Quid ait Aristoteles

March 9, 2024

By Cris Burks

Chapter 1

I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night. Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology. Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. This is not simply about America’s interests. That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people.

The hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores. I was too young to be involved in that movement, but I felt I could play a small part in the continuing battle for justice by helping rebuild some of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. It is on your lips and in your heart. In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community.

These enemies must be found. Hope in the face of uncertainty. They’re telling me that their conversation about what it means to be Catholic continues. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. And despite the costs involved, America’s commitment will not weaken.

King delivered his prayer for our country. That’s why I stand here tonight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.” I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Not this time. Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace.

Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made.


Chapter 2

I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

I’d been inspired by the civil rights movement – by all the clear-eyed, straight-backed, courageous young people who’d boarded buses and traveled down South to march and sit at lunch counters, and lay down their lives in some cases for freedom. America, we are better than these last eight years. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people. This is not simply about America’s interests. The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”

Now, some of you may have heard me talk about the Joshua generation. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. We seek no military bases there. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.

They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table.

It’s an idea that’s often forgotten or dismissed in cynical times. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Bill, bought a house through F.H.A., and later moved west all the way to Hawaii in search of opportunity. It’s not enough, but it’s helping. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy.


Chapter 3

People don’t expect government to solve all their problems. And so they need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them – that they are not just destined to travel down that long road toward nothingness. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S.

Not this time. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And I’ve seen it in this campaign. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia.

I wanted to be part of something larger. That’s why pastors, friends of mine like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes and organizations like World Vision and Catholic Charities are wielding their enormous influence to confront poverty, HIV/AIDS, and the genocide in Darfur. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”


The End



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