Good Tuesday 25 September 2012. Thanks for listening to, participating in & ENGAGING w/ IDECLAIR MEDIA, THE IDECLAIR SHOW…
Today, President Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly. Watch & read it!
“President Obama Address the U.N. General Assembly”
Published on Sep 25, 2012 by PBSNewsHour
“President Obama addresses the 67th U.N. General Assembly in New York with a focus on quelling violence spreading abroad.”
“Remarks by the President to the UN General Assembly”
United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York
10:22 A.M. EDT
“THE PRESIDENT: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentleman: I would like to begin today by telling you about an American named Chris Stevens.
Chris was born in a town called Grass Valley, California, the son of a lawyer and a musician. As a young man, Chris joined the Peace Corps, and taught English in Morocco. And he came to love and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East. He would carry that commitment throughout his life. As a diplomat, he worked from Egypt to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Libya. He was known for walking the streets of the cities where he worked — tasting the local food, meeting as many people as he could, speaking Arabic, listening with a broad smile.
Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship. As America’s representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for the future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. And after the revolution, he supported the birth of a new democracy, as Libyans held elections, and built new institutions, and began to move forward after decades of dictatorship.
Chris Stevens loved his work. He took pride in the country he served, and he saw dignity in the people that he met. And two weeks ago, he traveled to Benghazi to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital. That’s when America’s compound came under attack. Along with three of his colleagues, Chris was killed in the city that he helped to save. He was 52 years old.
I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodied the best of America. Like his fellow Foreign Service officers, he built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents. He acted with humility, but he also stood up for a set of principles — a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny, and live with liberty, dignity, justice, and opportunity.
The attacks on the civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America. We are grateful for the assistance we received from the Libyan government and from the Libyan people. There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice. And I also appreciate that in recent days, the leaders of other countries in the region — including Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen — have taken steps to secure our diplomatic facilities, and called for calm. And so have religious authorities around the globe.
But understand, the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded — the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.
If we are serious about upholding these ideals, it will not be enough to put more guards in front of an embassy, or to put out statements of regret and wait for the outrage to pass. If we are serious about these ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis — because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes that we hold in common.
Today, we must reaffirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens — and not by his killers. Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.
It has been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country, and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring. And since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that’s taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change.
We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator, because we recognized our own beliefs in the aspiration of men and women who took to the streets.
We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy ultimately put us on the side of the people.
We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were no longer being served by a corrupt status quo.
We intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council, because we had the ability to stop the slaughter of innocents, and because we believed that the aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant.
And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin.
We have taken these positions because we believe that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one culture. These are not simply American values or Western values — they are universal values. And even as there will be huge challenges to come with a transition to democracy, I am convinced that ultimately government of the people, by the people, and for the people is more likely to bring about the stability, prosperity, and individual opportunity that serve as a basis for peace in our world.
So let us remember that this is a season of progress. For the first time in decades, Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans voted for new leaders in elections that were credible, competitive, and fair. This democratic spirit has not been restricted to the Arab world. Over the past year, we’ve seen peaceful transitions of power in Malawi and Senegal, and a new President in Somalia. In Burma, a President has freed political prisoners and opened a closed society, a courageous dissident has been elected to parliament, and people look forward to further reform. Around the globe, people are making their voices heard, insisting on their innate dignity, and the right to determine their future.
And yet the turmoil of recent weeks reminds us that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot. Nelson Mandela once said: “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” (Applause.)
True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and that businesses can be opened without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear, and on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.
In other words, true democracy — real freedom — is hard work. Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissidents. In hard economic times, countries must be tempted — may be tempted to rally the people around perceived enemies, at home and abroad, rather than focusing on the painstaking work of reform.
Moreover, there will always be those that reject human progress — dictators who cling to power, corrupt interests that depend on the status quo, and extremists who fan the flames of hate and division. From Northern Ireland to South Asia, from Africa to the Americas, from the Balkans to the Pacific Rim, we’ve witnessed convulsions that can accompany transitions to a new political order.
At time, the conflicts arise along the fault lines of race or tribe. And often they arise from the difficulties of reconciling tradition and faith with the diversity and interdependence of the modern world. In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they’re willing to tolerate freedom for others.
That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.
It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well — for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.
I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. And the answer is enshrined in our laws: Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.
Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. As President of our country and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day — (laughter) — and I will always defend their right to do so. (Applause.)
Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities.
We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech — the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.
Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech. We recognize that. But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how do we respond?
And on this we must agree: There is no speech that justifies mindless violence. (Applause.) There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There’s no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There’s no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.
In this modern world with modern technologies, for us to respond in that way to hateful speech empowers any individual who engages in such speech to create chaos around the world. We empower the worst of us if that’s how we respond.
More broadly, the events of the last two weeks also speak to the need for all of us to honestly address the tensions between the West and the Arab world that is moving towards democracy.
Now, let me be clear: Just as we cannot solve every problem in the world, the United States has not and will not seek to dictate the outcome of democratic transitions abroad. We do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue, nor do we assume that the violence of the past weeks or the hateful speech by some individuals represent the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims, any more than the views of the people who produced this video represents those of Americans. However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders in all countries to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism. (Applause.)
It is time to marginalize those who — even when not directly resorting to violence — use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel, as the central organizing principle of politics. For that only gives cover, and sometimes makes an excuse, for those who do resort to violence.
That brand of politics — one that pits East against West, and South against North, Muslims against Christians and Hindu and Jews — can’t deliver on the promise of freedom. To the youth, it offers only false hope. Burning an American flag does nothing to provide a child an education. Smashing apart a restaurant does not fill an empty stomach. Attacking an embassy won’t create a single job. That brand of politics only makes it harder to achieve what we must do together: educating our children, and creating the opportunities that they deserve; protecting human rights, and extending democracy’s promise.
Understand America will never retreat from the world. We will bring justice to those who harm our citizens and our friends, and we will stand with our allies. We are willing to partner with countries around the world to deepen ties of trade and investment, and science and technology, energy and development — all efforts that can spark economic growth for all our people and stabilize democratic change.
But such efforts depend on a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect. No government or company, no school or NGO will be confident working in a country where its people are endangered. For partnerships to be effective our citizens must be secure and our efforts must be welcomed.
A politics based only on anger — one based on dividing the world between “us” and “them” — not only sets back international cooperation, it ultimately undermines those who tolerate it. All of us have an interest in standing up to these forces.
Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism. On the same day our civilians were killed in Benghazi, a Turkish police officer was murdered in Istanbul only days before his wedding; more than 10 Yemenis were killed in a car bomb in Sana’a; several Afghan children were mourned by their parents just days after they were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.
The impulse towards intolerance and violence may initially be focused on the West, but over time it cannot be contained. The same impulses toward extremism are used to justify war between Sunni and Shia, between tribes and clans. It leads not to strength and prosperity but to chaos. In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence. And extremists understand this. Because they have nothing to offer to improve the lives of people, violence is their only way to stay relevant. They don’t build; they only destroy.
It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind. On so many issues, we face a choice between the promise of the future, or the prisons of the past. And we cannot afford to get it wrong. We must seize this moment. And America stands ready to work with all who are willing to embrace a better future.
The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt — it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted, “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” The future must not belong to those who bully women — it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons. (Applause.)
The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources — it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs, the workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the women and men that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied. (Applause.)
Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims. It’s time to heed the words of Gandhi: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” (Applause.) Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, that’s the vision we will support.
Among Israelis and Palestinians, the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on a prospect of peace. Let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, those who reject the right of Israel to exist. The road is hard, but the destination is clear — a secure, Jewish state of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine. (Applause.) Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey.
In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people. If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, peaceful protest, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings. And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence.
Together, we must stand with those Syrians who believe in a different vision — a Syria that is united and inclusive, where children don’t need to fear their own government, and all Syrians have a say in how they are governed — Sunnis and Alawites, Kurds and Christians. That’s what America stands for. That is the outcome that we will work for — with sanctions and consequences for those who persecute, and assistance and support for those who work for this common good. Because we believe that the Syrians who embrace this vision will have the strength and the legitimacy to lead.
In Iran, we see where the path of a violent and unaccountable ideology leads. The Iranian people have a remarkable and ancient history, and many Iranians wish to enjoy peace and prosperity alongside their neighbors. But just as it restricts the rights of its own people, the Iranian government continues to prop up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad. Time and again, it has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations.
So let me be clear. America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited. We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace. And make no mistake, a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights. That’s why this institution was established from the rubble of conflict. That is why liberty triumphed over tyranny in the Cold War. And that is the lesson of the last two decades as well.
History shows that peace and progress come to those who make the right choices. Nations in every part of the world have traveled this difficult path. Europe, the bloodiest battlefield of the 20th century, is united, free and at peace. From Brazil to South Africa, from Turkey to South Korea, from India to Indonesia, people of different races, religions, and traditions have lifted millions out of poverty, while respecting the rights of their citizens and meeting their responsibilities as nations.
And it is because of the progress that I’ve witnessed in my own lifetime, the progress that I’ve witnessed after nearly four years as President, that I remain ever hopeful about the world that we live in. The war in Iraq is over. American troops have come home. We’ve begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014. Al Qaeda has been weakened, and Osama bin Laden is no more. Nations have come together to lock down nuclear materials, and America and Russia are reducing our arsenals. We have seen hard choices made — from Naypyidaw to Cairo to Abidjan — to put more power in the hands of citizens.
At a time of economic challenge, the world has come together to broaden prosperity. Through the G20, we have partnered with emerging countries to keep the world on the path of recovery. America has pursued a development agenda that fuels growth and breaks dependency, and worked with African leaders to help them feed their nations. New partnerships have been forged to combat corruption and promote government that is open and transparent, and new commitments have been made through the Equal Futures Partnership to ensure that women and girls can fully participate in politics and pursue opportunity. And later today, I will discuss our efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking.
All these things give me hope. But what gives me the most hope is not the actions of us, not the actions of leaders — it is the people that I’ve seen. The American troops who have risked their lives and sacrificed their limbs for strangers half a world away; the students in Jakarta or Seoul who are eager to use their knowledge to benefit mankind; the faces in a square in Prague or a parliament in Ghana who see democracy giving voice to their aspirations; the young people in the favelas of Rio and the schools of Mumbai whose eyes shine with promise. These men, women, and children of every race and every faith remind me that for every angry mob that gets shown on television, there are billions around the world who share similar hopes and dreams. They tell us that there is a common heartbeat to humanity.
So much attention in our world turns to what divides us. That’s what we see on the news. That’s what consumes our political debates. But when you strip it all away, people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes with faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people — and not the other way around.
The United States of America will always stand up for these aspirations, for our own people and for people all across the world. That was our founding purpose. That is what our history shows. That is what Chris Stevens worked for throughout his life.
And I promise you this: Long after the killers are brought to justice, Chris Stevens’s legacy will live on in the lives that he touched — in the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris; in the signs that read, simply, “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans.”
They should give us hope. They should remind us that so long as we work for it, justice will be done, that history is on our side, and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed.
Thank you very much.”
First Lady Michelle Obama gave an elegantly powerful speech before the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Dinner 22, September. We take a listen to America’s fabulous First Lady.
“First Lady Michelle Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Dinner”
“The Phoenix Dinner is the closing event for the CBC Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, and will honor four individuals for their contributions in addressing challenges facing the African-American community.”
Published on Sep 22, 2012 by whitehouse
“First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) 42nd Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner. September 22, 2012”
“Remarks by the First Lady at the Congressional Black Caucus Gala”
Washington Convention Center
7:33 P.M. EDT
“MRS. OBAMA: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you. It is truly a pleasure and an honor to be here with all of you tonight. Thank you so much for having me.
I want to start by thanking Congressman Cleaver and Shuanise Washington for their outstanding work and for their introduction. I also want to recognize your terrific CBC Foundation President and CEO, Elsie Scott. (Applause.)
And of course, I want to congratulate this year’s Phoenix Award winners — Attorney General Holder, Congresswoman Brown, Mayor Gantt, and George Lucas. Thank you all for your outstanding contributions to our nation, and we look forward to hearing from you all later this evening. (Applause.)
I also want to take a moment to note the passing of a true leader in this caucus, Congressman Donald Payne. (Applause.) Congressman Payne was a distinguished member of Congress, a visionary Chairman of the CBC, and his presence is sorely missed.
And finally, I want to recognize all of the CBC members, past and present, who are with us here tonight. You all are part of a proud tradition, one that dates back not just to the founding of this caucus, but to the beginning of so many improbable journeys to the halls of Congress.
Take Congressman John Lewis, for example. He was the son — (applause.) Yes, indeed. He was the son of sharecroppers. And as a boy, yearning to become a preacher, he gave impassioned sermons to the chickens on his family’s farm. (Laughter.)
And then there’s Congressman Louis Stokes who was raised by a widowed mother in Cleveland’s public housing. (Applause.) He served in the Army during World War II. And although he fought under the same flag, he still had to eat, sleep, and travel separate and apart from his fellow soldiers.
And then there’s Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who almost didn’t make it into this world. When her mother was in labor, the segregated hospital refused to admit her, and they didn’t agree to care for her until hours later, when it was almost too late.
But from so many unlikely places, members of this caucus rose up and lived out their own version of the great American Dream. And that is why they came here to Washington. They came because they were determined to give others that same chance; they were determined to open that doorway of opportunity even wider for those who came after them. They came because they believe that there is no higher calling than serving our country, no more noble a cause than that of our fellow citizens.
Now, this work wasn’t always easy, especially in the early years, when many members of this caucus faced challenges they never could have anticipated. For example, back in the early ’70s, Congressman Ron Dellums was appointed to the Armed Services Committee — (applause) — as was Congresswoman Pat Schroeder. Displeased about having both a woman and an African American assigned to his committee, the chairman at the time added just one seat to the committee room — and he forced the two of them to share it. But Congressman Dellums was unphased. He said to Congresswoman Schroeder, “Let’s not give these guys the luxury of knowing they can get under our skin. Let’s sit here and share this chair as if it’s the most normal thing in the world.” (Laughter.)
Since its earliest days, this caucus has been taking on challenges and leading the way in the urgent work of perfecting our union — fighting for jobs and health care, working to give all our children opportunities worthy of their promise, standing up for the least among us every day, and earning the proud distinction as the “conscience of Congress.” (Applause.)
That is the legacy of this caucus. And that’s also what I want to talk a little bit about tonight. I want to talk about how we carry on that legacy for the next generation and generations to come.
Now, back when our great-grandparents were riding that Underground Railroad, back when John Lewis was marching across that bridge in Selma, and Jim Clyburn was sitting in an Orangeburg jail, the injustices we faced were written in big, bold letters on the face of our laws. And while we may have had our differences over strategy, the battles we needed to fight were very clear.
We knew that to end slavery, we needed a proclamation from our President, an amendment to our Constitution. To end segregation, we needed the Supreme Court to overturn the lie of “separate but equal.” To reach the ballot box, we needed Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.
So we moved forward, and we won those battles. And we made progress that our parents and grandparents could never have dreamed of.
But today, while there are no more “whites only” signs keeping us out, no one barring our children from the schoolhouse door, we know that our journey is far, far from finished. But –(applause) — yes. But in many ways, the path forward for this next generation is far less clear. I mean, what exactly do we do about children who are languishing in crumbling schools? What about kids growing up in neighborhoods where they don’t have opportunities worthy of their dreams? What about the 40 percent of black children who are overweight or obese, or the nearly one in two who are on track to develop diabetes in their lifetimes?
What court case do we bring on their behalf? What laws can be passed to end those wrongs?
You see, today, the connection between our laws and our lives isn’t always as obvious as it was 50 or 150 years ago. And as a result, it’s sometimes easy to assume that the battles in our courts and our legislatures have all been won. It’s tempting to turn our focus solely to what’s going on in our own lives and our own families, and just leave it at that.
And make no mistake about it, change absolutely starts at home. We know that. It starts with each of us taking responsibility for ourselves and our families. Because we know that our kids won’t grow up healthy until our families start eating right and exercising more. That’s on us. (Applause.) We know we won’t close that education gap until we turn off the TV, and supervise that homework, and serve as good role models for our own kids. That’s on us. We know that. (Applause.)
But while we certainly need to start at home, we absolutely cannot stop there. Because as you all know better than just about anyone, our laws still matter. Much like they did 50, 150 years ago, our laws still shape so many aspects of our lives: Whether our kids have clean air and safe streets, or not. Whether we invest in education and job training and truly focus on the urgent challenge of getting folks back to work, or not. Whether our sons and daughters who wear our country’s uniform get the benefits they’ve earned, or not.
See, these are the types of decisions that are made by the folks in our city halls and our state legislatures, by folks in our statehouses, in our Congress, and, yes, in our White House. And who’s responsible for selecting those public servants? Who is ultimately responsible for the decisions they make — or don’t make? We are. That’s our job. As citizens of this great country, that is our most fundamental right, our most solemn obligation — to cast our ballots and have our say in the laws that shape our lives. (Applause.)
Congressman Lewis understood the importance of that right. That’s why he faced down that row of billy clubs on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, risking his life so we could one day cast our ballots. As he put it, “…your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.” (Applause.)
But today, how many of us have asked someone whether they’re going to vote, and they say, no, I’m too busy — and besides, I voted last time; or, nah, it’s not like my vote is going to make a difference? See, after so many folks sacrificed so much so that we could make our voices heard, too many of us still choose not to participate.
But let’s be clear: While we’re tuning out and staying home on Election Day, other folks are tuning in. Other folks are taking politics very seriously. (Applause.) And they’re engaged on every level. They’re raising money. They’re in constant dialogue with elected officials. And understandably, in the face of all of that money and influence, it can start to feel like ordinary voices can’t be heard — like regular folks just can’t get a seat at the table.
But we are here tonight because we know that simply is not true. (Applause.) Time and again, history has shown us that there is nothing — nothing — more powerful than ordinary citizens coming together for a just cause. And I’m not just talking about the big speeches and protests that we all remember. I’m talking about everything that happened between the marches, when the speeches were over and the cameras were off.
I’m talking about the thousands of hours that people like Dr. King and so many of you spent strategizing in cramped offices late at night. I’m talking about the folks in Montgomery who organized carpools and gave thousands of rides to perfect strangers, folks who walked miles on aching feet. I’m talking about the volunteers who set up drinking fountains and first aid stations on the Washington Mall, who made 80,000 bag lunches for folks who marched on that August day.
I am talking about the tireless, thankless, relentless work of making change — (applause) — you know, that phone-calling, letter-writing, door-knocking, meeting-planning kind of work. (Applause.) That is the real work of democracy — what happens during those quiet moments between the marches.
And that is how we carry on that precious legacy we’ve inherited — by recommitting ourselves to that day-to-day work that has always paved the way for change in this country.
So that means being informed. It means following the news, learning about who’s representing us and how our government works. Even more important, it means showing up to vote — and not just every four years, but every year, in every election. (Applause.)
As the great Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm once said, “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines…” Active and passionate citizen engagement is at the core of our democracy — that’s the whole point. It is the first three words of the Preamble to our Constitution: “We the people.” And over the past two centuries, so many righteous men and women toiled and bled and sacrificed so that every last one of us could be included in that “we.” (Applause.) And today, we owe it not just to ourselves, but to them, to exercise the rights they fought and died for.
So when it comes to casting our ballots, it cannot just be “we the people” who had time to spare on Election Day. Can’t just be “we the people” who really care about politics, or “we the people” who happened to drive by a polling place on the way home from work. It must be all of us. That is our birthright — as citizens of this great nation. (Applause.) That fundamental promise that we all get a say in our democracy, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like — yeah, or who we love.
So we cannot let anyone discourage us from casting our ballots. We cannot let anyone make us feel unwelcome in the voting booth. It is up to us to make sure that in every election, every voice is heard and every vote is counted.
And that means making sure our laws preserve that right. It means monitoring the polls to ensure that every eligible voter can exercise that right. (Applause.)
And make no mistake about it, this is the march of our time — marching door to door, registering people to vote. Marching everyone you know to the polls every single election. See, this is the sit-in of our day — sitting in a phone bank, sitting in your living room, calling everyone you know — (applause) — your friends, your neighbors, that nephew you haven’t seen in a while, that classmate you haven’t spoken to in years — making sure they all know how to register, where to vote — every year, in every election.
This is the movement of our era — protecting that fundamental right not just for this election, but for the next generation and generations to come. Because in the end, it’s not just about who wins, or who loses, or who we vote for on Election Day. It’s about who we are as Americans. It’s about the democracy we want to leave for our kids and grandkids. It’s about doing everything we can to carry on the legacy that is our inheritance not just as African Americans, but as Americans — as citizens of the greatest country on Earth. (Applause.)
Now, as you all know very well, continuing to uphold our legacy requires constant and sustained struggle and hard work. It requires never-ending patience and determination. But here’s the thing — when you get tired — and you will — when you start to get discouraged — and you will — I just want you to think about the members of this caucus. I want you to think about Congressman Dellums sitting cheek to cheek with Congresswoman Schroeder — (laughter) — debating and legislating like he owned the place.
I want you to think about Congressman Stokes and how he went from a soldier in a segregated army to a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, overseeing funding to support veterans across this country. (Applause.)
And finally, I want you to think about a photo that hangs in the West Wing of the White House. Some of you may have seen it. It’s a picture of a young black family visiting the President in the Oval Office. The father was a member of the White House staff, and he’d brought his wife and two young sons to meet my husband. In the photo, Barack is bent over at the waist. And one of the sons — a little boy, just about five years old — is reaching out his tiny little hand to touch my husband’s head.
And it turns out that upon meeting Barack, this little boy gazed up at him longingly and he said, “I want to know if my hair is just like yours.” And Barack replied, “Why don’t you touch it and see for yourself?” (Applause.) So he bent way down so the little boy could feel his hair. And after touching my husband’s head, the little boy exclaimed, “Yes, it does feel the same!” (Laughter and applause.)
Now, every couple of weeks, the White House photographers change out all the photos in the West Wing — except for that one. That one — and that one alone — has hung on that wall for more than three years.
So if you ever wonder whether change is possible, I want you to think about that little black boy in the office — the Oval Office of the White House — touching the head of the first black President. (Applause.)
And as we mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, I want you to remember that the house they were standing in — the house my family has the privilege of living in — that house was built in part by slaves. (Applause.) But today, see, the beauty is children walk through that house and pass by that photo and they think nothing of it, because that’s all they’ve every known. Understand this — they have grown up taking for granted that an African American can be President of the United States of America. Now, isn’t that part of the great American story? Isn’t it? (Applause.)
It is the story of continuous, breathtaking progress from one generation to the next. It’s the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle. (Applause.) It’s the story of men and women who said to themselves, I might not fulfill my dreams, but if I march, if I stand strong on this bridge, if I endure another night in this jail cell , then maybe my children will fulfill their dreams, maybe my grandchildren will.
It is the story found in Scripture, in the verse in Hebrews that says, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them in the distance…”
So through all the many heartbreaks and trials, all of you, and so many who came before you, you have kept the faith. You could only see that promised land from a distance, but you never let it out of your sight. And today, if we are once again willing to work for it, if we’re once again willing to sacrifice for it, then I know — I know — that we can carry on that legacy. I know that we can meet our obligation to continue that struggle. And I know that we can finish the journey we started and finally fulfill the promise of our democracy for all our children.
Thank you. God bless.”
There he goes again. It’s RomneyWorld!
In Romneyworld, a 14% tax rate is fair! In RomneyWorld you can flip, flop, lie, say one thing publicly, say another privately (MotherJones.com bombshell secret video), give no details about your policies, and expect Americans to blindly trust what you say, literally say anything to get elected, & change what you say by the hour or the day.
RomneyWorld… NO THANKS!
“Mitt Romney’s Idea of Tax Fairness”
Published on Sep 25, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom
“Mitt Romney has a strange take on tax fairness. Romney’s plan would cut taxes even more for himself—and raise them on the middle class.”
RomneyWorld on healthcare.
Gov. Romney is the initiator of “ObamaCare” in Massachusetts, providing universal health care to the people of Massachusetts. But in Romneyworld things change… rapidly, and now he says screw you Americans (again) go to emergency rooms and get over charged, and under served for your health care needs.
Wow, RomneyWorld. NO THANKS.
“Romney prefers to Bankrupt people over Healthcare – CBS, “60 Minutes””
Published on Sep 24, 2012 by Romney MrEtchASketch
“Romney said anyone can go to an emergency room. Duhh? CLUELESS Yes, and they can go Bankrupt because they have no insurance & Counties/States are going Bankrupt because people don’t have health insurance.
What a blithering idiot.
From CBS, “60 Minutes” 9/23″
More on RomneyWorld! IDECLAIR IT! MUST READS!
“Romney’s Family Trust Invested in Chinese Oil Company”
“Why the Poor Pay Far More than Romney”
What is up with the replacement Refs at the NFL? Can you say union busting, & lower wages?
“Seahawks Defeat Packers, 14-12: Disputed Replacement Referees’ Call Results In Golden Tate TD (VIDEO, PHOTOS)”
“Worst Call Ever? Greenbay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks Game Monday Night Football 9/24/2012”
Published on Sep 24, 2012 by JurassicSkittles
“Golden Tate Touchdown Bad Call Monday Night Football Seattle Seahawks vs Green Bay Packers 2012 NFL Replacement Referees questionable call
Monday Night Football on ESPN 9/24/12 September 24th 2012
Melvin Delaine Jennings should have been credited with an interception.”
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