Thursday, Jul. 29, 2004 | 10:56 a.m.
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I watched the convention again last night, despite the fact that I was a little melancholy over the phone call from St. Louis. I missed a good two hours of it -- I always seem to forget what time it's starting. Maybe it's because we've been getting things done around here for the move. That's a good reason.
Anyway, after being disappointed by the faint taste of sour grapes in Howard Dean's speech the night before, I was very happy to hear last night's speeches from Kerry's former competitors, particularly those of US Representative Dennis Kucinich and Rev. Al Sharpton. Kucinich, who also went on to receive a small percentage of the delegate votes, was both gracious and motivating. Though he did not drop out of the race when Kerry became the clear winner of the primaries, there was no hint of anything other than full support in his speech. I took his cries of "Courage, America!" to heart as I, like LA have been feeling disheartened and worried that this might all be in vain, that the Republicans have such a tight hold over the media and apparently, the Supreme Court, that change would be impossible. I am still keenly aware that even if Kerry and Edwards are elected, it will also take a Democratic majority in Congress to make their promises real. But I guess I am an optimist despite myself, because, like Mulder, I want to believe. That's the audacity of hope, isn't it.
I enjoyed Wyclef Jean's song too -- the lyrics were hysterical and reminded me of an exercise we did when I was in a high school economics class. Our teacher asked us to balance the federal budget. We had to take politics into consideration -- that is, we had to consider what effect our choices would have on voters. My teacher quickly came to the conclusion that I could balance the budget, but that I'd never be re-elected. I'm sure my economic policies would be the least of my worries if I were president, though maybe a few pissed off corporations might be willing to hire an assassin.
So, in the interest of continuing my trend of sharing my favorite quotes...
From US Representative Dennis Kucinich:
"Courage America! Courage to replace an administration which has usurped our constitution and attacked our Bill of Rights.
Courage to reject doctrines which separate us from the world. Courage to rejoin the world to ban all nuclear weapons, biological and chemical weapons, land mines and small arms. Courage to join the International Criminal Court, to sign the Kyoto Climate change treaty. Courage America .
Courage to take principles of nonviolence and make them part of the everyday life of our nation and work with the nations of the world to put an end to war.
Courage, America, to create a nation where our government achieves legitimacy not from the money it spends on armaments, but from the resources it channels into education, health care, job creation, housing, environmental protection and new sustainable energy policies.
Courage to give John Kerry the chance to restart the 21st century.
Courage America. Courage to shake off the administration's propaganda, the fear: the threats, the deceptions, the color-coded threat systems and the misnamed and ill-conceived Patriot Act. Courage America. This administration led us into a war based on distortions and misrepresentations and we must hold them accountable."
What can I add to this? Nothing -- I've already said it. Gracious and motivating.
The full text of this speech can be found here.
From Rev. Al Sharpton:
"Look at the current view of our nation worldwide as a results of our unilateral foreign policy. We went from unprecedented international support and solidarity on September 12, 2001, to hostility and hatred as we stand here tonight. We can't survive in the world by ourselves. How did we squander this opportunity to unite the world for democracy and to commit to a global fight against hunger and disease? We did it with a go-it-alone foreign policy based on flawed intelligence. We were told that we were going to Iraq because there were weapons of mass destruction. We've lost hundreds of soldiers. We've spent $200 billion dollars at a time when we had record state deficits. And when it became clear that there were no weapons, they changed the premise for the war and said: No, we went because of other reasons. If I told you tonight, "Let's leave the FleetCenter, we're in danger," and when you get outside, you ask me, Reverend Al, "What is the danger?" and I say, "It don't matter. We just needed some fresh air," I have misled you and we were misled."
"Mr. President, as I close, Mr. President, I heard you say Friday that you had questions for voters, particularly African- American voters. And you asked the question: Did the Democratic Party take us for granted? Well, I have raised questions. But let me answer your question.
You said the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It is true that Mr. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, after which there was a commitment to give 40 acres and a mule.
That's where the argument, to this day, of reparations starts. We never got the 40 acres. We went all the way to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres.
We didn't get the mule. So we decided we'd ride this donkey as far as it would take us.
Mr. President, you said would we have more leverage if both parties got our votes, but we didn't come this far playing political games. It was those that earned our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under Democrats.
Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so seriously, is our right to vote wasn't gained because of our age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us.
This vote can't be bargained away.
This vote can't be given away.
Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale."
Oh what a beautiful, eloquent response to obvious vote grubbing by the Bush Adminstration. I guess if they really cared about the black vote, there would have been a whole section missing from Fahrenheit 9/11.
The full text of this speech can be found here.
From future Vice President John Edwards:
I mean the very idea that in a country of our wealth and our prosperity, we have children going to bed hungry. We have children who don't have the clothes to keep them warm. We have millions of Americans who work full-time every day for minimum wage to support their family and still live in poverty—it’s wrong."
Very wrong. That we live in a country where people have to worry about whether they can afford something as basic as health care -- a trip to the doctor -- while the military budget is several times the amount of the next largest budget, is wrong.
"Some of our friends and neighbors saw their last images in Baghdad. Some took their last steps outside of Fallujah. And some buttoned their uniform for the final time before they went out to save their unit.
Men and women who used to take care of themselves, they now count on others to see them through the day. They need their mother to tie their shoe. Their husband to brush their hair. And their wife’s arm to help them across the room.
The stars and stripes wave for them. The word hero was made for them. They are the best and the bravest. They will never be left behind. You understand that. And they deserve a president who understands on the most personal level what they have gone through—what they have given and what they have given up for their country.
To us, the real test of patriotism is how we treat the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to defend our values. And let me tell you, the 26 million veterans in this country won’t have to wonder if they’ll have health care next week or next year—they will have it always because they took care of us and we will take care of them."
Instead of sending them to war and then introducing bills that will reduce the amount of aid to veterans, you mean? With friends like Bush, no veteran needs an enemy.
"Like all of us, I have learned a lot of lessons in my life. Two of the most important are that first, there will always be heartache and struggle—you can’t make it go away. But the other is that people of good and strong will, can make a difference. One lesson is a sad lesson and the other’s inspiring. We are Americans and we choose to be inspired.
We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism. We choose to do what’s right even when those around us say “You can’t do that.” We choose to be inspired because we know that we can do better—because this is America where everything is still possible."
While doing my homework for this election, I discovered that the Edwards family lost their first born son in a car accident at 16. I am sorry to have to share this experience with them. I am glad to see such strength come from it.
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