From time to time this odd nation gives birth to what in other places might be called a leader or a prince or a king, a goddess-like thing; an odd human being, one that encourages us to be more than just human but to be what only Americans can be. We have just given birth to one. These are very precious and very vulnerable creatures. Let us not just go back to work today as if nothing had happened. We have a new President to make into a great President, for none has ever done it themselves and none ever will. It is what they awaken in us that make them great, if they are to be great.
Let us wrap ourselves around this frail young man, all of us. Let us protect him and lead him, for we Americans need no leaders. It is not in our nature to be led. But it is in our nature to be great. In the end, that is why we selected him, those of us with the vision and skill to do that. We saw in him that rare sense of knowing who we really are and asking us to be just that. Today we have a new job ahead of us. Let’s get right on it. We have a new President to lead, he has asked us to do that, that is his gift, and we must respond. That is the job before us, and it is a job for us all, for each and every one of us, to take this opportunity to be as great as we really are.
Today we can leave smallness behind us. And, as the world has noticed and feared, we have been very small indeed. It was not George Bush who was small; it was us. We could have saved him from himself and the world from him, but, to our great shame, we failed both him and ourselves. Let us never do that again. We have a strange nation here, one that is, by careful design, precisely what we, its people, make of it. Nowhere else and never before has there been such a thing.
The California High Desert
5 November, 2008