Remembering Ann Richards
It is amazing how valid Ann Richards's keynote address to the 1988 Democratic National Convention is today concerning the Cheney Misadministration and Boy King George as it was 18 years ago about the Reagan Misadministration and the asshole father of an idiot:
This Republican Administration treats us as if we were pieces of a puzzle that can’t fit together. They've tried to put us into compartments and separate us from each other. Their political theory is “divide and conquer.” They’ve suggested time and time again that what is of interest to one group of Americans is not of interest to any one else. We’ve been isolated. We’ve been lumped into that sad phraseology called “special interests.” They’ve told farmers that they were selfish, that they would drive up food prices if they asked the government to intervene on behalf of the family farm, and we watched farms go on the auction block while we bought food from foreign countries. Well, that’s wrong!
They told working mothers it’s all their fault -- their families are falling apart because they had to go to work to keep their kids in jeans and tennis shoes and college. And they’re wrong!! They told American labor they were trying to ruin free enterprise by asking for 60 days’ notice of plant closings, and that’s wrong. And they told the auto industry and the steel industry and the timber industry and the oil industry, companies being threatened by foreign products flooding this country, that you’re "protectionist" if you think the government should enforce our trade laws. And that is wrong. When they belittle us for demanding clean air and clean water for trying to save the oceans and the ozone layer, that’s wrong.
No wonder we feel isolated and confused. We want answers and their answer is that "something is wrong with you." Well nothing's wrong with you. Nothing’s wrong with you that you can’t fix in November!
We’ve been told -- We’ve been told that the interests of the South and the Southwest are not the same interests as the North and the Northeast. They pit one group against the other. They've divided this country and in our isolation we think government isn’t gonna help us, and we're alone in our feelings. We feel forgotten. Well, the fact is that we are not an isolated piece of their puzzle. We are one nation. We are the United States of America.
Now we Democrats believe that America is still the county of fair play, that we can come out of a small town or a poor neighborhood and have the same chance as anyone else; and it doesn’t matter whether we are black or Hispanic or disabled or a women [sic]. We believe that America is a country where small business owners must succeed, because they are the bedrock, backbone of our economy.
We believe that our kids deserve good daycare and public schools. We believe our kids deserve public schools where students can learn and teachers can teach. And we wanna believe that our parents will have a good retirement and that we will too. We Democrats believe that social security is a pact that can not be broken.
We wanna believe that we can live out our lives without the terrible fear that an illness is going to bankrupt us and our children. We Democrats believe that America can overcome any problem, including the dreaded disease called AIDS. We believe that America is still a country where there is more to life than just a constant struggle for money. And we believe that America must have leaders who show us that our struggles amount to something and contribute to something larger -- leaders who want us to be all that we can be.
We want leaders like Jesse Jackson. Jesse Jackson is a leader and a teacher who can open our hearts and open our minds and stir our very souls. And he has taught us that we are as good as our capacity for caring, caring about the drug problem, caring about crime, caring about education, and caring about each other.
Now, in contrast, the greatest nation of the free world has had a leader for eight straight years that has pretended that he can not hear our questions over the noise of the helicopters. And we know he doesn’t wanna answer. But we have a lot of questions. And when we get our questions asked, or there is a leak, or an investigation the only answer we get is, “I don’t know,” or “I forgot.”
But you wouldn’t accept that answer from your children. I wouldn’t. Don’t tell me “you don’t know” or “you forgot.” We're not going to have the America that we want until we elect leaders who are gonna tell the truth; not most days but every day; leaders who don’t forget what they don’t want to remember. And for eight straight years George Bush hasn’t displayed the slightest interest in anything we care about. And now that he's after a job that he can’t get appointed to, he's like Columbus discovering America. He’s found child care. He’s found education. Poor George. He can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.
Well, no wonder. No wonder we can’t figure it out. Because the leadership of this nation is telling us one thing on TV and doing something entirely different. They tell us -- They tell us that they're fighting a war against terrorists. And then we find out that the White House is selling arms to the Ayatollah. They -- They tell us that they’re fighting a war on drugs and then people come on TV and testify that the CIA and the DEA and the FBI knew they were flying drugs into America all along. And they’re negotiating with a dictator who is shoveling cocaine into this country like crazy. I guess that’s their Central American strategy.
Now they tell us that employment rates are great, and that they’re for equal opportunity. But we know it takes two paychecks to make ends meet today, when it used to take one. And the opportunity they’re so proud of is low-wage, dead-end jobs. And there is no major city in America where you cannot see homeless men sitting in parking lots holding signs that say, “I will work for food.”
Now my friends, we really are at a crucial point in American history. Under this Administration we have devoted our resources into making this country a military colossus. But we’ve let our economic lines of defense fall into disrepair. The debt of this nation is greater than it has ever been in our history. We fought a world war on less debt than the Republicans have built up in the last eight years. You know, it’s kind of like that brother-in-law who drives a flashy new car, but he’s always borrowing money from you to make the payments.
Well, but let’s take what they are most proudest of -- that is their stand of defense. We Democrats are committed to a strong America, and, quite frankly, when our leaders say to us, "We need a new weapons system," our inclination is to say, “Well, they must be right.” But when we pay billions for planes that won’t fly, billions for tanks that won’t fire, and billions for systems that won’t work, "that old dog won’t hunt." And you don’t have to be from Waco to know that when the Pentagon makes crooks rich and doesn’t make America strong, that it’s a bum deal.