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Democratic Convention Day 2, Part Two

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Democratic Convention Day 2, Part Two

The proceedings at the Pepsi Center began at 3pm, and the first speaker to the podium was Ted Sorenson, Special Counsel, advisor and speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy. In the first line of his speech he very politely calls the Bush Administration liars.

The theme for the day was Renewing America’s Promise, and the early speakers were chosen to reflect the inclusiveness of the Democratic Party, be it towards people of many different ethnicities, or the differently abled, like the blind Governor of New York, the Hon. David Paterson, who began his speech by cutting short the prolonged standing ovation he received with the words: “Thank you. My time is up.”

Below are transcripts of the speeches of Ted Sorenson and Dr. David Gipp, President of the United Tribes Technical College. And finally, Dennis Kucinich’s “Wake Up, America!” speech.

::Ted Sorenson::

In my more than 50 years of Democratic Conventions, this is one of the most important, for our 8-year national nightmare of mendacity, mediocrity, and economic misery with millions of Americans losing their jobs, their homes, their hopes, and their savings will be soon be over when Barack Obama becomes President of the United States.

I have long dreamed that our party would produce another President matching John Kennedy’s intellect and integrity, his compassion, his care for all, his capacity to inspire justice at home and peace around the world, and this week my dream is coming true.

Once in a lifetime, the poet said, once in a lifetime hope and history meet in one extraordinary man and movement. I thank the good Lord that I have lived long enough to meet and help such a man twice in my lifetime: John Kennedy and Barack Obama. Kennedy at 43 proved that age makes a difference in the White House. His energy, his appeal to other young world leaders, his calm under pressure, his openness to new thinking served our nation well.

Denounced when he was a candidate for lacking executive experience, he displayed sound judgment in leading a successful nationwide campaign, choosing a top-notch team, negotiating with difficult leaders, and out-organizing and out-thinking his adversaries just as he would as president, particularly when with prudence and courage he induced the Soviets to withdraw their nuclear missiles from Cuba without the United States firing a shot. And the whole world, the whole world, said thanks that the more experienced Richard Nixon had not been elected in that close election.

In 1960, Kennedy—like Obama today—facing a Republican tied to a failed past, looked to the future of new ideas and opportunities. He did not send the Marine Corps to liberate American oil supplies; he sent the Peace Corps to preserve America’s standing abroad. And when the Soviets had a military advantage through their lead in space, he made every American proud by literally reaching to the moon.

Today, we need new leadership. We’ve lost our way. We’ve lost the respect of our allies. We have lost the confidence of our consumers and investors. Are we going to be the first generation to turn our country over to our children in worse shape than we received it? In short:

This year, my friends, the Fates will try us/Erase all trace of fear and bias/We have the man we need at last/To embrace the future, not the past/And dispel eight years of pain and shame:/Barack Obama is his name.

Call the Roll!

::David Gipp::

I’m a Hunkpapa Lakota from the Standing Rock Lakota and Dakota nation. I’m president of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota. And I’m one of thousands of tribal citizens who support Senator Barack Obama for accepting tribal nations and their citizens into the future he sees for America.

We’re not another special interest group trying to claim a share of the American pie. We are, after all, the first Americans. We have claimed our place with land and blood. Our status as tribal sovereign nations is specifically recognized in the U.S. Constitution. Our rights as tribal nations to determine our destiny within our great United States should be protected and honored by our government. Our treaties with the U.S. are the supreme law of the land.

Every step you take across this great nation, every vista you admire, every city you call by its tribal name was once Indian Country. The places many of our tribal nations occupy unfortunately have had long histories of pockets of poverty, where the words “liberty and justice for all” have become empty words on a piece of paper. Our healthcare is a disaster. Our public schools need repair. Our law enforcement officers lack the resources to guarantee safety.

People in the Green Zone in Baghdad may be, indeed, safer than citizens in Indian Country. Yet we have never turned our back on America. Our tribal veterans have served in every one of this nation’s wars and conflicts in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group. We recently honored the late Woodrow Keeble of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Objawe, a hero of the Korean War who received the Medal of Honor. We never forget the sacrifices of our veterans and our elders.

We can only renew America’s promise when the first Americans are legitimate participants in framing the future of this country.

I urge you to look at the nation’s 37 tribal colleges and universities to help lead the way in renewing that promise for American Indians. These institutions provide tribal citizens with the skills they need to be vital contributors to society and to our culture. Tribal colleges are key to the renaissance in American Indian life. As we save our languages and rebuild over 550 tribal nations, American Indians are still here and we’re seeking justice for our people. We offer the strength of our spirituality and our connection with Mother Earth in renewing America’s promise for all. Let us remember the words of the great Lakota patriarch, Sitting Bull: Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.

Thank you. We are all related in every race, creed, and color. We are indeed all related.

::Dennis Kucinich::

Hello fellow Democrats! Are you ready for November? This one’s for you, Stephanie[Tubbs Jones].

Fellow Democrats, let’s go to election day. It’s Election Day 2008 and we Democrats are giving America a wakeup call. Wake up, America! In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors, and the neocon artists seized the economy and added four trillion dollars of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defense, three times more for gasoline and home heating oil, and twice what we paid for healthcare.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their healthcare, their pensions. Trillions of dollars for an unnecessary war paid for with borrowed money. Tens of billions of dollars in cash and weapons disappeared into thin air at the cost of the lives of our troops and innocent Iraqis while All the President’s Oil Men are maneuvering to grab Iraq’s oil. Borrowed money to bomb bridges in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; no money to rebuild bridges in America. Money to start a hot war with Iran. Now we have another Cold War with Russia, and the American economy has become a game of Russian roulette.

Now, if there were an Olympics for misleading, mismanaging, and misappropriating, this administration would take the gold. World records, world records, for violations of national and international law. They want another four-year term to continue to alienate our allies, spend our children’s inheritance, and hollow out the economy. We cannot afford another Republican administration.

Wake up, America! The insurance companies took over healthcare. Wake up, America! The pharmaceutical companies took over drug pricing. Wake up, America! The speculators took over Wall Street. Wake up, America! They want your Social Security. Wake up, America! Multinational corporations took over our trade policies. Factories are closing. Good paying jobs are being lost.

Wake up, America! We went into Iraq for oil. The oil companies want more. War against Iran will mean $10 a gallon gasoline. The Oil Administration, they want to drill more… into your wallet. Wake up, America! Contractors want more. Those war contractors want more. An Iran war will cause five to ten trillion dollars.

This administration can tap our phones; they can’t tap our creative spirit. They can open our mail, but they can’t open economic opportunities. They can track our every move, but they lost track of the economy for the cost of food, gasoline and electricity skyrockets.

They have skillfully played our post-9/11 fears and they’ve allowed the few to profit at the expense of the many. Every day, we get the color orange*, while the oil companies, the insurance companies, the speculators, the war contractors get the color green. Wake up, America!

This is not a call for you to take a new direction from right to left. This is a call for you to go from down to up. Up with the rights of workers! Up with wages! Up with fair trade! Up with creating millions of good paying jobs rebuilding our bridges, our water systems, our sewer systems, our ports! Up with creating millions of sustainable energy jobs to lower the cost of energy, lower carbon emissions and protect the environment! Up with healthcare for all! Up with education for all! Up with home ownership! Up with guaranteed retirement benefits!

Up with peace! Up with prosperity! Up with the Democratic Party! Up with Obama-Biden!

Wake up, America! Wake up, America! Wake up, America!

*Note: In a press release the following day, August 27, the Department of Homeland Security said that the threat level for the nation is now yellow, except for flights where it remains orange.

More from Rosalea Barker at the 2008 Democratic National Convention:



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