Monday, October 29, 2007

John Edwards speech passes MY morals test

Consider this a forwarded email.

Click for Full Text: Speech by Senator John Edwards, St. Anselm's College, Manchester, New Hampshire, October 29, 2007

Here are a few snips:
.... I am not holier than thou. I am not perfect by any means. But there are events in life that you learn from, and which remind you what this is really all about. Maybe I have been freed from the system and the fear that holds back politicians because I have learned there are much more important things in life than winning elections at the cost of selling your soul. Especially right now, when our country requires so much more of us, and needs to hear the truth from its leaders. Although I have spent my entire life taking on the big powerful interests and winning -- which is why I have never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists or political action committees -- I too have been guilty of my own silence -- but no more. It's time to tell the truth. And the truth is the system in Washington is corrupt. It is rigged by the powerful special interests to benefit they very few at the expense of the many. And as a result, the American people have lost faith in our broken system in Washington, and believe it no longer works for ordinary Americans. They're right.

As I look across the political landscape of both parties today -- what I see are politicians too afraid to tell the truth -- good people caught in a bad system that overwhelms their good intentions and requires them to chase millions of dollars in campaign contributions in order to perpetuate their careers and continue their climb to higher office. This presidential campaign is a perfect example of how our politics is awash with money. I have raised more money up to this point than any Democratic candidate raised last time in the presidential campaign -- $30 million. And, I did it without taking a dime from any Washington lobbyist or any special interest PAC. I saw the chase for campaign money at any cost by the frontrunner in this race -- and I did not join it -- because the cost to our nation and our children is not worth the hollow victory of any candidate. Being called president while powerful interests really run things is not the same as being free to lead this nation as president of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

In every instance we see an American people who are good, decent, compassionate and undeterred. And, American people who are better than the government that is supposed to serve and represent them. And what has happened to the American "can do" spirit? I will tell you what has happened: all of this is the result of the bitter poisoned fruit of corruption and the bankruptcy of our political leadership.

It is not an accident that the government of the United States cannot function on behalf of its people, because it is no longer our people's government -- and we the people know it. This corruption did not begin yesterday -- and it did not even begin with George Bush -- it has been building for decades -- until it now threatens literally the life of our democracy.

And in Iraq -- while our nation's brave sons and daughters put their lives on the line for our country -- we now have mercenaries under their own law while their bosses sit at home raking in millions. We have squandered millions on building Olympic size swimming pools and buildings that have never been used. We have weapons and ammunition unaccounted for that may now be being used against our own soldiers. We literally have billions wasted or misspent -- while our troops and their families continue to sacrifice. And the politically connected lobby for more. What's their great sacrifice -- higher profits?

This is not the America I believe in. The hubris of greed knows no bounds. Days after the homeland security bill passed, staffers from the homeland security department resigned and became homeland security consultants trying to cash in. And, where was the outrage? There was none, because that's how it works in Washington now. It is not a Republican revolving door or a Democratic revolving door -- it is just the way it's done. Someone called it a government reconnaissance mission to figure out how to get rich when you leave the government.

The long slow slide of our democracy into the corporate abyss continues unabated regardless of party, regardless of the best interests of America. We have a duty -- a duty to end this. I believe you cannot be for change and take money from the lobbyists who prevent change. You cannot take on the entrenched interests in Washington if you choose to defend the broken system. It will not work. And I believe that, if Americans have a choice, and candidate who takes their money -- Democrat or Republican -- will lose this election.

There is a dream that is America. It is what makes us American. And I will not stand by while that dream is at risk. I am not perfect -- far from it -- but I do understand that this is not a political issue -- it is the moral test of our generation. Our nation's founders knew that this moment would come -- that at some point the power of greed and its influence over officials in our government might strain and threaten the very America they hoped would last as an ideal in the minds of all people, and as a beacon of hope for all time. That is why they made the people sovereign. And this is why it is your responsibility to redeem the promise of America for our children and their future. It will not be easy -- sacrifice will be required of us -- but it was never easy for our ancestors, and their sacrifices were far greater than any that will fall on our shoulders. Yet, the responsibility is ours. We, you and I, are the guardians of what America is and what it will be.

The choice is ours. Down one path, we trade corporate Democrats for corporate Republicans; our cronies for their cronies; one political dynasty for another dynasty; and all we are left with is a Democratic version of the Republican corruption machine. It is the easier path. It is the path of the status quo. But, it is a path that perpetuates a corrupt system that has not only failed to deliver the change the American people demand, but has divided America into two -- one America for the very greedy, and one America for everybody else.

I carry the promise of America in my heart, where my parents placed it. Like them, like you, I believe in people, hard work, and the sacred obligation of each generation to the next. This is our time now. It falls to us to redeem our democracy, reclaim our government and relight the promise of America for our children. Let us blaze a new path together, grounded in the values from which America was forged, still reaching toward the greatness of our ideals. We can do it. We can cast aside the bankrupt ways of Washington and replace them with the timeless values of the American people. We can liberate our government from the shackles of corporate money that bind it to corporate will, and restore the voices of our people to its halls.

This is the cause of my life. This is the cause of our time. Join me. Together, we cannot fail. We will keep faith with those who have gone before us, strong and proud in the knowledge that we too rose up to guard the promise of America in our day, and that, because we did, America's best days still lie ahead.

.... [snipped from John Edwards 08 "The Moral Test of Our Generation"]


Fran said...

That is a heckofa speech. But at the risk of having an unpopular view, that thing I have a hard time with is the fact that Edwards wife has incurable cancer. If my spouse or family member had incurable cancer, I would put my focus and time on my family. Presidential campaigns are demanding, expensive and exhaustive. I would want to savor what time in life is left together, and make it be quality time, to the best of my ability.
Edwards talks the "everyman" talk, but he's an uberwealthy attorney who gets $500 haircuts.
The morals test goes south for me, when this major family matter surfaces. A part of me wants to scream- go be with your wife-- she is dying!!!

*One other note: My old eyes had a really hard time reading the fine print of the speech- and I am wearing prescription bifocals!

D.K. Raed said...

Fran, sorry about the fine print. That's why I also linked it. I do understand the cancer quandry, and although their choice would not have been mine, I respect their decision & commitment to trying to make a difference. Elizabeth has stated many times that continuing with the campaign was really her decision.

As far as Edwards' wealth, well I never held it against JFK or RFK or FDR, so I won't hold it against him as long as he is hitting the social issues in a similar manner.

The early primaries are really key. If he can't make a dent in the Hillary machine at the starting gate, his campaign is over anyway.

Thank you so much for stating your views honestly! Dialogue is very important even when (maybe especially when) you disagree. I do see your points & know they are all valid & heartfelt. BTW, I'm not a rabid Edwards campaigner, but out of the top 3 Dems, I do feel most aligned with him. In the debates, I find myself agreeing with Kucinich most often & am disappointed that his campaign is stuck in lower left field. And I have yet to see any viable 3rd party candidate, have you?

Fran said...

I like the Senator from Illinois- Barack Obama. What appeals to me about him is the fact he is a Constitutional Scholar. Taught Constitutional Law @ the college level. Being a political science major, he also has a strong understanding of other government systems, which I think could only be a positive on the diplomatic relations front. If Bush was the face of experience, than a non entrenched "inexperienced" candidate sounds both appealing & refreshing to me. I also like that he has opposed the war from the beginning. He has spine.
But I also hear people debating- if the US is ready for either a woman or black president. A conversation I can't even believe is happening in the 21st century. Have the White guys in ties done that good a job, that we want to continue down that path?

I agree, that Kuchinich makes the most sense, and the media dismissal, coupled with the required stereotype profile of a president, dooms his candidacy. It's a shame.

It's way too early to pick & choose. I really think the key right now, for we the people is to make sure we have a verifiable, auditable voting process.
If the vote counting process is tainted & tampered with, all these other debates, and actions are a sideshow, negated by corrupted vote counting.

Richard said...

(off topic)

D.K., thanks so much for your kind words over at my place at this saddest of times. It is so appreciated. really.

D.K. Raed said...

Fran, my dream dem ticket might be: Obama/Edwards, or Edwards/Obama ... I wouldn't care who was on top ... but I bet Edwards wouldn't take veep again. You know if you combine their two poll numbers, they could mount a serious Hillary challenge. (sigh)

Richard, I know how it goes. You wish you could just wave a magic wand. If only ...

D.K. Raed said...

See you all in a few days. Scroll down to my "Zion Bound" post to see why. Hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween bonfire!

proudprogressive said...

right on ! check out liberallymirth and and me as well - we are getting behind Edwards. Lets shock the shit out of Hillary. And a contributor from notes Blueheart has some interesting results in the comments on LM..she did a multi county Cali Dem Cacuas straw poll and even with Kucinich Palo Alto EDWARDS won it !!

debates tonight ..we need unity now..the primaries are upon us.

Anon-Paranoid said...

My choices are not going to make it. They are Kucinich for the Democrats or Ron Paul for the Republicans.

Paul may not be the most liberal of the Repugs, however he stands up for the Constitution like Kucinich does.

It looks like I may have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Trouble is I will still have to vote for evil like many of us who refuse to have another RFN in the Peoples House.

God Bless.

Gryphen said...

Edwards is looking better and better everyday.

If he and Obama would combine their forces I believe we would finally get the government that we deserve.

Pursey Tuttweiler said...

You can change the font size on the blog. Write to me when you get back and I can help. It will really help your blog.

I can tell you this, my mother has that same cancer, and the treatments are horrendous, but she lives her life the best she can and that is the best thing for her. I think that cancer patients have to decide what is best for them and the Edwards family made this choice together. Elizabeth Edwards says she is not dying any more than any one else, and she should know, she has cancer and has lost a child, she knows death and loss.

I am going to join this bandwagon after watching the debates last night. Edwards and Obama exchanged glances, I think they are teaming up. Obama would make an excellent VP. You know, you have to be proud that Edwards joined in the fray after Kerry let him and the nation down so much by conceding before the final votes were tallied.

D.K. Raed said...


Thank you all for commenting, even though I was out of town! It was so nice to come back home & read that people really do care who is nominated, that we haven't all been steam-rolled over by Hillary (yet). I DVR'd the Dem Debates & just watched them. I do wish Edwards & Obama would team up.


I do think bloggers that care have a real role to play in the prez nomination. Even though I'm not a full-time blogger, I'm thinking of devoting at least one post per week to highlight an aspect of the campaign that isn't resonating with the MSM. To me, that means John Edwards, but I would encourage everyone to follow through with their ideas of which candidate or issue isn't getting coverage. There can't be enough voices or light shed on this election.


One thing we can do is put plenty of pressure on whoever is eventually nominated, to hear & hopefully incorporate good ideas into their candidacy platform. If we are still to have a democracy, everyone needs to speak out. No more silent majorities!


proudprogressive said...

anon paranoid, i love and would want the U turn Kucinich would give this country ...but reality (and i do think it is over rated) gives me a couple of alturnatives. Vote, don't vote. Vote for someone who will get slaughered in a general - and likely not win even a state primary (sorry but do he math) I am a big fan of hope but hope will not snag a Dennis are a few differences oh yes , with Edewards and Dennis..But of all of the cnadidates. bottom line Edwards is the closest to him in so far as heart and populist views and respect for the Constitution. Yes he has baggage..comes with the territory of being involved in politics..his thinking however is honest and shows integrity ..And as a retired sociali worker myself - his commmittment to the poor , to poverty and ameliorating it for all the people , the working poor is deep and sincere. In short the guy has heart and integrity. And can admit refershing ! I was amazed when i viewed his speeches and youtubes. He is talking Turke. (yaya me i stayed on topic)

libhom said...

I think people are forgetting how right wing Edwards was in the Senate and during his 2004 campaign.

I remember in 2004 just how strongly he supported the Iraq war and the Unpatriotic Act.

He is saying some great things now, but how can we have even the slightest bit of confidence that he actually means them?

proudprogressive said...

see my latest comment under my blog Edwards thread for my response. My skepticism is great too. Does he mean them..funny how campaign promises or platforms fall by the wayside. (more on my spot in the blogoverse) lets keep it real. If we don't we only fool ourselves. Reality is a good place to start. Hope you enjoy the lastest post too. Its truly where my heart is. Oh we got 3 open seats in NM so my temporary switch back to dem may come in handy here as well. But believe me while i am all for hope - i do not have the poms poms out yet for anyone on that dem stage - and do see the empire as a runaway train. Speed bumps to slow it down are few and far between. Edwards could be one. Big Maybe. I agree with you libhom.

D.K. Raed said...

Libhom & PProg:
How do we EVER know if a politician means what s/he says? I guess we find out eventually, sometimes quite drastically (remember "compassionate conservative"?). As far as Edwards' senate record, recall he was a one-term senator representing people from a conservative southern state. I think he has since addressed criticism of his senate record adequately without demeaning his constituency.

When Edwards ran for prez '04, he published his "platform" which addressed social issues that he felt we as a nation have a responsibility to provide for all our citizens. After he teamed up with Kerry, who started off running on his military experience & ended up being swift-boated, Edwards' social views were shunted to the back-seat in order for the Dems to provide a safe,secure iraq alt to bush/cheney. I don't hold it against him that he projected a more war whorish image back then. That SEEMED to be a winning strategy. I noticed almost the minute he accepted VP candidacy, his whole demeanor changed as he deferred to the top banana.

But in judging his true core, I look back to his private record. As an atty, he took on some major fatcats that had harmed people in various ways. Yes, he was paid handsomely for his successes, but I don't forget that he WAS successful in prevailing against corporations that had harmed people & who didn't think they should have to pay for it. Today, I believe his efforts for Katrina & Darfur have changed him in the same way that RFK was forever changed by reaching out & confronting real poverty in america.

I also note the core he returns to as a campaigner: the social issues of providing health care, excellent public education, economic trade fairness, the lifting of all citizens toward prosperity & etc. Note that his position on these issues has earned him the "far extreme left" designation by the repukes. That just fills my heart with hope.

I do think the progressive thinkers are a diverse group & while we may not see eye-to-eye on every subject (which is only one of the things I love about us), for this election, we simply have to maintain the overall goal of wrestling back our country. Right now, I see Edwards as the best Hillary challenger & thus am supporting his primary efforts.