It was two years ago today that Barack and I were sworn in, and I remember what he said like it was this morning:
“The challenges we face are real, they are serious, and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.”
Even then, we knew it would take time. We knew it would be hard. And we knew we would sometimes make mistakes.
But we did not lose sight of what we came to do.
Together, we took on difficult issues that had been put off for decades. And some say we have accomplished more in two years than any administration since Roosevelt’s.
Take it from me, that’s something you should take to heart — because none of it would have been possible without your hard work.
But the job’s not done.
I am reminded of that every time I travel to the small towns in Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico — all over — and on the weekends I get home to Delaware. I meet folks who are still struggling, who want to know when the recovery will start to turn things around for their family.
These people are why we can’t quit.
And moving forward with this new Congress, we will need to defend what we’ve achieved together as aggressively as we pursue the goals that remain.
I believe in the power of public service because I’ve seen what it has done throughout our country’s history to combat social and economic injustice. And I am proud to say it’s a story that continues in the remarkable progress we’ve made in the past two years. To tell it, Organizing for America has written Promises Kept.
Take a look at the Promises Kept report of all the work we’ve done in two years — you can download a copy or have a few sent to you to share with friends.
There’s a whole lot to be proud of.
Of course, the big ones come to mind first: historic health insurance reform, which is reining in the insurance companies and helping control the cost of care for millions of Americans; Wall Street reform, which put in place the toughest consumer protections ever; and the end of combat operations in Iraq, which brought more than 100,000 troops home.
And there is so much more you’ve helped achieve that is right now improving lives across the country:
— We passed the Recovery Act, which saved and created more than 3 million jobs, provided the largest middle-class tax cut in a generation, and made landmark investments in clean energy, infrastructure, and education.
— We made critical investments in General Motors and Chrysler, saving tens of thousands of jobs — and perhaps the companies — and spurring a rebirth of the American car industry.
— We wrote into law student loan reform and credit card reform, which ended the worst abuses of the banking industries and are making lending fair for American families.
— We put two new Supreme Court justices on the bench — Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who bring rich and diverse experience to the Court.
— We have begun to reset America’s relationship with the international community, from the ratification of a new START nuclear arms treaty with Russia to tough new sanctions on Iran to strengthening our long-term partnership with a unified Iraq.
— And we finally repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which was the right thing to do — not only because it makes our military stronger at a time when it needs to be the strongest, but because we are seeking that military might with an abiding sense of justice.
Telling the story of the past two years will be critical to the fights ahead. And it’s not just the story of this president or this White House — it’s your story.
And it is literally proof that the organizing you do on the ground — the conversations you have with your friends and neighbors — is working.
Now, I’m not going to say the last two years were easy — and I won’t tell you the fights ahead are going to get any easier.
But I didn’t sign up for a cake walk. And I’m pretty sure you didn’t either.
We’re here to move our country forward. We’re here to lay a new foundation for this country — for our economy, for our politics, and for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.
And, as Barack says, what we will be able to accomplish together is in your hands.
It’s how hard we all work, and how well we all tell this story.
Take a few minutes to read Promises Kept — and let’s keep moving:
Thanks for everything,