This is a call to all those who support the progressive platform that John Edwards pushed throughout the primary season. Even if you currently support another candidate actively, this is a call to you. And even if you are just unable to support anyone but John, this is a call to you. And even if you never actively supported John Edwards but you admired the stands he took on issues, there is something you can do.
Now, I’ve spoken to both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. They have both pledged to me and more importantly through me to America, that they will make ending poverty central to their campaign for the presidency.
And more importantly, they have pledged to me that as President of the United States they will make ending poverty and economic inequality central to their Presidency. This is the cause of my life and I now have their commitment to engage in this cause.
We need to help John hold them accountable and the way we can do that is use our voice, just as John has shown us, that we can speak out. Whatever issue was important to you, take that issue and contact the other two remaining candidates and demand they not only address it but that they promise to keep their pledge to John.
Hillary Clinton for President
4420 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203
Barack Obama for President
To reach the Campaign Headquarters by phone, please call: (866) 675-2008
You can contact us by mail at:
Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680
I’m sure this is something that goes without saying, but be kind and respectful when talking about these issues with the people you call. We are all Democrats (well many of us here) and this is not about the partisan infighting, this is about holding our party and our candidates accountable for what we believe the Democratic Party should stand for.
There will be no talking points and no script, just speak from your heart and let them know that these issues matter to you as a Democrat and as an American and that we demand that our candadites speak to all these issues.
It is a revolutionary world we live in. Governments repress their people; and millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich; and wealth is lavished on armaments.
For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked for us.
The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American society.
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy went on a poverty tour in 1968, forty years ago this month. “Kennedy’s purpose in touring eastern Kentucky was to examine the outcomes of the first wave of “war on poverty” legislation with the people it most affected.” But what people remembered most about this tour was the fact that Robert spent so much time with individuals talking about their issues and struggles. Robert make this part of his run for President and his reason for running also reminds me of John, “I do not run for the Presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I’m obliged to do all I can.”
Kennedy stood on a ticket of racial and economic justice, non-aggression in foreign policy, decentralization of power and social improvement. A crucial element to his campaign was an engagement with the young, whom he identified as being the future of a reinvigorated American society based on partnership and equality.
Kennedy’s policy objectives did not sit well with the business world, in which he was viewed as something of a fiscal liability, opposed to the tax increases necessary to fund such programs of social improvement. When verbally attacked at a speech he gave during his tour of the universities he was asked, “And who’s going to pay for all this, senator?”, to which Kennedy replied with typical candor, “You are.” It was this intense and frank mode of dialogue with which Kennedy was to continue to engage those whom he viewed as not being traditional allies of Democrat ideals or initiatives.
Kennedy made urban poverty a chief concern of his campaign, which in part led to enormous crowds that would attend his events in poor urban areas or rural parts of Appalachia.
A hatip to LaEscapee for the following piece, it draws parallels between John Edwards and Robert F. Kennedy by using their won words. It is also the reason I included John’s speech at the DNC meeting in February ’07.
And this is a plea to all those who never supported Edwards, I ask that you too read these or listen to the clip of John’s speech and try to understand why so many of us feel that John’s voice must be kept in the debate even if he is not officially a candidate. This is not a call for votes nor a plea for anyone to change their minds. This is merely another means to inspire you to remember why you call yourself a Demcorat and that we are all in this together, that we all have to speak out for these issues even if we do not agree on how they should be solved.
The following are clips from John Edwards speech during the DNC Winter Meeting and it’s amazing, just amazing. I want you to look at these if you haven’t or even if you have so that you can see how Edwards stayed on message for an entire year and that he spoke to these issues with such passion and clarity.
We have to remember what brought us to Edwards, that he doesn’t just speak about why he needs to be President, but why we need to be the Party that we used to be. We have to push the party to remember its roots and to remember who we stand for, it’s so important and that is why these issues go beyond John Edwards, but througout the heart of this party and the Country. The only thing the last eight years have proven to us is that Republicans could give a rats ass about the everyday American. They are the party of the Corporate hand outs and the endless wars.
And, the full text of this speech. Why do I think this is important? Because it was clear from the beginning that Edwards was talking about change for the Democratic Party and for our Country! I also think this speech clearly shows where John was the first candidate of “change”. He used the phrase “transformational change” in February of 2007 and he used the same phrase up to the very end his campaign was active in this race.
February 2, 2007
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re all here together Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but why are we here?
Why are we here?
We are here because somewhere in America an eight-year old girl goes to sleep hungry, a little girl who ought to be drawing pictures and learning multiplication cries herself to sleep, praying that her father, who has been out of work for two years, will get a job again. It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to be that way.
We are here because somewhere in America, a hotel housekeeper walks a picket line with her union brothers and sisters fighting for decent health care benefits during the day and works the late-shift at a diner at night so that she and her family can live a decent life and so her boy can go to college and have choices she never had. And somewhere a young man folds a college acceptance letter and puts it in his drawer because even with his part-time job and his motherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second job, he knows he cannot afford to go. It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to be that way.
We are here because somewhere in America a mother wipes her hand on a dishcloth to go answer a knock on her door … and opens it to find an army chaplain and an officer standing there with solemn faces and her boyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name Ã¢â‚¬â€œ her patriotic son who enlisted after September 11 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ on their lips. It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to be that way.
We are here because somewhere in the world, a 5-year old boy in a refugee camp is bending under the weight of his 2-year old sister. His family massacred, he carries his remaining sister everywhere, and sleeps with his arms wrapped tightly around her, knowing that tomorrow he will have to do the same thing, and again the next day and the day after that because she is all the family he has now. It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to be that way.
We are here because somewhere in America a father comes home from the second shift and feels a raging fever on the brow of his sleeping daughter as he kisses her goodnight. And now, bone-weary and worried, he cradles that child in his arms at the emergency room, because there is nowhere else for him to go. It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to be that way.
They are why we are here. Because everywhere in America, people are counting on us to stand up for them.
And so I ask you, will you stand up for that tired father forced into emergency rooms to get health care for his little girl?
Will you stand up for the brave young boy in the refugee camp?
Will you stand up for the working men and women in our labor movement who have to fight for decent working conditions and living wages?
Will you stand up for the young man who knows that education is his way out of the cycle of poverty and yet it seems beyond his grasp?
Will you stand up for that hungry eight-year old girl so she doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give up on her life before itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s even begun?
Will you stand up for all the American families whose loved ones are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Will you stand up?
Will you stand up for America?
Because if we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stand up, who will?
If we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t speak out, who will?
Forty years ago, speaking in protest against the war in Vietnam on the eve of its escalation, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King said there comes a time when silence is betrayal. Silence is betrayal.
That time has come again. We cannot stand silent.
They have to hear you. Can they hear you?
I believe it is a betrayal not to speak out against the escalation of the war our nation is engaged in today, in Iraq.
It is a betrayal for this President to send more troops into harmÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s way when we know it will not succeed in bringing stability to the region.
And it is not right by our silence to enable this President to escalate the war in Iraq. And we must not delude ourselves: our silence enables this President to escalate the war.
It is a betrayal not to stop the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plan when we have the responsibility, the power and the actual tools to prevent it.
Being satisfied with non-binding resolutions we know this President will ignore is a betrayal. And shutting down debate in the Senate on this issue is worse than a betrayal. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an outright denial of the peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s will.
And one more thing, while IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m at it.
You described yourself as “the decider.” I have news for you. The American people are the real “deciders,” Mr. President. And they are saying, “You have had your chance.”
Americans are speaking out. And our leaders must do no less.
You must stand up now against George BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s escalation of the war in Iraq. George Bush is counting on us not to stand up, not to fight against this escalation with everything we have. George Bush is counting on a Democratic Party that will not press for what we know is right.
Silence is betrayal.
Opposing this escalation with all the vigor and tools we have is a test of our political courage. And youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d better believe that George Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove are betting that we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have that courage.
They donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think we have it in us. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re counting on their opponents to be weak, and political, and careful.
This is not the time for political calculation. This is the time for political courage. Stand up.
Being honest and changing course in Iraq is the first step in restoring AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ability to provide moral leadership throughout the world. And make no mistake: America must lead. We are the pre-eminent, stabilizing power in the world. If we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stand up, who will?
This is the time for political courage Ã¢â‚¬â€œ not only when it comes to speaking out against Iraq, but also about the challenges we face here at home.
Because, when it comes to 37 million Americans living in poverty, silence is betrayal.
One in every five children Ã¢â‚¬â€œ count them, one in every five American children Ã¢â‚¬â€œ live in poverty, here on the richest nation on the planet. It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to be that way.
The causes of poverty are complex, entrenched, and powerful. And our will to address them and restore the promises of equality and social justice must be just as strong. Are you strong enough? Will you stand up to end poverty in America? It means addressing education, jobs, health care, housing, predatory lending, and personal responsibility. The fight will be long and it will not be easy. Are you ready? Will you use your voice against poverty, or will you stand silent? Stand up. Stand up to eradicate poverty in America.
When it comes to 47 million Americans without health care, silence is betrayal.
The 47 million are silent victims of a health care system gone wrong, where policies are driven by profits not patient care. We have to stop letting the health insurance companies and the big pharmaceutical concerns decide our nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s health care policy. We have to give the silent victims, who stand in line at free clinics and use the expired medicines of friends and neighbors, we have to give them the dignity of universal health care.
And while weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re at it, we have to stop using words like Ã¢â‚¬Å“access to health careÃ¢â‚¬Â when we know with certainty those words mean something less than universal care. Who are you willing to leave behind without the care he needs? Which family? Which child?
We need a truly universal solution, and we need it now.
Will you stand up for universal health insurance in America?
And itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time we stood up for an energy policy thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not dictated by the profit margins of Big Oil — and an environmental policy thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not promoted by or regulated by polluters. Today, not tomorrow, or in the next decade or in the next generation. Today, our planet is at risk, and here, again, silence is betrayal.
So, will you speak out? Will you stand up?
These are the great moral imperatives of our time. And by breaking the silence we are not breaking faith with our flag or our forefathers or our brave young men and women in uniform. We are keeping faith with America.
Because we are better than this. We are better than this.
We should be the bright light, the beacon for all the world.
We are not the country of the Superdome in New Orleans after Katrina;
We are not the country of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo;
We are not the country of secret surveillance and government behind closed doors.
We are Americans, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re better than that.
And we are Democrats, the party of action Ã¢â‚¬â€œ not reaction. We are Democrats, the party of principle Ã¢â‚¬â€œ not appeasement. The time for half-measures, empty promises, and sweet rhetoric is gone. Now is the time for courage, decisiveness and moral leadership.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time to stand up for the promise of America again — and for the principle that every American matters, no matter where you come from, or what color your skin is, or how much money you have in your pocket.
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stand up for the working people whose labor made this country great. America was built by men and women who worked with their hands. And organized labor has fought for and made better the lives of every working man and woman, by giving them a voice Ã¢â‚¬â€œ labor never stands silent where wrongs need to be righted. Will you stand with them? It is time we acknowledged that it is organized labor, which has protected the American worker against mistreatment by corporate America. I am proud to stand beside organized labor? Will you stand with them, too? Will you walk with them and march with them?
We know one thing for sure: it is time to be patriotic about something other than war. It is time to do what you know is right and to speak out against what you know is wrong.
Not tomorrow. Now. Speak out now, take action now.
We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to wait to see if someone keeps the promises of a 2008 campaign. In fact, the transformational change this country needs cannot wait until January 2009.
Tomorrow begins today. And our obligation to act starts right here, right now.
Because somewhere in America, because everywhere in America, people are counting on us to stand by them and to fight alongside them for what we know in our hearts is right.
So letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stand up together. We have always been the party of promise who stood with the working man and woman, the party of hope who stood with the needy, the party of compassion who stood with the young and the old and the frail. It is who we are.
In times like these, we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to redefine the Democratic Party; we need to reclaim the Democratic Party.
Thank you, God bless you and God bless this great country.
And for those who doubt that John Edwards has given us a call to arms, all you need to do is read from his speech in New Orleans, just one week ago from today and you can see that he was addressing something more than just his Presidential Campaign, but to the very heart of this party and the fight to reclaim this Country for the right reasons.
I began my presidential campaign here (New Orleans) to remind the country that we, as citizens and as a government, have a moral responsibility to each other, and what we do together matters. We must do better, if we want to live up to the great promise of this country that we all love so much.
All of you who have been involved in this campaign and this movement for change and this cause, we need you. It is in our hour of need that your country needs you. Don’t turn away, because we have not just a city of New Orleans to rebuild. We have an American house to rebuild.
This work goes on. It goes on right here in Musicians’ Village. There are homes to build here, and in neighborhoods all along the Gulf. The work goes on for the students in crumbling schools just yearning for a chance to get ahead. It goes on for day care workers, for steel workers risking their lives in cities all across this country. And the work goes on for two hundred thousand men and women who wore the uniform of the United States of America, proud veterans, who go to sleep every night under bridges, or in shelters, or on grates, just as the people we saw on the way here today. Their cause is our cause.
Their struggle is our struggle. Their dreams are our dreams.
Do not turn away from these great struggles before us. Do not give up on the causes that we have fought for. Do not walk away from what’s possible, because it’s time for all of us, all of us together, to make the two Americas one.
Thank you. God bless you, and let’s go to work. Thank you all very much.
So, I ask you, what do you chose to do? I will end with this amazing quote from John that was pointed out to me by NCDemAmy. It’s from Four Trials, which I actually read last year and it’s perfect for the occasion.
I have learned two great lessons–that there will always be heartache and
struggle, and that people of strong will can make a difference. One is a
sad lesson; the other is inspiring. I choose to to be inspired.
I’m asking you, because your candidate is out of the race, are you going to chose to be sad and do nothing, or are you going to chose to be inspired? And for those of you who never supported John, are you going to continue to be angry at those who don’t support your candidate now or are you going to chose to be inspired by their passion and their ideals? Are you going to help your candidate woo them by addressing these very real issues rather than bullying and delcaring that a vote for John is a vote that is lost.
Nothing was lost by supporting John Edwards and so much was gained for this party and can still be gained for all of us who want to keep this message alive and well in 2008 and beyond.
You can be disappointed, but you can’t walk away.
John Edwards – November 2nd, Election Night, Front of Kerry supporters gathered in Boston.