The American Dream is Under Siege at
Text of Bill
I am honored to be
here tonight to support Barack Obama. And to warm up the
crowd for Joe Biden, though as you'll soon see, he
doesn't need any help from me. I love Joe Biden, and
America will too.
What a year we
Democrats have had. The primary began with an all-star
line up and came down to two remarkable Americans locked
in a hard fought contest to the very end. The campaign
generated so much heat it increased global warming.
In the end, my
candidate didn't win. But I'm very proud of the campaign
she ran: she never quit on the people she stood up for,
on the changes she pushed for, on the future she wants
for all our children. And I'm grateful for the chance
Chelsea and I had to tell Americans about the person we
know and love.
I'm not so grateful
for the chance to speak in the wake of her magnificent
address last night. But I'll do my best. Hillary told us
in no uncertain terms that she'll do everything she can
to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us.
Actually that makes
18 million of us—because, like Hillary, I want all of
you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in
Here's why. Our
nation is in trouble on two fronts: The American Dream
is under siege at home, and America's leadership in the
world has been weakened.
Middle class and
low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes
declining; job losses, poverty and inequality rising;
mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing;
health care coverage disappearing; and a big spike in
the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.
Our position in the
world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and
too little cooperation; a perilous dependence on
imported oil; a refusal to lead on global warming; a
growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign
lenders; a severely burdened military; a backsliding on
global non-proliferation and arms control agreements;
and a failure to consistently use the power of
diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin
America to Central and Eastern Europe.
Clearly, the job of
the next President is to rebuild the American Dream and
restore America's standing in the world.
learned in my eight years as President and in the work
I've done since, in America and across the globe, has
convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.
He has a remarkable
ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally
us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and
curiosity every successful President needs. His policies
on the economy, taxes, health care and energy are far
superior to the Republican alternatives. He has shown a
clear grasp of our foreign policy and national security
challenges, and a firm commitment to repair our badly
strained military. His family heritage and life
experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our
increasingly diverse nation and to restore our
leadership in an ever more interdependent world.
The long, hard
primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first
presidential decision, the selection of a running mate,
he hit it out of the park. With Joe Biden's experience
and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama's proven
understanding, insight, and good instincts, America will
have the national security leadership we need.
Barack Obama is
ready to lead America and restore American leadership in
the world. Ready to preserve, protect, and defend the
Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready
to be President of the United States.
He will work for an
America with more partners and fewer adversaries. He
will rebuild our frayed alliances and revitalize the
international institutions which help to share the costs
of the world's problems and to leverage our power and
influence. He will put us back in the forefront of the
world's fight to reduce nuclear, chemical, and
biological weapons and to stop global warming. He will
continue and enhance our nation's global leadership in
an area in which I am deeply involved, the fight against
AIDS, TB and malaria, including a renewal of the battle
against HIV/AIDS here at home.
He will choose
diplomacy first and military force as a last resort. But
in a world troubled by terror; by trafficking in
weapons, drugs and people; by human rights abuses; by
other threats to our security, our interests, and our
values, when he cannot convert adversaries into
partners, he will stand up to them.
Barack Obama also
will not allow the world's problems to obscure its
opportunities. Everywhere, in rich and poor countries
alike, hardworking people need good jobs; secure,
affordable healthcare, food, and energy; quality
education for their children; and economically
beneficial ways to fight global warming. These
challenges cry out for American ideas and American
innovation. When Barack Obama unleashes them, America
will save lives, win new allies, open new markets, and
create new jobs for our people.
Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad
unless we are strong at home. People the world
over have always been more impressed by the power of our
example than by the example of our power.
Look at the example
the Republicans have set: American workers have given us
consistently rising productivity. They've worked harder
and produced more. What did they get in return?
Declining wages, less
than one-fourth as many new jobs as in the previous
eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits,
rising poverty and the biggest increase in income
inequality since the 1920s.
American families by
the millions are struggling with soaring health care
costs and declining coverage. I will never forget the
parents of children with autism and other severe
conditions who told me on the campaign trail that they
couldn't afford health care and couldn't qualify their
kids for Medicaid unless they quit work or got a
Are these the family
values the Republicans are so proud of? What about the
military families pushed to the breaking point by
unprecedented multiple deployments? What about the
assault on science and the defense of torture? What
about the war on unions and the unlimited favors for the
well connected? What about Katrina and cronyism?
America can do better
than that. And Barack Obama will. But first we have to
The choice is clear.
The Republicans will nominate a good man who served our
country heroically and suffered terribly in Vietnam. He
loves our country every bit as much as we all do. As a
Senator, he has shown his independence on several
But on the two great
questions of this election, how to rebuild the American
Dream and how to restore America's leadership in the
world, he still embraces the extreme philosophy which
has defined his party for more than 25 years, a
philosophy we never had a real chance to see in action
until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control
of both the White House and Congress. Then we saw what
would happen to America if the policies they had talked
about for decades were implemented.
They took us from
record surpluses to an exploding national debt; from
over 22 million new jobs down to five million; from an
increase in working family incomes of $7,500 to a
decline of more than $2,000; from almost 8 million
Americans moving out of poverty to more than five and a
half million falling into poverty—and
millions more losing their health insurance.
Now, in spite of all
the evidence, their candidate is promising more of the
same: More tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that
will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken
the economy. More band-aids for health care that will
enrich insurance companies, impoverish families and
increase the number of uninsured. More going it alone in
the world, instead of building the shared
responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to
advance our security and restore our influence.
They actually want us
to reward them for the last eight years by giving them
four more. Let's send them a message that will echo from
the Rockies all across America: Thanks, but no thanks.
In this case, the third time is not the charm.
My fellow Democrats,
sixteen years ago, you gave me the profound honor to
lead our party to victory and to lead our nation to a
new era of peace and broadly shared prosperity.
prevailed in a campaign in which the Republicans said I
was too young and too inexperienced to be
Commander-in-Chief. Sound familiar? It didn't work in
1992, because we were on the right side of history. And
it won't work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the
right side of history.
His life is a 21st Century
incarnation of the American Dream. His
achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward
the "more perfect union" of our founders' dreams. The
values of freedom and equal opportunity which have given
him his historic chance will drive him as president to
give all Americans, regardless of race, religion,
gender, sexual orientation or disability, their chance
to build a decent life, and to show our humanity, as
well as our strength, to the world.
We see that humanity,
that strength, and our future in Barack and Michelle
Obama and their beautiful children. We see them
reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his wife
Jill, a dedicated teacher, and their family.
Barack Obama will
lead us away from division and fear of the last eight
years back to unity and hope. If, like me, you still
believe America must always be a place called Hope, then
join Hillary, Chelsea and me in making Senator Barack
Obama the next President of the United States.
Bill Clinton DNC Speech
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Salvage the Bones
A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—
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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
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The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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Ancient African Nations
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If you like this page consider making a donation
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Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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posted 29 August 2008