March 9, 2004
John Kerry's Democratic Convention Speech Exclusively on BuzzFlash.com! Not! But a Speech One of Our Readers Would Like Him to Deliver.
BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
These are words that I would love to hear from John Kerry as he accepts the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States:
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My fellow Americans,
You have probably heard quite a few denigrating comments about me from the opposing side, talking about my being "weak on defense." Yes, the Bush attack machine is calling me a "Massachusetts liberal."
Well, Mr. Bush, let me tell you and the American people what being a Massachusetts liberal means to me.
First, take a look at history. The Republicans are trying to paint their party as strong on defense. Let us review that claim.
Over the past 100 years, the United States has won two major world wars. The first was led by Woodrow Wilson, a New Jersey liberal. The second was led by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a New York liberal. These two liberals led the American military and its Allies to stunning victories in each war.
Then when the Cold War took place after Harry S. Truman, a Missouri liberal, forced the Soviet Union against the wall with his actions at the end of WWII, the greatest victory of the Cold War took place. That occurred in 1962 when another Massachusetts liberal, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, brought the Soviet Union to its knees in the Cuban Missile Crisis. That action placed a crack in the Communist wall, and it led to the fall of Nikita Khrushchev, the rise of Perestroika, and ultimately to the fall of the Communist system of government in the Soviet Union.
Yes, my fellow Democrats, that is what liberals have done for the national security of our country.
Now, for the sake of comparison, how many wars have the Republicans won? Grenada? Gee, a veritable military superpower. Panama? Do they even have a military?
Some may say the first Gulf War. But if your father won the first Gulf War, Mr. Bush, why did we have to go back there 12 years later? You tried to repudiate your father and his administration with your attack of Iraq in 2003.
As all Americans know by now, we did not have to return to Iraq. The sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War worked, as the failure to find any Weapons of Mass Destruction or any nuclear weapons have demonstrated.
The truth is that the Republicans have yet to win a war of any significance. proportions, and yet they criticize me for voting against a defense bill that would have allowed us to spend billions -- or trillions -- on "Star Wars."
Would Star Wars have protected us from 9/11 or from any terrorist attack? Of course not. What it will do is line the pockets of the Republicans with money from the defense contractors who see dollar signs in their future.
Does Halliburton ring a bell?
However, I will also tell the Republicans what a Massachusetts liberal will do. Once our veterans return from war, liberals will take care of them. The Republicans love to talk about the sacrifice of the veterans, but then the Bush Administration treats them like dirt from a third-world country when they return to the United States, all so the wealthiest taxpayers can have their tax cuts.
Yes, my fellow Democrats, liberals take care of our veterans. For example, look at what Harry Truman, that liberal from Missouri, did after World War II. He convinced Congress to set up the GI Bill. This legislation allowed millions of Americans to attend college who would never have been able to earn a degree or contribute to society at the level at which they did without it. That is liberalism at its best -- taking care of our citizens.
Now, we have our veterans returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan, unable to find medical care for their injuries or other maladies. In fact, the Bush administration is attempting to gut the VA system, another liberal concept, by cutting its funds so that it will wither on the vine. Let me tell you what this good liberal will do.
I will respect our veterans, whether they fought in WWII, Vietnam, the first Gulf War -- or whether they did not fight at all but just served in our military, unlike most of the civilians in the Bush Defense Department or on the National Security Council.
I am going to do this by working to build another liberal concept, first envisioned by Harry Truman -- national health care for every American. The veterans will have the same medical coverage that every member of Congress does. The Republicans have talked about this, but the reality is that they do not want to do anything that will help our veterans.
Now, moving to domestic matters, let us take a look at what liberals have done for America in the past century. For a historical perspective, think back to the 1920s.
In 1920, a major change occurred that was pushed through Congress by liberals: the women's right to vote. Yes, Mr. Bush, that was a liberal concept, and we are proud that we were able to work with Susan Anthony and all of those suffragettes to provide that right for women.
Then in the 1920s, the government was led by two conservative Republicans, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Historians rate them as two of the worst presidents in American history.
Why? The only thing that they did was provide tax cut upon tax cut upon tax cut. Then by 1929, the economy was in disarray and the Stock Market crashed, leading to the worst period of destitution in American history -- all because of Republican greed and mismanagement. During that time, 25 percent of the people were out of work -- all because the Republicans wanted to give the Americans tax cuts.
Does that sound eerily familiar?
The president in office at the time of the crash, Herbert Hoover, did what most conservatives would do in a similar situation: nothing. Even the poor veterans from World War I had to go to Washington and camp out on the Mall, hoping that the government would help them find a job or give them some money to live. "Hoovervilles," they called those villages.
Finally, the country turned to FDR, the liberal who steered the country through the most difficult period in American history. Change took time, but FDR eventually passed the most sweeping change, one that provides for people even today: Social Security. Yes, that, and Medicare, which was an idea of Harry Truman that Republicans opposed until Lyndon B. Johnson passed it as part of his "Great Society," another liberal concept.
However, FDR did more than that, one of the reasons that he is listed as one of the top two or three presidents in American history. He started the WPA, which gave people jobs building roads and bridges throughout the country, helping the local communities while also teaching the people a trade.
However, let me talk about another program devised by Truman, the greatest humanitarian program in American history. Realizing that Europe was decimated after World War II, Truman proposed and implemented the Marshall Plan. This gave billions of dollars of aid to our Allies, helping them get back on our feet.
This led to tremendous relationships with our Allies. However, what has this administration done?
It has thumbed its noses on our Allies, even denigrating them by calling them "Old Europe." It was this coalition of America and our Allies that won the Cold War after participating the devastating battles of WWII. Yet this arrogant administration has destroyed those alliances to fight a war that our allies knew did not have to be fought.
Of course, most of the members of this administration know little about fighting war. Ask Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Ashcroft -- in addition to Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert -- where they were when their country needed them in war.
However, let me remind you of some other liberal programs: Civil Rights, giving the right of Blacks to vote and be treated equally in society. Yes, Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, but the Republican Part turned its back on them until the Democrats joined with Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1960s. Liberals have passed legislation for public education, including the Head Start program. Liberals are also responsible for passing legislation that gives college student Pell Grants and student loans. We have also helped the mentally-challenged and were the first to set the minimum wage, to pass child labor laws, and to work for an eight-hour work day. We worked hard so that employers provided health care and retirement for their workers.
Let me finish on this note: Republicans are attempting to paint Democrats and liberals as marginal people, in favor of gay rights and abortion.
Well, I have a comment to make to them. As a Roman Catholic, one of the commandments that I must follow on my Christian list is "Thou Shalt Not Kill." In fact, liberals stand up for human rights, for human life.
Now, while Republicans call themselves "Pro-Life," they sent our forces to fight an illegal war, one that is unjust under the standards of my church and that of most Christian denominations. That war has resulted in the death of more than 10,000 civilians, many of them mothers and children. That, Mr. Bush, is murder, under the definition in my Bible. The truth is that the "Pro-Life" mantle is an egregious attempt at deception. Does this mean that the lives of innocent Iraqis count less than does a fetus that cannot live outside the womb? Or that the life of a Caucasian is more valuable than one of a person who is Black or Brown?
Yes, the action in Iraq of this administration and its neocons amounts to murder, and there is not other way to categorize it.
As a liberal, I will stand up for human life, regardless of the color, gender preference, ethnicity, or income bracket from which they come.
So, now, after all of that, I must tell Mr. Bush, his party, and the American people, "I am damn proud to be a Massachusetts liberal!" because that means I am a pro-democracy patriot.
The first shots of our American Revolution were fired not far from Boston -- and once again we are fighting for democracy.
I am proud to lead this party of Patriots forward and to lead this great nation in 2005.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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