As the final stop of his whistle-stop tour heading to Washington DC this weekend, President-elect Barack Obama spoke in Baltimore and told Americans that we need to re-declare our independence from the divisiveness that has held us in its grip for the last eight years:
We are here today not simply to pay tribute to those patriots who founded our nation in Philadelphia or defended it in Baltimore, but to take up the cause for which they gave so much. The trials we face are very different now, but severe in their own right. Only a handful of times in our history has a generation been confronted with challenges so vast. An economy that is faltering. Two wars, one that needs to be ended responsibly, one that needs to be waged wisely. A planet that is warming from our unsustainable dependence on oil.
And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not. What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that those first patriots displayed. What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry - an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels.
What can I tell you? The man knows how to rock a good speech. It surprised me that even as irretrievably jaded as I thought I had become, I found myself welling with emotion.
I only hope that we can create a more perfect union by embracing new ideas instead of clinging to those old ideas that have not worked in the past.