There are times when the pride I feel for the underpinnings of our nation is so great, and when the leadership of the nation has spoken with such clarity and conviction, that I get chills up my spine. Such was the case today when President Obama took the podium and delivered a message regarding the security lapse that allowed for an almost crisis to unfold over Detroit on Christmas Day. Since that time there has been a non-stop litany of politically charged statements from the opposition, with the attempt to foment fear over objective and clear-headed thinking. In the midst of the loudness stood not only our President, but also a constitutional law professor. If these times do not again call for the clear thinking and analytical ability of such a mind, then I am not sure when it would be required. With a keen sense for all that our nation holds dear, and all that it must strive to protect, President Obama made one of his most profound and powerful statements as leader of the free world.
Tonight I am proud as an American. And I know that many of my fellow citizens feel the same.
Here are the words, and video of his remarks that stirred my soul. President Obama is giving voice again to my convicitons.
To advance that progress, we’ve sought new beginnings with Muslim communities around the world, one in which we engage on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect, and work together to fulfill the aspirations that all people share — to get an education, to work with dignity, to live in peace and security. That’s what America believes in. That’s the vision that is far more powerful than the hatred of these violent extremists.
Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans, because great and proud nations don’t hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. That is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as I am President, we will never hand them that victory. We will define the character of our country, not some band of small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children.
And in this cause, every one of us — every American, every elected official — can do our part. Instead of giving into cynicism and division, let’s move forward with the confidence and optimism and unity that defines us as a people. For now is not a time for partisanship, it’s a time for citizenship — a time to come together and work together with the seriousness of purpose that our national security demands.
That’s what it means to be strong in the face of violent extremism. That’s how we will prevail in this fight. And that’s how we will protect our country and pass it — safer and stronger — to the next generation.