Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Philippines' Reproductive Health Bill Sidebar

Policies/laws will remain letters in a sheet... if we don't act upon them.

...just saying.

Whatever the final result of this RH Bill be, I hope the major chains of this vicious cycle of poverty be prioritized not only by our lawmakers, more so by the community leaders.

EDUCATION, LIVELIHOOD, FINANCIAL LITERACY, HEALTH, and ENVIRONMENTAL needs/issues must be particularly and concretely addressed...all with sustainable community-friendly programs.

If poverty is alleviat
ed by these, then the rationale/intent of either side of RH Bill (whichever wins) would be naturally acted upon by the people because they would be properly educated or informed, wiser, capable, and self-reliant.

We are all involved in this economic vis a vis health policy--from community level to national level.

Policies/laws will remain letters in a sheet... if we don't act upon them.

Be involved in your communities. Participate.

Empower and engage communities!

Participative development is the key.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Protecting Yourself from Vampires

The biggest blessing of protecting yourself from difficult people is gaining the freedom to genuinely see the seed of goodness that God planted in their hearts and their significant roles in refining and molding you to the wiser, more loving, and more joyful person that you are now…or simply the better you.

Do you feel exhausted? Are you fed up? Is someone sucking your energy?

You have the power to protect yourself!

After spotting your vampire, it is important to protect yourselves from your personal vampires; otherwise, they will attack your core and decay your soul or will influence you and make you one of them.

Their national game that exhausts you is the “Damned if you do; Damned if you Don’t” game.

Whether your vampire is your parent, boss, spouse, or close friend, you still need to protect yourself from them so you can love them more, or at least preserve yourself so you can give more of yourself—you have the energy and zest to serve, care for, and love those who deserve your energy most.

You cannot give what you don’t have! If your energy is low, you cannot help others. If you’re stressed out and irritated, it’s hard to sincerely share joy. If your heart is full of hatred, how can you genuinely give love? If you lack knowledge, how can you properly guide and teach the younger ones?

Hence, we need to protect ourselves so we have selves to give to others through service, friendships, and by simply sharing blessings.

But in order to protect ourselves from these difficult persons, we need first to recognize and appreciate that “understanding” them is the key to free ourselves from their bondage and vicious cycle. Still, we need to protect ourselves from them.

Don’t allow them to abuse you, nor allow yourself to spoil or tolerate them. Otherwise, you will bear the consequences of making a vampire in others.

If you love someone, you set him free and want him to be happy and successful… same goes for yourself (Leviticus 19:18, “love your neighbor as yourself.”)

Loving our vampire neighbors does not mean allowing them to stress us out. Instead, loving them means not spoiling and tolerating them and protecting ourselves from them by putting boundaries or limitations so we can love them properly sans the decaying stress between us.

Unless you’re free from the power of difficult people, you cannot understand and love them.

Remember, you have the power to break free and to protect yourself! You will not be tested beyond your capacity to solve your trials, including freeing yourself from your vampires.

We can protect ourselves from the vampires by preparing for their “Damned if you do; Damned if you don’t” game without the intention to hurt them.

So basic and simple like ABC 123. Here’s how…

Be aware. We need to deliberately and properly prepare for the difficult situations the vampires have had hurling at us time and again; so when it happens again, we already know what to do to protect ourselves and go about the situation to avoid further and unnecessary hurts.

Love ourselves. Loving oneself breeds respect for oneself. It makes us feel good about ourselves; thus loving ourselves naturally and automatically creates sturdy wall that protects us from exhausting vampires. Properly loving ourselves results in good health, good disposition, and doing good to others.

Living with a vampire is tantamount to allowing ourselves to be punished emotionally (sleepless nights and trauma), physically (sickness due to stress), spiritually (losing purpose, dreams, vision, and direction).

Damned if you do… damned if you don’t game.

Imagine this: You’re watching TV at home with your older brother. You’re enjoying the show. You’re laughing, you’re learning. Then suddenly you feel hungry. You get your favorite pasta and bread from the dining table, the last serving and the only food left by your mom for afternoon snack. When you return to the living room, your brother is surfing the channels and asks you to give him your food…  if you will give him the food he will eat them all as he scans the channels through the only remote; if you will not, he will throw hurting words at you, bully you, and will still get the food from you and will not let you hold the remote control as he is watches another show.

So what you do…

      1.    Retreat and find food elsewhere

Take one step backward so you can take two steps forward.
This may mean staying away and taking a break, pausing and catching some breath, and recuperating elsewhere for a while.

It may also mean not cutting relationship with the vampires. It may mean decreasing your time with the vampires. By doing this, you strike your chances of being drained or influenced by the vampire (Proverbs 22:24-25, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered  person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.”)

If your boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating on you or manipulating you, then walk out and find food elsewhere. If you have friends who are sucking your energy, joy, and peace, then spend lesser time with them.

      2.      Protect your head and eat your food

Bask in the sun, float on top of the wave.
This entails creating an emotional space between you and the difficult person.

If your vampire is your boss, spouse, or parents, you cannot just walk out immediately and create a physical space; hence you create an emotional space. As Eleanor Roosevelt puts it, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

We can create emotional space by imagining, especially when the truth is not obvious.

Imagine your difficult person as little Hercules.

Reduce the significance and impact of your vampire on you. Whatever he says or does becomes insignificant to you. You no longer focus on his sweet empty words or you can take his harsh words as unsharpened doubled-bladed sword. Now, you see your little Hercules vampire shout at you, but you cannot understand his little voice. You see him, but you’re no longer terrified.

Though this way, you focus on the only two important opinions, “First, what God thinks of you—full of potential, beautiful lamb, and a victor; second, your opinion of yourself—who you can be and want to be.”

Imagine an angel coming.

Through this way, you emphasize the element of “understanding.”

You see his brokenness not his badness.

By surrendering the difficult person to God, you let your angel come to take the vampire from your life to bring it to God’s repair room.

Imagine the truth.

Through this way, you give yourself time to “retrospect, honestly evaluate yourself, and listen to the hopes and dreams of the still voice inside you.”

The evil is in the business of deceiving you.

If one wants to become better in whatever aspect of his life, the evil will always try to pull him down, trap him, or to block the way just to keep him chained in his dark, unhappy underworld.

So, “Watch and pray so you will not fall into temptation (Mark 14:38), and  If God is for us, who can be against us? It is God who justifies (Romans 8:31-32).” 

If you want to get rid of your emotional vampires and achieve your dreams, you need someone who believes in you and in your dreams and who supports and cheers you on as you reach them.

There will always be people who will spice up your life with difficulty and challenges, whether they’re conscious of it or not. Moreover, there will always be people around you who will hold opinion about what you believe in or do, and they may even have predictions about your life… but hey, it’s okay!

You have a choice… to remain with the vampire or to break free.

You have two important stronghold… what God thinks of you and what you think of yourself.

The biggest blessing of protecting yourself from difficult people is gaining the freedom to genuinely see the seed of goodness that God planted in their hearts and their significant roles in refining and molding you to the wiser, more loving, and more joyful person that you are now…or simply the better you.

FLY! First Love Yourself.

 (Third and last installment, Unfinished Business: Transforming the Vampire will be posted soon)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Flash Fiction: A Walk in the Park that Turned into a Lifetime Journey

Listening to Our Voices with Eagerness; Learning Our Views to Enlighten us; Laughing at Our Vanity for Entertainment; Living up Our Vows for Eternity. Just LOVING.

 The sun was up so bright, I decided to take a walk and catch fresh air in the park. His voice caught my attention, "Miss, you have twigs on your hair." Eagerly and gently, he helped me pluck the twigs. Next thing I knew, we were talking and laughing as we walked through the parade of colorful spring trees.

Never did I think I would find my wingless angel, a heaven-sent man who would share the joy of living and love me despite and in spite of me on that random day in the park. Only he can tickle me with his funny jokes, empower me with his simple words of motivation, bring out the youth in me with his fun-loving character, effortlessly inspire me by his example, and make me appreciate my self-worth by his unconditional and ever gentle love. With zeal and joy, he courts me every single day even after our wedding, assuring me that we will grow wiser together til our hairs turn white.

Falling in love with him was the most wonderful feeling I ever experienced. Ultimate joy of living made real by his presence. Til our last breath I promise to love him through actions and words. Untiringly loving, appreciating, caring, supporting, balancing him are what I dedicated myself into. Revisiting the walks in the park, reminiscing our challenges and victories, and rekindling our youthful love are what we do now that our hairs are gray. Every joyful thing and more...

Listening to Our Voices with Eagerness;
Learning Our Views to Enlighten us;
Laughing at Our Vanity for Entertainment;
Living up Our Vows for Eternity.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spotting Your Vampire

The core of vampirism is low self-worth. Vampires are like little children desperate and hungry for love and attention.

Vampires are mythological creatures who subsist by feeding on the life essentials, like blood, of living creatures. They are animated corpses who rise from the grave at night to suck blood from sleeping people.

The idea of vampires started to become popular in the 18th century in Western Europe. They believed vampires have no reflection in the mirror and they could be warded off by apotropiacs like garlic, wild rose branches, and hawthorn plants.

In modern fiction, vampires are depicted as suave and charismatic blood sucking creatures.

But do vampires really exist?

Of course they don’t exist in real life. But we do all have vampire attributes and we are all personal vampires to somebody.

Vampires are the difficult persons in our lives. Much like the fictional character who doesn't have a mirror reflection, difficult persons cannot self-reflect. We all are vampires at one point, to one person, to a certain level.

Personal vampires are infectious. They either attack your immune system by stressing you out or they pass on the virus to you and influence you by their ways.

There are three types of vampires:
1. Pure Vampires
                -always difficult to all people
                -they think and feel that they are really good people and are always right

2. Personal Vampires
                -your vampire may not be a vampire to another person
                -they press a certain personal or sensitive button in us

3. Partial Vampires
                -all of us are this

But before we judge others as vampires or tag others as difficult persons, let us first look at ourselves. Perhaps, there are also areas in our lives that we must first fix or remove before we fix others’ or remove the speck from their eyes.

It is very important that we spot the vampires in our lives so we will be able to protect ourselves with the right apotropaics or ways to ward them off, without having to hurt them or allowing ourselves to be continually hurt.

There are eight common vampires:

1. Criticizing Vampire
                -it would seem that their divine mission is to correct the world
                -they always feel the need to make others feel small so they become big in others eyes
                -they think they’re going to explode if they don’t air their criticism or unsolicited correction

2. Controlling Vampire
                -they use intimidation, guilt, anger to manipulate your emotion
                -they cannot execute their good intention without hurting others
                -they’re like children that if you don’t give in to their plea or want they will whine or cry

3. Contradicting Vampire
                -they will disagree with you because for them “it will just not work”
                -they’re not open to new ideas
                -they are “that’s difficult, let’s not do that,” as opposed to, “that’s challenging, but we can find a way and do it”
                -they’re like children trapped in adult human bodies, they have good intention but they don’t know how to execute them

4. Clinging Vampire
                -they’re like parasites looking for hosts
                -his/her self-esteem is totally dependent on others, until they smother others

5. Crying Vampire
                -they’re overly sensitive people
                -they easily get hurt and they suck the energy out of you by crying

6. Complaining Vampire
                -wherever you put them they just love complaining and whining anytime about whatever
                -they easily lose interest and tend to be unappreciative or ungrateful
                -they easily look older than their ages
                -they are not aware that they have choices… to choose to be happy or to stop or to change

7. Coward Vampire
                -they don’t know how to say NO at the right time with the right reason
                -they love pleasing other people, that they are no longer able to attend to their accepted responsibilities
                -they tend to become liabilities instead of assets
                -they easily get burnt out

8. Con Vampire
                -can be very charming, kind, and good
                -they are good at convincing people, but they are also very good at telling lies after lies after lies
                -they are capable of making people believe them in the midst of their doubts, because he is good at supporting one lie with nine others
                -pathological liars

These difficult people becomes our vampires because they suck the energy out of us when they press our personal buttons.

The core of vampirism is low self-worth. Vampires are like little children desperate and hungry for love and attention.

One of their biggest problem is they cannot see their reflections in the mirror. That is why it is very important that we actively take the role of spotting them.

Once we find them and do our best to understand them—that we all have past and wounds or are going through something difficult at that moment—then we can help them by providing the right apotropaic to help them take off their masks, cloaks, and fangs that make them vampires to others, or if not, for us to put emotional space between us and them without having to cut relationships with them.

In fiction, once a vampire always a vampire. But in real stories, there’s hope. We can change! We have choices—to grow, be happy, improve, which company to be in.

Before we spot our vampires, it is also very important that we take the time to first pause and self-reflect. Sometimes the weaknesses of others that irritate us are the same unacknowledged weaknesses that we have.

As we assess ourselves, ask the right questions and totally take off our blindfolds. We cannot lie to ourselves; not acknowledging our defects will only worsen us. Accepting that we have problems to fix is the first step to solving them, to improvement.

Our illnesses or defects are not who we are supposed to be. Rather, they are the ones keeping us from who we are supposed to be.

Also, these vampires or difficult persons will help us see ourselves clearly and know ourselves better.

We are all vampires to somebody else. But if we start thirsting for the blood of Jesus and desire to have it pour on us—on our wounds, on our confusion, on our hopelessness—Jesus’ blood can surely cleanse us and make us anew (Revelations 1:5, “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood.”)

Jesus doesn't care where we have been and what we have been through… All He cares about and sees clearly is our potential and the direction we can take to the place we are supposed to be going—in His kingdom of eternal joy and love.

We can all change! It’s not the person per se that makes him a vampire, but his behavior. We are all boxes of possibilities… Don’t worry, we can all change for the better—if we want to and act upon it.

(Second installment, click Protecting Yourself From Vampires )

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Like a butterfly, we were once a crawling caterpillar unappreciated by many; then surrounded by cocoon of problems. But as we persist and do our best to move forward, our sweat and tears soften the cocoon and the hardshell that seemed to block us sheds off… then poof!

In this material world, everything flows and nothing remains the same. As Heraclitus observed, change is the only permanent thing in the world.

If we are to improve, then we have to move upwards and onwards.

Nonetheless, as we act let us not confuse movement from progress; for our state of action doesn’t always translate to advancement and improvement.

We must know which change we have to accept as it is and which we have to deliberately act upon on. We shouldn’t just be purely passive accepting every change as it happens or purely active reacting on every change.

When it comes to our personal changes, every transformational change always comes with resistance. It is but normal.

Sometimes we become comfortable with our conditions that we no longer want to take another step or change positions or transfer locations. We settle to where we are. Sometimes we stagnate, or worse, we tend to deteriorate.

We don’t notice we no longer learn new things so our minds get rustic and we become left behind or narrow-minded. We feel too safe in our seats until our sedentary lifestyle brings us to the hospital due to illnesses we didn’t know we’re forming over time. We get stuck in our relationships that hurt us, stagnate us, or rotten us thinking we would never be loved again.

Desire change! Be willing to be transformed!

At first we will naturally feel resistant to change. We will become inconsistent with our desire to improve, or at least, change status in life.

No matter what you feel, just press on!

Remember the reasons you had in mind why you wanted to change, to improve. Revisit your feelings when you first acted upon the change you want to happen. Feel your excitement and joy.

Do not limit and doubt yourself to do great things.

Ask our faithful God to guide you every step of the way.

The best change comes from God—turning your good to better, and your better to best. He is faithfully transforming us from glory to glory.

All we need to do is be willing to submit to His wonderful ways of transforming our lives. For God desires nothing but our best.

Rest on God’s unconditional love and limitless grace. How?

I. Believe in God’s Transforming Power.
                -God’s love changes us for the better, He wants us to be saved and to enjoy the gift of life
                -God’s miracle, blessings, and healing are always available each day

II. Change Your Perception of Yourself
                -God created us with inherent capabilities no matter where we came from or how we look
    -God has equipped us with necessary tools to victoriously face our refining trials
                -When God calls, He equips.

III. Look at God differently
                -God is faithful to His promises and generous to both evil and good, sinners and saints (Matthew 5:45)
                -God is understanding and considerate, that He even allowed Himself to become human for Him to experience the things that we experience as humans, even the harder and most painful things, to relate to us and inspire us
                -God was tempted like us, but he managed the temptations well by remaining obedient to God’s word and by holding firmly to His faith

IV. Desire to be Healed Totally and Completely
                -Allow God to work in our lives through and through
                -While God is healing us at one area, don’t block Him to other areas so He may also transform us there because He wants to bless us and make our joy complete

V. Be Willing to Learn
                -Seek for wisdom, hunger for knowledge and share them with others
                -Acquire new information, modify existing ones, renew your ideas and incorporate with others'
                -Have the humility to be mentored… life is an open university that is pro-students who are willing to be taught
                -There are a lot of things we don’t know that we don’t know
                -Even the greatest men in the world get help from others
                -Leaning is the result  not the simply the process of being taught of

Remember that God is giving us our situations because He has a perfect and glorious plan for each of us. When God calls us to change, let us be responsive and be confident that all things work for our best.

Resist your resistance, not God’s transformation of us.

God continuously pour forth His blessings to us even as while we are asleep. If we think we don’t receive His gifts, or we question why others are better than we are, it is because we unconsciously resist God’s blessings.

Our laziness, our procrastination, our envy, our crab-mentality… our attitude toward receiving God’s graces is the one which hinders us from enjoying them.

1. Remove your umbrella of laziness, procrastination, skepticism and catch God’s blessing with open arms.

2. Patch the holes in your lives so the blessings you catch will not leak. Constantly train and desire to improve. Focus! Be diligent . Be self-discipline. When things become part of your system, they gradually become easy and automatic… they become you!
3. Share the things you receive and learn. What you learn and receive triples when you share them with others because others share what they have or their learnings to you too. And the good news is, even if others don’t share what they have to you, God will bless you in other amazing ways you deserve.

Like a butterfly, we were once a crawling caterpillar unappreciated by many; then surrounded by cocoon of problems. But as we persist and do our best to move forward, our sweat and tears soften the cocoon and the hardshell that seemed to block us sheds off… then poof!

We become the most beautiful insect in the field, flying high from one flower of opportunity to another. We have just been transformed by the transforming love and grace of God, through our own desire to improve and our constant action to press on.

Surprised as we are, after the refining fire of difficulties, we are now the precious gem in the midst of the vast quagmire of struggles giving hope to others—if the once feeble person has improved and so can they!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

President Barack Obama's Victory Speech 2012

President Barack Obama's Presidential Acceptance Speech, Wednesday November 07, 2012 in Chicago.

Obama: I wouldn't be the man I am today, if not for the woman I married. Michelle, let me say this publicly - I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you too. 

Obama: The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. Your work is not done. The principle we were founded on is self-government. Our destiny is shared. Hope is the stubborn thing inside us that insists that something better awaits us, so long as we keep fighting. I believe we can seize this future together because I believe we are not as divided as our politics. It doesn't matter who you are, you can make it here in America if you want to try. We can seize this future together.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.

It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.
Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.
I want to thank every American who participated in this election...
... whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time.
By the way, we have to fix that.
Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone...
... whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.
I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign.
We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight.
In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.
I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America's happy warrior, the best vice president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden.
And I wouldn't be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago.
Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation's first lady.
Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you're growing up to become two strong, smart beautiful young women, just like your mom.
And I'm so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now one dog's probably enough.
To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics...
The best. The best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning.
But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together and you will have the life-long appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley.
You lifted me up the whole way and I will always be grateful for everything that you've done and all the incredible work that you put in.
I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics that tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you'll discover something else.
You'll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who's working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity.
You'll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who's going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift.
You'll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse whose working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.
That's why we do this. That's what politics can be. That's why elections matter. It's not small, it's big. It's important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.
That won't change after tonight, and it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.
But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers.
A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.
We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.
We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this - this world has ever known.
But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war, to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being. We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant's daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag.
To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner.
To the furniture worker's child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president - that's the future we hope for. That's the vision we share. That's where we need to go - forward.
That's where we need to go.
Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It's not always a straight line. It's not always a smooth path.
By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.
And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.
Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual.
You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do.
But that doesn't mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote. America's never been about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That's the principle we were founded on.
This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.
The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great.
I am hopeful tonight because I've seen the spirit at work in America. I've seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job.
I've seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.
I've seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm.
And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.
I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father's story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own.
And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That's who we are. That's the country I'm so proud to lead as your president.
And tonight, despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future.
I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I'm not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.
I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.
America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.
I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.
And together with your help and God's grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.
Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.

Source: CNN