While studying here, my father met my mother. And this restlessness - this search for meaning - is familiar to me. We the people, in order to form a more perfect union." And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability.
My mother, whose parents were non-practicing Baptists and Methodists, was one of the most spiritual souls I ever knew. And when the Civil War was fought and our country dedicated itself to a new birth of freedom, they took on the problems of an industrializing nation - fighting the crimes against society and the sins against God that they felt were being committed in our factories and in our slums. And that it's not enough to just believe this - we have to do our part to make it a reality. I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming.
I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity.
A common dream, born of two continents. It wasn't until after college, when I went to Chicago to work as a community organizer for a group of Christian churches, that I confronted my own spiritual dilemma. Because it's not who we are. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. And that is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon. On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities.
And they are a part of America, this country that I love. Not this time.
That is the true genius of America - a faith in simple dreams,, an insistence on small miracles. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe. We can do that. This is the hope of all humanity. For peace to come, it is time for them - and all of us - to live up to our responsibilities.
God bless you.