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“Yes we did,” President-elect Barack Obama shouted as he came to the podium to deliver his first stump speech of his Whistle Stop tour to Washington. It was a charge rooted in history, a call to “act with urgency” and for the American people to create a new Declaration of Independence — one that is “independent from prejudce and selfishness” as he seeks to move the country forward.
Obama said that coming to Philadelphia, the cradle of American democracy, was not “simply a tribute” to the founding fathers but his way of communicating that the “American people need to take up the work that they began” more than 230 years ago.
Before Obama came to the podium in Philadelphia’s Union Station, Pennsylvania’s leading politicians spoke to the huddled masses.
Gov. Ed Rendell made much of Obama replicating President Abraham Lincoln’s route when he traveled to his inauguration some 148 years ago. When Lincoln rode to Washington, his mission was to rally the nation as well as gain support for his economic program which also had a plank that called for the use of infrastructure development to create jobs. Sound familiar?
It is no secret that Obama is a great fan of Lincoln’s — so much so, that when he’s sworn in on Tuesday he will place his hand on the same bible used to swear in the 16th president. Judging by the response from the crowd here, Obama, too, is traveling on the rails to greatness.
Derek T. Dingle is the editor in chief of Black Enterprise magazine.