We awaken to a country in pain, deeply divided, and in search of its soul. That we have an election with razor-thin margins in several states is not a complete anomaly in our history. That the chasms between us feel so fraught and so alienating does feel uniquely precarious.

There was no wave, although if the votes turn out in a certain way in the final counting Biden could win a healthy number of states. And let’s start with a basic fact this morning: a Biden presidency is a completely different destiny for America than a continuation of what we’ve had. And there seems a fair – maybe even good – chance that he will prevail in the Electoral College.

Although there are potentially dangerous days ahead, I remain optimistic. I don’t think that the worst fears of violence or stopping the vote count will be realized. I believe our institutions will hold.

The question that does loom is what’s next? Why did so many support Trump with all that he has done? I don’t think there is a single answer to that question. At the same time, one can also ask why did so many vote to reject an incumbent president? That has proven a difficult bar in American history. There are many answers to that question as well.

I don’t minimize the challenges we are facing. The struggle for justice and the truth seems more difficult than many had hoped. But that doesn’t lessen the importance of the mission. Quite the contrary. I know many are tired, disappointed, and in disbelief. Many wonder what their country truly is and where it might go. All of these are natural reactions to where America is today. But I have seen over the course of my lifetime that victories are rarely easy and the struggle for healing and hope takes time and perseverance because the forces of hate and lies are always easier to summon.

There is a lot that is broken, deeply broken. But there are millions upon millions of our fellow citizens who wake up each morning, undaunted, ready to do the hard work to help others and make this world a better place. Today, I honor that spirit. As long as I have breath, I will continue to fight for the America I want to live in.