20 January 2008, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta
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So I talk about hope. I — I put “Hope” on my campaign signs.
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And so I — so I’m puzzled when — when some people, some of the other candidates make a mockery of the idea. They say I’m pedaling false hopes. "Get a reality check," they tell me.
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But I also know this — that nothing in this country worthwhile has ever happened except somebody somewhere decided to hope.
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That’s how this country was founded because a group of patriots decided they were going to take on the British Empire. Nobody was putting their money on them. That’s how slaves and abolitionists resisted that evil system. That’s how a new President was able to chart a course to insure that this nation would no longer remain half slave and half free. That’s how the greatest generation defeated Fascism and overcame a Great Depression. That’s how women won the right to vote. That’s how workers won the right to organize.
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I don’t believe in false hopes. Imagine if John F. Kennedy had looked up at the moon and said, "Well, that’s too far." False hopes, we can’t go there. If Dr. King had stood on the Lincoln Memorial and said, "Y’all go home; we can’t overcome." There’s no such thing as false hopes, but what I know deep in my heart is that we cannot bring about change unless we up. It happens because ordinary people dream extraordinary things. It’s because all of you decide that change must comeare unified, unless we do it together. Change does not happen from the top down — in America or anywhere else. It happens from the bottom . That I know.
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