearly enough for the sick, not nearly enough for the workers who so selflessly sacrificed their health to heal the wounded New York skyline nearly ten years ago.
We have not done enough for the soldiers who left their blood and their friends on foreign sands; we have not done enough to help homeowners keep their white-picket-fence dreams. We have not done enough to put people back to work. Instead, we’ve abandoned our roads, our trains, our schools, our bridges, our libraries and our futures to decay. They sit today cracked and crumbling, corroded by greed, exposed to the winds of selfish interest and collective neglect.
No, we have not done enough. Though we passed imperfect health care reform to help the huddled masses--to help those whose meekness guarantees them a seat at God’s table but bars them from wealth’s feast--it was not enough. We did not do enough.
Though we avoided an economic calamity, it was not enough to foster prosperity. But let’s not mince our words; let’s not hide behind rhetoric. We simply did not spend enough. That’s right, we did not spend enough. We failed to believe in our future prosperity.
A trillion dollars is a tiny hill before the engine of the American dream. Two trillion dollars is nothing compared to the collective might of three-hundred million Americans, six-hundred million American hands, a billion American hopes, and the limitless possibilities of the only nation on earth born of a dream.
A dream that prosperity is not for the few, but for the many, a dream that no man or woman or child is to be excluded from the earthly bounty. A dream that a man or woman can, by the sweat of their brow and the work of their hands, build a better tomorrow.
My friends, I did not aim high enough. I aimed for the probable when I should have aimed for the possible.
I was concerned with the wrong people: I should have been concerned with the American people rather than the politicians. I was too concerned with what might scrape through the partisan straights, than girding for the storm and sailing for open waters.
The same waters that led Franklin Roosevelt to the intercontinental highway system which tethers the shining seas, the same waters that led Ronald Reagan to end the Cold War, that led Louis and Clark across the endless prairie, those same waters that have sustained America for over two-hundred years should have been my goal.
No, my fellow Americans, I did not do enough.
I have sought compromise for too long. I took the middle road when I should have taken the high road. I took the road to Rome when I should have taken the road to Damascus. Because although it is true there are two sides to every debate, sometimes one of those sides is just and the other is not, sometimes one of those sides is right, and one of them is wrong.
So today I’m turning this ship towards open waters. The way will not be easy. Many of you will struggle against it. Many Americans will say it is too much, or it is more of the same, or that I am only speechifying, or now is the time to retreat, and cut, and withdraw and tighten our belt. And to you I say that you are wrong. You are my friends, you are my countrymen, but you are wrong.
You are my fellows, but you are blinded by money; you mean well, but what you mean is not right. We will sacrifice the expedient for the excellent. We will change the conversation in this country even if it means I am grist for the media mill.
America is too great for anything less.
May God bless you all, and may God bless the United States of America.