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"]