Thursday, January 13, 2005

Ted Kennedy: Calling for Revitalized American Dream

Senator Ted Kennedy delivered a superb, uplifting speech yesterday, speaking out as respected longtime lion of the Democratic Party, to the National Press Club. (Thank God for the hardworking Senator Kennedy. Without him, the Democratic Party apparently would have neither leader nor spokesman at present.)

You can find the all-encompassing speech here at Common Dreams. Here's an excerpt from the ending....

"Finally, and by no means least, our actions in the wider world must reflect our values at home as well. The true American spirit and the basic generosity of the American people were never more in evidence than in the spontaneous outpouring of support by millions of our fellow citizens for the victims of the deadly tsunami that caused such tragedy and devastation across South Asia.

We are a compassionate and caring people, and in times like this, we are never separated by borders or oceans or politics or faith. The people of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and other suffering nations are our brothers and sisters.

Sustained action by America and other nations will be essential in the ongoing mission of reconstruction and rehabilitation. The people of South Asia need our help now and they need our long term support - and so do other peoples struggling desperately to deal with overwhelming poverty and disease.

Their nations can be our friends - or be the breeding ground of our enemies....

America is strongest in the world when we use our superpower status to join with other nations to achieve great goals, instead of bullying them to salute us. More than ever, our strength today depends on pursuing our purposes in cooperation with others, not in ways that anger them, or ignore them, or condescend to them.

As Franklin Roosevelt said of America in 1945, 'We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of nations far away. . . . We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.'

If only President Bush would heed those words. Our fragile planet is not a Republican or Democratic or American community. It is a world community, and we forget that truth at our very, very great peril.

So I look forward to this year and the years ahead with full awareness of the great challenges facing our country, but with full confidence as well in our ability to renew our Democratic Party to successfully meet them, and persuade America that we are right. I welcome the opportunity and the obligation to debate our values and our vision.

A new American majority is ready to respond to our call for a revitalized American dream - grounded firmly in our Constitution and in the endless adventure of lifting this nation to ever new heights of discovery, prosperity, progress, and service to all our people and to all humanity.

We as Democrats may be in the minority in Congress, but we speak for the majority of Americans. If we summon the courage and determination to take our stand and state it clearly, I'm convinced the battles that lie ahead will yield our greatest victories. "

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