美国第一夫人演讲[收藏]

9月4日,在美国北卡罗来纳州夏洛特举行的民主党全国代表大会上,美国第一夫人米歇尔激情演讲,为丈夫竞选助阵。

以下是演讲全文中文翻译:

非常感谢,伊莲……我们非常感谢来自你家庭的服务和牺牲,我们永远支持你。

过去的几年来,借由作为第一夫人的非凡殊荣,我几乎游遍了整个美国。

而无论我去到哪里,从我所见到的人们,所听到的故事中,我都看到了最真切的美国精神。

在人们对我和我的家庭,特别是我的女儿们那难以置信的友善和热情中,我看到了它。

在一个濒临破产的学区的教师们不收分文、坚持执教的誓言中,我看到了它。

在人们在突如其来的紧急召唤下化身英雄,纵身扑向灾害去拯救他人……飞过整个国家去扑灭大火……驱车数小时去援助被淹没的城镇时,我看到了它。

在我们身着军装的男女军人和自豪的军属身上……在受伤的战士们告诉我他们不仅会再次站立行走,而是会奔跑,甚至参加马拉松时……在一位于阿富汗因炸弹而失明的年轻人“……为了我所做的和我还将要做的,我宁愿失去我的眼睛一百次。”这样轻描淡写的话语中,我看到了它。

每一天,我所见到的人们都鼓舞着我……每一天,他们都令我骄傲……每一天,他们都在提醒我,能够生活在这地球上最伟大的国度中是多么的幸福。

成为诸位的第一夫人,是我的荣耀和幸运……但当我们四年前首次聚在一起的时候,我仍对我们即将展开的旅程心怀疑虑。

对我丈夫心中的祖国愿景,我满怀信心……对他将成为一位出色的总统,我也深信不疑……但是就像所有的母亲一样,我也曾担心如果他当选,这对我们的女儿们意味着什么。

身处万众瞩目的聚光灯下,我们要如何让他们保持脚踏实地?

当他们被迫离开从小熟悉的家、学校、和朋友时,会有什么感受?

在搬到华盛顿之前,我们的生活充满简单的快乐……周六参加足球赛,周日则在祖母家……还有巴拉克和我的约会之夜,我们要么出去晚餐,要么去看场电影,因为作为一个筋疲力尽的老妈,我实在没法同时去晚餐和电影还不打瞌睡。

说真话,我爱我们为女儿们所创造的生活……我深爱和我一起创造这生活的男人……而且我不愿意让这一切因为他当了总统而发生变化。

我爱的就是巴拉克原来的样子。

你们瞧,即便当时巴拉克已经是一名参议员兼总统候选人了……对我而言,他仍是那个开着辆锈迹斑斑的破车来接我去约会的男子,我几乎都能透过乘客这侧车门上的破洞看到飞逝而过的路面……他仍是那个把一张从垃圾箱里翻出来的咖啡桌当做自己最了不起的财产的男子,那个仅有的一双体面的鞋子比自己的脚还小了半号的男子。

然而,当巴拉克开始向我讲述他的家庭时——就在那一刻,我明白我遇到了一个志同道合的灵魂,他的价值观和成长经历与我惊人地相似。

如你们所知,养育巴拉克和我的两个家庭都没有太多金钱或物质财富,但是,他们却给予了我们更为珍贵的东西——无条件的爱,大无畏的牺牲,以及到达他们自己从未想象过的目标的机会。

我的父亲是城市水厂的一名泵浦操作员,在我和哥哥很小的时候就被诊断出患有多发性硬化症。

即使当时还小,我也知道他常常被病痛折磨……我知道有许多清晨,仅仅连起床对他来说都是一场痛苦挣扎。

然而每天早晨,我都看到父亲面带微笑地醒来,抓紧他的助步器,用浴室的洗脸池支撑着自己的身体,缓慢地刮好胡须,扣好制服。

然后,当他在漫长的一天工作后,我和哥哥会站在通往我家小公寓的楼梯顶上,耐心地等着迎接他回家……我们注视着他弯下腰,举起一条腿,然后是另一条腿,慢慢地爬上楼梯,迎向我们的怀抱。然而无论多么艰难,我父亲从未请过一天假……他和我母亲决心要让我和哥哥受到他们梦寐以求的教育。

当哥哥和我终于升上大学的时候,我们几乎所有的学费都来源于学生贷款和补助金。

但是我父亲仍不得不自己掏腰包来支付我们学费中的一小部分。

每个学期,他都坚持按时支付学费账单,在他捉襟见肘的时候,他甚至宁可去贷款。

能送自己的子女去上大学,他是如此地骄傲……他从未让我们因为父亲姗姗来迟的支票而错过任何一个报到截止日期。

你们瞧,对我的父亲来说,这是身为一个男人的责任。

就和我们中的很多人一样,这就是他衡量生命成功与否的方式——能否靠工作让自己的家庭过上体面的生活。

当我逐渐开始了解巴拉克之后,我发现虽然他在美国的另一头长大,他的成长经历却和我惊人地相似。

巴拉克成长在一个单亲家庭里,他的母亲依靠努力工作来维持家庭生活,在她实在无力支持的时候,祖父母也会伸出援手。

巴拉克的祖母最初在社区银行当秘书……她升职很快……但就和其他许多女性一样,她的升职最终还是受到了性别限制。

数年间,那些不如她有能力的男性员工——事实上,还是她亲手培训的男性员工——都被提升到了比她高的职位,挣的钱越来越多,而与此同时,巴拉克一家只能勉强度日。

但一天又一天,她仍然早起去赶公车……比其他任何人都早到公司……她总是做到最好,从不抱怨,从不懊悔。

而且,她常常这样告诉巴拉克:“只要你的孩子过得好,巴,其他什么都不重要。”

就和许许多多美国家庭一样,我们俩的家庭都知足常乐。

他们并不嫉妒其他人的成功,也不在意其他人是否比他们拥有更多……事实上,他们为此心存感激。

他们就是心怀着最根本的美国希望,即是说,哪怕你出身贫寒,只要你努力工作,做好本职,那么你就能让自己过上体面的生活,而你的子女和他们的孩子也会过得越来越好。

他们就是这样把我们养育成人……并且成为了我们的学习榜样。

我们学会了做自尊正派的人——努力工作远比挣钱多少重要……帮助别人比自己争先更有意义。我们学会了做诚实守信的人——要讲究真相……不能妄图走捷径或耍小伎俩……以及公平争取来的成功才算数。

我们学会了感激和谦卑——我们的成功依靠许多人的帮助,从启迪我们的老师到保持学校整洁的校工……我们学会珍惜每个人的贡献,并以尊重待人。

这些是巴拉克和我——以及在场的众多人士——都试图传递给子女的价值观。

我们就是这样的人。

四年前,站在你们面前的我知道,如果巴拉克成为总统,我不愿意这些价值观产生任何改变。

那么,今天,在那么多的艰苦奋斗和胜利,以及我的丈夫所经历过的那么多我从未想象过的考验之后,我亲眼认识到,当总统并不会改变一个人——它只会揭示一个人。

你们瞧,我有幸能近距离亲眼观察当总统是怎么一回事。

我发现放到总统桌上的问题总是难题——那些无论多少数据或数字都无法得出正确答案的难题……那些风险如此之高的选择,根本容不得一星半点的差错。

还有,作为总统,你会收到各种各样的人向你发出的各种各样的建议。

但是到最后,需要做出决定的时刻,作为总统,你所拥有的全部指引就是你的价值观,判断力,以及那些对你影响深远的成长经历。

因此,当说到重建经济的时候,巴拉克想到的是像我的父亲和他的祖母一样的人们。

他想到的是一天辛勤工作所带来的自豪感。

这就是为什么他签署了《莉莉?列得贝塔同工同酬法案》,以帮助女性得到同工同酬的公平权利。

这就是为什么他为工作家庭和小型企业削减了税负,并努力让汽车工业重新起步。

这就是他如何将我们的经济从崩溃的边缘拉回并使其重新开始创造工作机会——让人们能够养家糊口的工作,这些好工作就在这里,在美利坚合众国。

至于我们的家庭健康问题,巴拉克拒绝听从所有那些要他暂缓医疗改革,把问题留给下一任总统的人。

他不在乎这在政治上是不是一件容易的事——这不是他所受到的教育——他在乎的是:做正确的事。

他这样做,是因为他坚信在美国,我们的祖父母们应该能够负担自己的医药费用……我们的孩子生病时必须能够去看医生……而且,在这个国家里,没有人应该因为一场意外或疾病而破产。

他还相信,女性完全有能力对自己的身体和医疗做出选择……这就是我丈夫的立场。

关于给予我们的孩子应有的教育,巴拉克知道,就像我和你们中的许多人一样,如果没有助学金,他永远也不可能完成大学学业。

而且,不管你们信不信,我们刚结婚的时候,我们的学生贷款账单合起来比我们的房贷还要高。

我们是那么年轻,那么相爱,又是那样的负债累累。

这就是为什么巴拉克努力增加助学金,并保持低贷款利率的原因,因为他想让每个年轻人都能达成所愿,而不需要为了进入大学而背负山一样沉重的债务。

所以归根结底,对巴拉克来说,这些并非政治问题——而是个人问题。

因为巴拉克知道一个家庭挣扎度日意味着什么。

他知道想要让下一代和下下一代过上更好的生活意味着什么。

巴拉克懂得什么是美国梦,因为他正用一生去实践它……而他想让生活在这个国度里的每一个人都拥有同样的机会,无论我们是谁,无论我们从哪里来,无论我们肤貌如何,无论我们爱的对象。

而且他认为,当你努力工作,获得成功,并且跨越了那扇机遇的大门之后……你不应该砰地一声关上身后的大门……你应该伸出援助之手,将成功的机会同样给予后来之人。

因此,当人们问我,入主白宫是否改变了我的丈夫的时候,我可以诚实地说,无论是从他的性格,他的信念,他的心灵来看,巴拉克-奥巴马都仍是许多年前我所爱上的那个男人。

他仍是那样一个人,会在自己的事业起步期拒绝高薪工作,而走入一个因钢铁厂的倒闭而陷入困境的社区,为社区的重建和人们重获工作而奋斗……因为对巴拉克来说,成功并不等于你挣的钱,而是你给人们的生活带来的改变。

他仍是那样一个人,当我们的女儿刚出生的时候,隔不了几分钟就急匆匆地查看摇篮,确认她们仍在好好呼吸,并骄傲地向我们认识的每个人展示自己的宝贝女儿。

他还是那个几乎每晚都会坐下来陪我和女儿们吃晚餐,耐心地回答她们关于新闻事件的问题,并为中学生间的友谊问题出谋划策的人。

他还是那个,我常常看到在万籁俱寂的深夜里,仍趴在书桌上钻研人们寄来的信件的人。

写信来的有努力工作支付账单的父亲……有保险公司拒绝赔付医疗费用而命在旦夕的癌症女病人……有具有无限天赋潜力却得不到机会的年轻人。

我能看到他眼里的忧虑……我也能听出他声音中的决心,他说:“你不会相信这些人们在经历些什么,米歇尔……这不对。我们必须继续工作,直到解决这些问题。我们还有更多事情要做。”

我看到人们的这些生活故事——我们所收集的这些奋斗、希望和梦想——我看到这些都是推动巴拉克-奥巴马每一天工作的动力。

我曾以为我不能爱他更多,然而今天,我比四年前更爱我的丈夫了……甚至比23年前我们初见的时候更爱。

我爱他从未忘记自己奋斗的开端。

我爱他值得信任,言行一致,哪怕面临的困难重重——或者说,特别是在困难重重的时刻。

我爱他不在主观上划分敌我——他才不在意你是民主党人,共和党人,或是别的什么党派……他知道我们都爱我们的国家……而他总是乐意聆听好的建议……他总是乐意在遇见的每个人身上发现优点。

我爱他即使在最艰难的时候,当我们都焦虑不安的时候——当我们担心法案不被通过,而看上去已经全局皆输了的时候——巴拉克从不让自己被非议和噪音干扰。

就像他的祖母一样,他只是坚持起床,继续前进……带着耐心和智慧,以及勇气和风度。

他也提醒我,我们在打一场漫长的比赛……改变是艰难的,是缓慢的,它不会一夜来临。

但最终,我们会获得胜利,我们一向如此。

我们的胜利,来源于像我父亲那样的人们……像巴拉克的祖母那样的人们……那些对自己说:“我也许没有机会实现梦想,但也许我的孩子们会有……也许我的孙子孙女们会有……”的男人和女人们。

在场这么多人今天站在这里,是因为牺牲,渴望,以及坚定的爱……因为一次又一次,他们咽下自己的恐惧和疑虑,去战胜困难。

因此,今天,当我们面对的挑战显得铺天盖地——甚至无法战胜的时候——让我们永远不要忘记,行不可能之事正是这个国家的历史……这是我们美国人的根性……这是我们的立国之本。

如果我们的父母和祖父母能为我们艰苦奋斗……如果他们能树立起高耸入云的钢筋大厦,能将人类送上月球,还能轻轻一触按键就连接整个世界……那么,我们当然能继续忘我牺牲,为我们的子女和孙辈建设世界。

如果这么多勇敢的男人和女人能穿上祖国的军装,为我们最基本的权利献出生命……那么,我们作为这个伟大民主国家的公民,当然也能承担我们的责任,来实践这些权利……我们当然能够在选举日拿起选票,发出自己的声音。

如果农民和铁匠们能从一个帝国手中赢得独立……如果移民能放弃他们所熟知的一切,登上我们的海岸,来寻求更好的生活……如果女性们会为争取选举的权利锒铛入狱……如果一代人可以战胜经济衰退,赋予伟大一个永垂不朽的定义……如果一位年轻的牧师能用他正义的理想将我们引导至山顶(注1)……而且如果骄傲的美国人敢于做真正的自己,与自己的所爱之人一起站到神的面前……那么当然,我们当然能够为此国度中的每一个人都提供一个实现伟大的美国梦的公平机会。

因为归根结底,最重要的是,这就是这个国家的历史故事—— 为了植根于毫不退缩的斗争中的毫不动摇的梦想。

这也是造就了我的故事,巴拉克的故事,以及其他众多美国人的故事的来源。

今天,我所说的一切,不仅是出于第一夫人的立场,也不仅是出于一个妻子的立场。

最终,你们会发现,我最重要的头衔仍然是“老妈总司令”。

我的女儿们仍是我的心头肉,我世界的中心。

但是今天,我四年前关于我和巴拉克是否在为女儿们做最正确的事情的疑虑已经烟消云散。

因为今天,我的经历告诉我,如果我真的想要为自己的女儿们,以及我们所有人的儿子和女儿们留下一个更好的世界……如果我们想要给予我们所有的孩子们实现梦想的基础和与他们的潜力相称的机遇……如果我们想要让他们感觉到无限的可能性——相信在这里,在美国,只要你愿意为之努力,就一定会比现在更好……那么,我们就必须比从前更加努力地工作……我们必须再次团结起来,支持这个值得我们信任,会推动着这个国家继续进步的人……我的丈夫,我们的总统,巴拉克·奥巴马总统。

感谢大家,上帝保佑你们,上帝保佑美国。

注1:《圣经》以色列人出埃及的典故,摩西带领以色列人摆脱埃及法老的奴役,他被上帝带到山顶上,看到了“应许之地”。马丁路德金被暗杀之前的最后一场演讲即名为《I’ve been to the mountaintop》。

以下是英语原文:
Transcript: Michelle Obama’s Convention Speech

September 4,2012

Thank you so much, Elaine…we are so grateful for your family’s service and sacrifice…and we will always have your back.

Over the past few years as First Lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling all across this country.

And everywhere I’ve gone, in the people I’ve met, and the stories I’ve heard, I have seen the very best of the American spirit.

I have seen it in the incredible kindness and warmth that people have shown me and my family, especially our girls.

I’ve seen it in teachers in a near-bankrupt school district who vowed to keep teaching without pay.

I’ve seen it in people who become heroes at a moment’s notice, diving into harm’s way to save others…flying across the country to put out a fire…driving for hours to bail out a flooded town.

And I’ve seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families…in wounded warriors who tell me they’re not just going to walk again, they’re going to run, and they’re going to run marathons…in the young man blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan who said, simply, “…I’d give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done and what I can still do.”

Every day, the people I meet inspire me…every day, they make me proud…every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth.

Serving as your First Lady is an honor and a privilege…but back when we first came together four years ago, I still had some concerns about this journey we’d begun.

While I believed deeply in my husband’s vision for this country…and I was certain he would make an extraordinary President…like any mother, I was worried about what it would mean for our girls if he got that chance.

How would we keep them grounded under the glare of the national spotlight?

PBS NewsHour/YouTube

First lady Michelle Obama addresses the DNC after being introduced by military mom Elaine Brye, from PBS NewsHour.

How would they feel being uprooted from their school, their friends, and the only home they’d ever known?

Our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys…Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at grandma’s house…and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn’t stay awake for both.

And the truth is, I loved the life we had built for our girls…I deeply loved the man I had built that life with…and I didn’t want that to change if he became President.

I loved Barack just the way he was.

You see, even though back then Barack was a Senator and a presidential candidate…to me, he was still the guy who’d picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by through a hole in the passenger side door…he was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a dumpster, and whose only pair of decent shoes was half a size too small.

But when Barack started telling me about his family – that’s when I knew I had found a kindred spirit, someone whose values and upbringing were so much like mine.

You see, Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves.

My father was a pump operator at the city water plant, and he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when my brother and I were young.

And even as a kid, I knew there were plenty of days when he was in pain…I knew there were plenty of mornings when it was a struggle for him to simply get out of bed.

But every morning, I watched my father wake up with a smile, grab his walker, prop himself up against the bathroom sink, and slowly shave and button his uniform.

And when he returned home after a long day’s work, my brother and I would stand at the top of the stairs to our little apartment, patiently waiting to greet him…watching as he reached down to lift one leg, and then the other, to slowly climb his way into our arms.

But despite these challenges, my dad hardly ever missed a day of work…he and my mom were determined to give me and my brother the kind of education they could only dream of.

And when my brother and I finally made it to college, nearly all of our tuition came from student loans and grants.

But my dad still had to pay a tiny portion of that tuition himself.

And every semester, he was determined to pay that bill right on time, even taking out loans when he fell short.

He was so proud to be sending his kids to college…and he made sure we never missed a registration deadline because his check was late.

You see, for my dad, that’s what it meant to be a man.

Like so many of us, that was the measure of his success in life – being able to earn a decent living that allowed him to support his family.

And as I got to know Barack, I realized that even though he’d grown up all the way across the country, he’d been brought up just like me.

Barack was raised by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills, and by grandparents who stepped in when she needed help.

Barack’s grandmother started out as a secretary at a community bank…and she moved quickly up the ranks…but like so many women, she hit a glass ceiling.

And for years, men no more qualified than she was – men she had actually trained – were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack’s family continued to scrape by.

But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus…arriving at work before anyone else…giving her best without complaint or regret.

And she would often tell Barack, “So long as you kids do well, Bar, that’s all that really matters.”

Like so many American families, our families weren’t asking for much.

They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success or care that others had much more than they did…in fact, they admired it.

They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that, even if you don’t start out with much, if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to do, then you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids.

That’s how they raised us…that’s what we learned from their example.

We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make…that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.

We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters…that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules…and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.

We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean…and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.

Those are the values Barack and I – and so many of you – are trying to pass on to our own children.

That’s who we are.

And standing before you four years ago, I knew that I didn’t want any of that to change if Barack became President.

Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.

You see, I’ve gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks like.

And I’ve seen how the issues that come across a President’s desk are always the hard ones – the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer…the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error.

And as President, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people.

But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.

So when it comes to rebuilding our economy, Barack is thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother.

He’s thinking about the pride that comes from a hard day’s work.

That’s why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work.

That’s why he cut taxes for working families and small businesses and fought to get the auto industry back on its feet.

That’s how he brought our economy from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again – jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs right here in the United States of America.

When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president.

He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically – that’s not how he was raised – he cared that it was the right thing to do.

He did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine…our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick…and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness.

And he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care…that’s what my husband stands for.

When it comes to giving our kids the education they deserve, Barack knows that like me and like so many of you, he never could’ve attended college without financial aid.

And believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage.

We were so young, so in love, and so in debt.

That’s why Barack has fought so hard to increase student aid and keep interest rates down, because he wants every young person to fulfill their promise and be able to attend college without a mountain of debt.

So in the end, for Barack, these issues aren’t political – they’re personal.

Because Barack knows what it means when a family struggles.

He knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids.

Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it…and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.

And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you…you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.

So when people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.

He’s the same man who started his career by turning down high paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities and get folks back to work…because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.

He’s the same man who, when our girls were first born, would anxiously check their cribs every few minutes to ensure they were still breathing, proudly showing them off to everyone we knew.

That’s the man who sits down with me and our girls for dinner nearly every night, patiently answering their questions about issues in the news, and strategizing about middle school friendships.

That’s the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him.

The letter from the father struggling to pay his bills…from the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company won’t cover her care…from the young person with so much promise but so few opportunities.

I see the concern in his eyes…and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, “You won’t believe what these folks are going through, Michelle…it’s not right. We’ve got to keep working to fix this. We’ve got so much more to do.”

I see how those stories – our collection of struggles and hopes and dreams – I see how that’s what drives Barack Obama every single day.

And I didn’t think it was possible, but today, I love my husband even more than I did four years ago…even more than I did 23 years ago, when we first met.

I love that he’s never forgotten how he started.

I love that we can trust Barack to do what he says he’s going to do, even when it’s hard – especially when it’s hard.

I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as “us” and “them” – he doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above…he knows that we all love our country…and he’s always ready to listen to good ideas…he’s always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.

And I love that even in the toughest moments, when we’re all sweating it – when we’re worried that the bill won’t pass, and it seems like all is lost – Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise.

Just like his grandmother, he just keeps getting up and moving forward…with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.

And he reminds me that we are playing a long game here…and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once.

But eventually we get there, we always do.

We get there because of folks like my Dad…folks like Barack’s grandmother…men and women who said to themselves, “I may not have a chance to fulfill my dreams, but maybe my children will…maybe my grandchildren will.”

So many of us stand here tonight because of their sacrifice, and longing, and steadfast love…because time and again, they swallowed their fears and doubts and did what was hard.

So today, when the challenges we face start to seem overwhelming – or even impossible – let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation…it’s who we are as Americans…it’s how this country was built.

And if our parents and grandparents could toil and struggle for us…if they could raise beams of steel to the sky, send a man to the moon, and connect the world with the touch of a button…then surely we can keep on sacrificing and building for our own kids and grandkids.

And if so many brave men and women could wear our country’s uniform and sacrifice their lives for our most fundamental rights…then surely we can do our part as citizens of this great democracy to exercise those rights…surely, we can get to the polls and make our voices heard on Election Day.

If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time…if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.

Because in the end, more than anything else, that is the story of this country – the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle.

That is what has made my story, and Barack’s story, and so many other American stories possible.

And I say all of this tonight not just as First Lady…and not just as a wife.

You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still “mom-in-chief.”

My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.

But today, I have none of those worries from four years ago about whether Barack and I were doing what’s best for our girls.

Because today, I know from experience that if I truly want to leave a better world for my daughters, and all our sons and daughters…if we want to give all our children a foundation for their dreams and opportunities worthy of their promise…if we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility – that belief that here in America, there is always something better out there if you’re willing to work for it…then we must work like never before…and we must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward…my husband, our President, President Barack Obama.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

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