Next year Kenyans, too, will cast their ballots
Iwant to thank the American people at home and abroad who exercised their constitutional right to vote. Over the past year many of you, along with Americans at home and around the world, watched speeches, rallies, and debates by the candidates. We saw media reports and followed the polls. We had a free and open exchange of ideas on the future of our country.
Now, after our “national dialogue” the American people are speaking through their votes. With this election, a new chapter begins for our government. But while the election brings change, what does NOT change is our faith in our Constitution, the rule of law, and our strong institutions.
It’s been called “the American Experiment”. In the beginning, critics predicted its imminent demise. In some ways, it didn’t start well. At first, only white male property owners could vote. We held people in slavery. States were often bitter rivals, and, during a bloody civil war, enemies. Over time, however, through the sacrifice and hard work of great Americans such as Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr., and many others, all Americans came to enjoy the fundamental rights and essential freedoms that once were held by only a few. For 240 years, through starts and stops, trials and tribulations, the “American Experiment” has endured and prospered.
And, now, we celebrate another successful election. There are some, of course, who would wish for another result in one race or another. One ballot never settles all differences. Democracy is a constant work in progress. But as the great American historian Shelby Foote once said, “Americans like to think of themselves as uncompromising. [But] our true genius is for compromise. Our whole government is founded on it.”
This was a difficult, contentious election. But Americans will recognize and accept the decision reached in a democratic poll. We welcome our new President and look forward to a bright future.
As we stand here together, I would like to turn for a moment to another election. Next year, Kenyans, too, will cast their ballots. It will be your second election under your remarkable 2010 Constitution. Ensuring it is free, fair, peaceful, and credible will strengthen Kenya’s democracy, deepen prosperity, and advance security. Kenya is a great country. Kenyans are a great people. I’ve seen you prove it. I have seen the strength, talent, and genius of the hardworking Kenyan people. I have heard your dreams.