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"They work every day"

From Jesse Jackson's speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. It brought tears to my eyes then, and it still does today:

Leadership must meet the moral challenge of its day. What's the moral challenge of our day? We have public accommodations. We have the right to vote. We have open housing. What's the fundamental challenge of our day? It is to end economic violence. Plant closings without notice -- economic violence. Even the greedy do not profit long from greed -- economic violence.

Most poor people are not lazy. They are not black. They are not brown. They are mostly White and female and young. But whether White, Black or Brown, a hungry baby's belly turned inside out is the same color -- color it pain; color it hurt; color it agony.

Most poor people are not on welfare. Some of them are illiterate and can't read the want-ad sections. And when they can, they can't find a job that matches the address. They work hard everyday.

I know. I live amongst them. I'm one of them. I know they work. I'm a witness. They catch the early bus. They work every day.

They raise other people's children. They work everyday.

They clean the streets. They work everyday. They drive dangerous cabs. They work everyday. They change the beds you slept in in these hotels last night and can't get a union contract. They work everyday.

No, no, they are not lazy! Someone must defend them because it's right, and they cannot speak for themselves. They work in hospitals. I know they do. They wipe the bodies of those who are sick with fever and pain. They empty their bedpans. They clean out their commodes. No job is beneath them, and yet when they get sick they cannot lie in the bed they made up every day. America, that is not right. We are a better Nation than that. We are a better Nation than that.

Obama? Not even close.

You've got to have some sort of moral core to make a speech like that.

What was a burning fire for justice with Jackson time is an ember, with Hillary. But with Obama? Chilly, cold ashes. Harry & Louise ads. "Cling to."

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amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

: >

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

the AA community supports him so deeply. He's always blaming them for feeding their kids Popeye's chicken. This demonstrated to me that Obama really has no clue what's going on in the lower class communities.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

for supporting an AA candidate.

But I wouldn't be surprised if they stopped supporting this one.

------------------------------------------------
Real ponies don't oink - Patrick McManus

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

That is fried chicken to die for!

Spicy, with "dirty rice"

Screw that Colonel dude.

------------------------------------------------
Real ponies don't oink - Patrick McManus

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

I'll die happy

------------------------------------------------
Real ponies don't oink - Patrick McManus

trishb's picture
Submitted by trishb on

This is the other passage I found especially inspiring, much more inspiring than a vague unity pony, though it does speak to unity:

Common ground. America is not a blanket woven from one thread, one color, one cloth. When I was a child growing up in Greenville, South Carolina and grandmamma could not afford a blanket, she didn't complain and we did not freeze. Instead she took pieces of old cloth -- patches, wool, silk, gabardine, crockersack -- only patches, barely good enough to wipe off your shoes with. But they didn't stay that way very long. With sturdy hands and a strong cord, she sewed them together into a quilt, a thing of beauty and power and culture. Now, Democrats, we must build such a quilt.

Farmers, you seek fair prices and you are right -- but you cannot stand alone. Your patch is not big enough.

Workers, you fight for fair wages, you are right -- but your patch labor is not big enough.

Women, you seek comparable worth and pay equity, you are right -- but your patch is not big enough.

Women, mothers, who seek Head Start, and day care and prenatal care on the front side of life, relevant jail care and welfare on the back side of life, you are right -- but your patch is not big enough.

Students, you seek scholarships, you are right -- but your patch is not big enough.

Blacks and Hispanics, when we fight for civil rights, we are right -- but our patch is not big enough.

Gays and lesbians, when you fight against discrimination and a cure for AIDS, you are right -- but your patch is not big enough.

Conservatives and progressives, when you fight for what you believe, right wing, left wing, hawk, dove, you are right from your point of view, but your point of view is not enough.

But don't despair. Be as wise as my grandmamma. Pull the patches and the pieces together, bound by a common thread. When we form a great quilt of unity and common ground, we'll have the power to bring about health care and housing and jobs and education and hope to our Nation.

We, the people, can win.

What an absolutely beautiful way to speak of these matters. What I find truly sad is that I had forgotten this speech over the years despite how it moved me at the time.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and the type of speech Obama seems unable to give--Muskie on the politics of fear vs. politics of trust-- http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tappe...

" ... They imply that Democratic candidates for high office in Texas and California, in Illinois and Tennessee, in Utah and Maryland, and among my New England neighborods from Vermont and Connecticut, men who have courageously pursued their convictions in the service of the republic in war and peace, that these men actually favor violence and champion the wrongdoer.

That is a lie. And the American people know it is a lie.

What what are we to think when men in positions of public trust openly declare:

-That the party of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, which led us out of depression and to victory over international barbarism;

-The party of John Kennedy, who was slain in the service of the country he inspired;

-The party of Lyndon Johnson, who wishstood the fury of countless demonstrations in order to pursue a course he believed in;

-The party of Robert Kennedy, murdered on the eve of his greatest triumphs;

How dare they tell us that this party is less devoted or less courageous in maintaining American principles and values then they are themselves.

This is nonsense. And we all know it is nonsense.

...

There are only the politics of fear and the politics of trust.

One says: You are encircled by monstrous dangers. Give us power over your freedom that we may protect you.

The other says: The world is a baffling and hazardous place, but it can be shaped by the will of men. ..."