HOME PRESIDENT THE US CONSTITUTION ARTICLE CORNER
“Speech at the Democratic
behalf of the great state of
is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage
is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small
my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance
my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place,
studying here, my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side
of the world, in
they, too, had big dreams for their daughter. A common dream, born of two
parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the
possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or
"blessed," believing that in a tolerant
are both passed away now. And yet, I know that, on this night, they look down on
me with great pride.
stand here, and I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage,
aware that my parents' dreams live on in my two precious daughters. I stand here
knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to
all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on Earth is my
story even possible.
we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation - not because of the height of
our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our
pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over
two hundred years ago: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of
is the true genius of
year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and our
commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up
to the legacy of our forbearers, and the promise of future generations.
fellow Americans, Democrats, Republicans, Independents - I say to you tonight:
we have more work to do. More work to do for the workers I met in
don't get me wrong. The people I meet - in small towns and big cities, in diners
and office parks - they don't expect government to solve all their problems.
They know they have to work hard to get ahead. And they want to.
into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't
want their tax money wasted, by a welfare agency or by the Pentagon.
into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone
can't teach our kids to learn. They know that parents have to teach, that
children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the
television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is
acting white. They know those things.
don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in
their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that
every child in
know we can do better. And they want that choice.
this election, we offer that choice. Our Party has chosen a man to lead us who
embodies the best this country has to offer. And that man is John Kerry. John
Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith, and service because they've
defined his life. From his heroic service to
values and his record affirm what is best in us. John Kerry believes in an
Kerry believes in an
Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren't held hostage to the profits
of oil companies, or the sabotage of foreign oil fields.
Kerry believes in the constitutional freedoms that have made our country the
envy of the world, and he will never sacrifice our basic liberties, nor use
faith as a wedge to divide us.
John Kerry believes that in a dangerous world war must be an option sometimes,
but it should never be the first option.
know, a while back, I met a young man named Seamus in a V.F.W. Hall in
thought of the 900 men and women; sons and daughters, husbands and wives,
friends and neighbors, who won't be returning to their own hometowns. I thought
of the families I've met who were struggling to get by without a loved one's
full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves
shattered, but still lacked long-term health benefits because they were
we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not
to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for
their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return,
and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the
peace, and earn the respect of the world.
let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These
enemies must be found. They must be pursued, and they must be defeated. John
Kerry knows this.
just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men
who served with him in
Kerry believes in
there is a child on the south side of
is that fundamental belief, it is that fundamental belief, I am my brother's
keeper, I am my sister's keeper that makes this country work. It's what allows
us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American
Out of many, one.
even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin
masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of 'anything goes.'
Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal
pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into red states and blue
states; red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I've got news
for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like
federal agents poking around in our libraries in the red states. We coach Little
League in the blue states and yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states.
There are patriots who opposed the war in
are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of
us defending the
Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope.
not talking about blind optimism here - the almost willful ignorance that thinks
unemployment will go away if we just don't think about it, or the health care
crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. That's not what I'm talking
about. I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves
sitting around a fire singing freedom songs. The hope of immigrants setting out
for distant shores. The hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the
Mekong Delta. The hope of a mill worker's son who dares to defy the odds. The
hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that
in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of
hope. In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation.
A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.
believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families
with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes
to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across
you very much everybody. God bless you.
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