Jackson: Stay Out The Bushes
The long arm of justice reaches neither for the political
left nor the political right, but for the moral center. Vanity
asks the question, Is it popular? Politics asks the question,
Will it work? Can I win?
Morality and conscience ask the question, Is it right? In
the end, if it is morally right, politics and popularity has
to adjust to the unyielding power of the moral center.
There was a left and right in slavery but no moral center,
a left and a right in denying women the right to vote but
no moral center.
Tonight we gather here in Los Angeles, home to dream makers
who entice the world, but also home of the janitors and sanitary
workers who clean up your world. Los Angeles, home of a handful
of America's richest people and hundreds of America's poorest
This Democratic convention is set in that great divide between
Beverly Hills and South Central, between the dream makers
and dream breakers. And we commit ourselves today to make
America better, to stand with the janitors who had to strike
to get a dollar more an hour, to stand with the hotel workers
who work every day but don't get health care. We are on your
Two weeks ago, in Philadelphia, the nation was treated to
a staged show - smoke, mirrors, hired acts the Republicans
called inclusion. That was the inclusion illusion.
In Philadelphia diversity ended on that stage. They could
not mention the words "Africa," "Appalachia" or "AIDS" once.
So it's good to be in Los Angeles, to look over this great
assembly and see the real deal, the quilt with many patches
that is America. There are 1,000 union workers here, a thousand
African Americans, 1,000 Latinos and Asian Americans. As many
women as men. America's working families are here, headed
by a Southern Baptist and an Orthodox Jew. This is America's
dream team, the Democratic Party.
In this diversity is our strength. Mr. Bush stood with Jefferson
Davis and the Confederate flag in South Carolina and Abe Lincoln
and the American flag in Baltimore, but Mr. Gore and Lieberman
can say: One America, one flag.
Last week, when Al Gore chose Joe Lieberman as his running
mate, he stood up for justice. He appealed to the best in
America. In selecting Joe Lieberman, Al Gore has brought the
sons and daughters of slaves and slave master together with
the sons and daughters of Holocaust survivors, women fighting
for self-determination, workers fighting for wage security
Al Gore has raised the moral chin bar. When a barrier falls
to one of the locked out, it opens doors for all.
I've devoted much of my life striving to bring light to dark
places. Four decades ago, on July 17, 1960, I was jailed with
several of my classmates, trying to use a library in Greenville,
South Carolina. On July 17, 1984, I addressed you in San Francisco.
We've come a long way. We are making America better.
I know something about the tides of change. I moved with
it when the tide was coming in, and labored against it when
it was flowing out. I've seen enough and done enough to know
when the moment is right for history to be made again.
My fellow Americans, we face such a moment today. This is
a moment pregnant with possibility, a moment that we have
waited for more than a generation to come our way. Remember
the dream of Dr. King, the dream of genuine economic opportunity
for all. It has been deferred for too long, deferred by the
assassination of Dr. King, by the Vietnam War, by the Cold
War, by stagnant deficits Our imaginations have been shackled.
Now, America has no global military rival, deficits that become
surpluses, promises to keep.
This economy has enjoyed record growth, but America's working
families are still struggling to get by. Jobs are plentiful,
but less secure. Wages are up but haven't made up ground lost
over the last 25 years.
Forty-five million Americans have no health insurance. They're
one illness away from bankruptcy. We cannot rest until every
American is covered with health insurance. In the midst of
great wealth, one in five children still grow up in poverty.
It's a moral disgrace we cannot accept. A coal miner dies
every six hours from black lung disease.
In Mud Creek, Kentucky; in Hazzard, in Nelsonville, Ohio,
in Big Stone Gap, children live in trailers and go to school
Think of Appalachia and remember most poor people are not
on welfare, they work every day. They do their heavy lifting.
They take the early bus. They work the late shift. Most poor
people are neither brown nor black. They're white. They're
female. They're young. They're invisible. But they're all
Let's have a one big tent America.
On this November, there'll be two teams on the field, two
plans and two directions. On the right side, the Republican
team is trying to change its uniform colors to blur the differences.
But don't be fooled. Just look at the team.
It's not just Bush and Cheney, but the grizzled old veterans
such as Jesse Helms, and Dick Armey, and Tom DeLay, and Bob
Barr, and Strom Thurmond, and Trent Lott, and Pat Robertson,
and Ralph Reed. This grizzly old team wants to take the surplus
and give it away in tax breaks to benefit those who already
are wealthy just to pay for their party.
But then, there's another team, the team of Gore and Lieberman,
and Gephardt, and Bonior, and Daschle, and Wellstone, and
Jackson, Jr., and Charlie Rendell, and John Lewis, and Jim
Clyburn, Luis Gutierrez, Velasquez, Sanchez, Wu. This is the
They want to use the surplus to bolster Medicare, their prescription
drug benefit. The question is clear. What shall we do with
How shall we make America better? Bush and Cheney says give
it to those who are already doing just fine. The Gore-Lieberman
team says that money should make America stronger. That's
our choice. George W. says, tell us, we should look into his
heart. But whatever is in his heart, the question is what
is in his budget.
He says, "Leave no one behind." But this contest
is not about race or religion, it's about resource distribution
and budget priorities.
It's about the airport security workers who have no health
insurance. It's about cooks at schools. It's about farm workers.
It's about chicken plant workers who get carpal syndrome bending
their wrists. It's about cab drivers, hotel maids. It's about
janitors. This land is our land. It's our land.
George Bush says - George Bush says, don't mess with Texas.
That's fair. I just left Houston where I visited a children's
In Texas, 1.5 million children live in poverty. Ten percent
of the nation's poor, 500,000, are eligible for the Children's
Health Insurance Program but can't get it because of bureaucracy.
Six hundred thousand eligible for Medicare but they can't
Don't mess with Texas. Last in children's health care, last
in environmental protection, third worst state to raise a
child, the fourth worst drop-out rate, and 38th in teacher's
salary. Don't mess with Texas any more. Don't mess with New
York and California. Don't mess with Illinois.
Don't mess with America.
Don't mess with America.
Let us go forward.
We cannot duck the challenge of making the global economy
work for working people, or fair trade, protecting labor rights
and the environment so we lift wages at home and abroad, not
just drive them down at home.
We affirm protest. We must make room for protesters and turn
their idealism and creative energy into progress; build on
their tradition. In 1960, public accommodations was a protest;
in '64 it was a law. In '64, the right to vote was a protest;
in '65 it was a law.
In '88, affirming PLO and Israel talking was a protest; today
it is law. Free Mandela was a protest; today it is law.
We must fight for protest and progress to make America better.
We must fight to include all Americans. We can not keep fighting
a failed war on drugs; it must be a war against drug addiction.
We can't keep spending more on prisons than on colleges.
When Governor Ryan of Illinois can - says because those who
are dying are mostly black, brown, poor, don't have a lawyer,
mistaken identity or wrongful convictions, we must not risk
killing innocent people. There must be a moratorium on the
death penalty until there is fairness for everybody.
As I close my friends, one thing I'm convince of, within
our party we can fight for the right to do what's right. We
can change. We can challenge. We can agree to disagree. We
can agree to be agreeable. But we're a family.
When I look at these two teams and these two choices, Papa
Bush gave us Clarence Thomas.
Baby Bush gave us an end to affirmative action and women's
right for self-determination in Florida. George W. will not
stand for hate crime legislation. I say, America, stay out
the Bushes. Stay out the Bushes. Stay out the Bushes. Stay
out the Bushes. Stay out.
My brothers and my sisters, your vote counts. And you count,
and you matter. In 1960, Kennedy beat Nixon by 112,000 votes,
less than one vote per precinct. Every vote counts. In 1960,
we won by the margin of our hope. In '68, Dr. King was killed,
Robert Kennedy killed, explosion in Chicago, we were in despair,
we lost to Nixon by 500,000 votes. We lost by despair.
In '76, again, we came together. Carter beat Ford by 1.7
million. Every vote counts, and everybody counts.
One vote decided that America would speak English rather
than German in 1776. One vote kept Aaron Burr, later charged
with treason, from becoming our president. One vote made Texas
part of the United States of America in 1845. One vote changed
France from a monarchy to a republic. One vote has the power
to change our course.
And so tonight, I say, America, if we don't have a prosperity
deficit disorder, there's more with Gore, more health care
with Gore, more education with Gore, more health with Gore,
more wages with Gore, more freedom with Gore, more strength
with Gore, more security with Gore, more prosperity with Gore,
it's more and Gore.
It's more and Gore. Keep hope alive. Keep hope alive. Keep
hope alive. Louder.