The America George
Bush Has Left Us
Text of Joe Biden
Beau, I love you. I am so proud of
you. Proud of the son you are. Proud of the father
you've become. And I'm so proud of my son Hunter, my
daughter Ashley, and my wife Jill, the only one who
leaves me both breathless and speechless at the same time.
It is an honor to share this stage
tonight with President Clinton. And last night, it was
moving to watch Hillary, one of the great leaders of our
party, a woman who has made history and will continue to
make history: my colleague and my friend, Senator
And I am honored to represent our
first state—my state—Delaware.
Since I've never been called a man
of few words, let me say this as simply as I can: Yes.
Yes, I accept your nomination to run and serve alongside
our next President of the United States of America,
Let me make this pledge to you
right here and now. For every American who is trying to
do the right thing, for all those people in government
who are honoring their pledge to uphold the law and
respect our Constitution, no longer will the eight most
dreaded words in the English language be: "The vice
president's office is on the phone."
Barack Obama and I took very
different journeys to this destination, but we share a
common story. Mine began in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and
then Wilmington, Delaware. With a dad who fell on hard
economic times, but who always told me: "Champ, when you
get knocked down, get up. Get up."
I wish that my dad was here
tonight, but I am so grateful that my mom, Catherine
Eugenia Finnegan Biden, is here. You know, she taught
her children—all the children who flocked to our
house—that you are defined by your sense of honor, and
you are redeemed by your loyalty. She believes bravery
lives in every heart and her expectation is that it will
Failure at some point in everyone's
life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable. As a
child I stuttered, and she lovingly told me it was
because I was so bright I couldn't get the thoughts out
quickly enough. When I was not as well dressed as
others, she told me how handsome she thought I was. When
I got knocked down by guys bigger than me, she sent me
back out and demanded that I bloody their nose so I
could walk down that street the next day.
After the accident, she told me,
"Joey, God sends no cross you cannot bear." And when I
triumphed, she was quick to remind me it was because of
My mother's creed is the American
creed: No one is better than you. You are everyone's
equal, and everyone is equal to you.
My parents taught us to live our
faith, and treasure our family. We learned the dignity
of work, and we were told that anyone can make it if
That was America's promise. For
those of us who grew up in middle-class neighborhoods
like Scranton and Wilmington, that was the American
dream and we knew it.
But today that American dream feels
as if it's slowly slipping away. I don't need to tell
you that. You feel it every single day in your own
I've never seen a time when
Washington has watched so many people get knocked down
without doing anything to help them get back up. Almost
every night, I take the train home to Wilmington,
sometimes very late. As I look out the window at the
homes we pass, I can almost hear what they're talking
about at the kitchen table after they put the kids to
Like millions of Americans, they're
asking questions as profound as they are ordinary.
Questions they never thought they would have to ask:
* Should mom move in with us now
that dad is gone?
* Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars to fill up the car?
* Winter's coming. How we gonna pay the heating bills?
* Another year and no raise?
* Did you hear the company may be cutting our health
* Now, we owe more on the house than it's worth. How are
we going to send the kids to college?
* How are we gonna be able to retire?
That's the America that George Bush
has left us, and that's the future John McCain will give
us. These are not isolated discussions among families
down on their luck. These are common stories among
middle-class people who worked hard and played by the
rules on the promise that their tomorrows would be
better than their yesterdays.
That promise is the bedrock of
America. It defines who we are as a people. And now it's
in jeopardy. I know it. You know it. But John McCain
doesn't get it.
Barack Obama gets it. Like many of
us, Barack worked his way up. His is a great American
You know, I believe the measure of
a man isn't just the road he's traveled; it's the
choices he's made along the way. Barack Obama could have
done anything after he graduated from college. With all
his talent and promise, he could have written his ticket
to Wall Street. But that's not what he chose to do. He
chose to go to Chicago. The South Side. There he met men
and women who had lost their jobs. Their neighborhood
was devastated when the local steel plant closed. Their
dreams deferred. Their dignity shattered. Their
And he made their lives the work of
his life. That's what you do when you've been raised by
a single mom, who worked, went to school and raised two
kids on her own. That's how you come to believe, to the
very core of your being, that work is more than a
paycheck. It's dignity. It's respect. It's about whether
you can look your children in the eye and say: we're
going to be ok.
Because Barack made that choice,
150,000 more children and parents have health care in
Illinois. He fought to make that happen. And because
Barack made that choice, working families in Illinois
pay less taxes and more people have moved from welfare
to the dignity of work. He got it done.
And when he came to Washington, I
watched him hit the ground running, leading the fight to
pass the most sweeping ethics reform in a generation. He
reached across party lines to pass a law that helps keep
nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. And he
moved Congress and the president to give our wounded
veterans the care and dignity they deserve.
You can learn an awful lot about a
man campaigning with him, debating him and seeing how he
reacts under pressure. You learn about the strength of
his mind, but even more importantly, you learn about the
quality of his heart.
I watched how he touched people,
how he inspired them, and I realized he has tapped into
the oldest American belief of all: We don't have to
accept a situation we cannot bear.
We have the power to change it.
That's Barack Obama, and that's what he will do for this
country. He'll change it.
John McCain is my friend. We've
known each other for three decades. We've traveled the
world together. It's a friendship that goes beyond
politics. And the personal courage and heroism John
demonstrated still amaze me.
But I profoundly disagree with the
direction that John wants to take the country. For
example, John thinks that during the Bush
years "we've made great progress economically." I think
it's been abysmal.
And in the Senate, John sided with
President Bush 95 percent of the time. Give me a break.
When John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks
for corporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight
of the largest companies, but no relief for 100 million
American families, that's not change; that's more of the
Even today, as oil companies post
the biggest profits in history—a half trillion dollars
in the last five years—he wants to give them another $4
billion in tax breaks. But he voted time and again
against incentives for renewable energy: solar, wind,
biofuels. That's not change; that's more of the same.
Millions of jobs have left our
shores, yet John continues to support tax breaks for
corporations that send them there. That's not change;
that's more of the same.
He voted 19 times against raising
the minimum wage. For people who are struggling just to
get to the next day, that's not change; that's more of
And when he says he will continue
to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq when Iraq is
sitting on a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that's not
change; that's more of the same.
The choice in this election is
clear. These times require more than a good soldier;
they require a wise leader, a leader who can deliver
change—the change everybody knows we need.
Barack Obama will deliver that
change. Barack Obama will reform our tax code. He'll cut
taxes for 95 percent of the American people who draw a
paycheck. That's the change we need.
Barack Obama will transform our
economy by making alternative energy a genuine national
priority, creating 5 million new jobs and finally
freeing us from the grip of foreign oil. That's the
change we need.
Barack Obama knows that any country
that out teaches us today will out-compete us tomorrow.
He'll invest in the next generation of teachers. He'll
make college more affordable. That's the change we need.
Barack Obama will bring down health
care costs by $2,500 for the typical family, and, at
long last, deliver affordable, accessible health care
for all Americans. That's the change we need.
Barack Obama will put more cops on
the streets, put the "security" back in Social Security
and never give up until we achieve equal pay for women.
That's the change we need.
As we gather here tonight, our
country is less secure and more isolated than at any
time in recent history. The Bush-McCain foreign policy
has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends
to help us climb out. For the last seven years, this
administration has failed to face the biggest forces
shaping this century: the emergence of Russia, China and
India as great powers; the spread of lethal weapons; the
shortage of secure supplies of energy, food and water;
the challenge of climate change; and the resurgence of
fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real
central front against terrorism.
In recent days, we've once again
seen the consequences of this neglect with Russia's
challenge to the free and democratic country of Georgia.
Barack Obama and I will end this neglect. We will hold
Russia accountable for its actions, and we'll help the
people of Georgia rebuild.
I've been on the ground in Georgia,
Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and I can tell you in no
uncertain terms: this Administration's policy has been
an abject failure. America cannot afford four more years
Now, despite being complicit in
this catastrophic foreign policy, John McCain says
Barack Obama isn't ready to protect our national
security. Now, let me ask you: whose judgment should we
trust? Should we trust John McCain's judgment when he
said only three years ago, "Afghanistan--we don't read
about it anymore because it's succeeded"? Or should we
trust Barack Obama, who more than a year ago called for
sending two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan?
The fact is, al-Qaida and the
Taliban—the people who actually attacked us on 9/11—have
regrouped in those mountains between Afghanistan and
Pakistan and are plotting new attacks. And the Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff echoed Barack's call for
John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama
Should we trust John McCain's
judgment when he rejected talking with Iran and then
asked: What is there to talk about? Or Barack Obama, who
said we must talk and make it clear to Iran that its
conduct must change.
Now, after seven years of denial,
even the Bush administration recognizes that we should
talk to Iran, because that's the best way to advance our
Again, John McCain was wrong.
Barack Obama was right.
Should we trust John McCain's
judgment when he says there can be no timelines to draw
down our troops from Iraq--that we must stay
indefinitely? Or should we listen to Barack Obama, who
says shift responsibility to the Iraqis and set a time
to bring our combat troops home?
Now, after six long years, the Bush
administration and the Iraqi government are on the verge
of setting a date to bring our troops home.
John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama
Again and again, on the most
important national security issues of our time, John
McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was proven right.
Folks, remember when the world used
to trust us? When they looked to us for leadership? With
Barack Obama as our president, they'll look to us again,
they'll trust us again, and we'll be able to lead again.
Jill and I are truly honored to
join Barack and Michelle on this journey. When I look at
their young children—and when I look at my
grandchildren—I realize why I'm here. I'm here for their
And I am here for everyone I grew
up with in Scranton and Wilmington. I am here for the
cops and firefighters, the teachers and assembly line
workers—the folks whose lives are the very measure of
whether the American dream endures.
Our greatest presidents—from
Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to John
Kennedy—they all challenged us to embrace change. Now,
it's our responsibility to meet that challenge.
Millions of Americans have been
knocked down. And this is the time as Americans,
together, we get back up. Our people are too good, our
debt to our parents and grandparents too great, our
obligation to our children is too sacred.
These are extraordinary times. This
is an extraordinary election. The American people are
ready. I'm ready. Barack Obama is ready. This is his
time. This is our time. This is America's time.
May God bless America and protect
Joe Biden DNC Speech 2008
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* * *
Make Afghanistan Your War—In his convention speech
Wednesday night, Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Biden
sounded hawkish notes—not only in flagrantly
misrepresenting the Georgia-Russia crisis but in talking
about Afghanistan. (This holds true not just for the two
Senators, but for too many Democrats in Washington who
argue, mantra-like, that we need to leave Iraq in order
to free additional troops to serve in "the right war.” .
We need to think
beyond the reflexive response of troop escalation and
begin the necessary, tough search for sane alternatives.
If Americans are given a clear choice, how many would
support bleeding more lives and resources in another
failing occupation as an effective strategy of combating
terrorism and promoting our national security?
* * *
Second in Command
By Shea Howell
As the Democrats
celebrated “A New Tide of “Hope” in Denver, Vice
President Dick Cheney quietly announced that he will be
traveling to Georgia. This raises serious questions for
all of us.
Long considered one
of the most war-like in the Bush administration, Cheney
is reported to have argued unsuccessfully for increasing
military aid to Georgia. His trip is certain to further
confuse an already tense and difficult situation.
in Georgia is part of a larger, dangerous world-view.
While Secretary of Defense under Bush I, Cheney was a
member of the group which decided that U.S. policy
should be to prevent any reemergence of Russian
political power following the
collapse of the
Soviet Union. This policy was most vigorously expressed
in the push to expand NATO by bringing emerging East
European nations under its wing. Pursuing this
doctrine, the U.S. now has military bases across
Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Bush II
administration is now preparing to put nuclear missiles
aimed at Russia in these countries.
the U.S. press nor the political leadership has done
much to help Americans think about what is really behind
the Georgian affair.
The press has
repeatedly cast the story as one of Russian aggression
against a small, defenseless democracy. President Bush
denounced Russia for having “invaded a sovereign
neighboring state” and threatening “a democratic
government.” In the press coverage of the event, from
news talk shows to headlines, it soon became almost
impossible to remember that it was Georgia who attacked
Further, the press
has cast South Ossetia as a part of Georgia, ignoring
the fact that since the fall of the Soviet Union, South
Ossetia and Abkhazia have been engaged in a separatist
fight against the Georgian government. Georgia has never
been able to establish control of the area, and as in
other contested grounds in the region, establishing
boundaries that are acceptable and fair to all requires
a commitment to negotiation and compromise.
Such a commitment
is impossible to achieve as long as the U.S. continues
to promote only pro-western, anti-Russian bases
throughout the region. In addition to establishing U.S.
military bases, the United States during the Clinton
administration started developing an oil pipeline that
is designed to weaken the ability of the Russians to
control energy supplies to western Europe.
Thus the world view
that casts Russia as a target, rather than as a nation
with whom we can and must collaborate to create a more
peaceful world, is not limited to Cheney and his friends
but is shared by many Democrats.
Chief among these
Democrats is Joe Biden, who was anointed this week as
Barack Obama’s running mate. Almost everyone agrees that
it was the Georgian situation which pushed Obama to
select a Vice Presidential candidate with foreign policy
Biden has that experience, but the
press has done littler to report on what that foreign
policy actually entails.
In matters related
to Russia, Biden shares many of the views of the
Bush-Cheney administration. He visited Tbilisi during
the fighting and is reported to have assured Georgia’s
pro-U.S. President Mikheil Saakashvili of his support
for that country’s early admission into NATO.
This sort of
statement is exactly the wrong message. It also
contradicts long-standing NATO policies against
admitting any nation that is involved in territorial
conflicts. Many NATO allies oppose this move and it is
certainly opposed by Russia.
Biden’s visit to
Georgia and his hard line stance may have helped his VP
credentials, but it also raises serious questions about
the man who selected him. Many of us have hoped that
Barack Obama would restore a commitment to dialogue as
the foundation for U.S. global relationships. But his
choice as vice president is far too similar to the one
we have now.
Citizen, Aug.31- Sept. 6, 2008
Reaganite Denounces Bush?
* * *
Obama and the
Working Class—Obama has failed to say anything
meaningful about these matters, and as the campaign
drags on, he moves ever further to the right. And if he
doesn’t speak to the white working class, how could it
be said that he speaks to the black or Hispanic working
class either? What about the more than one million black
men and women in prison? The gutted and ruined inner
cities? The lost manufacturing jobs? The millions of
immigrants now being treated as criminals, imprisoned
and sometimes tortured before being shipped off to their
I doubt that we
will get much from Obama to inspire working men and
women, of whatever part of the country, of whatever age,
race, or ethnicity. Now he has chosen a pathetic old
hack, Joe Biden, to be his running mate. What exactly
has Biden done for workers in his more than thirty years
in the Senate? That a man who has been in this elite
body (whose members’ stock portfolios have performed
better than almost anyone else’s) this long can be
called 'working class' by Obama himself tell us just how
lame U.S. politics are.
It is a shame that
some white workers are racist. I chalk most of this up
to the abject failure of the labor movement to attack
the race issue head on many years ago. But Obama might
have won over the voters Hillary Clinton got by
pretending she was still a working class woman from
Scranton, while she slugged down shots and a beers in
* * *
Union leader: Racism keeps Obama from building
lead—A prominent union leader on Tuesday blamed racism for Sen.
Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) failure to build a big lead over GOP rival Sen.
John McCain. Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said many workers are
considering voting for McCain (R-Ariz.) because of his military service
and status as a hero of the Vietnam War. . . . “There are some local
union presidents that are afraid — yes, that’s the word, afraid — to
hand out literature for Barack Obama,” said McEntee. . . . McEntee said
McCain is not a friend of unions and members must campaign for Obama and
spread the message of his support for labor. He said unions will be in
deep trouble if Obama is defeated for the presidency.
* * *
Administration Checkmated in Georgia—It is hard not
to conclude that Russian prime minister goaded the rash
Saakashvili into invading South Ossetia by encouraging
Abkhazian and South Ossetian irregulars to attack
Georgian outposts and villages on the peripheries of the
two enclaves. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
reportedly told Saakashvili not to respond to such
provocations when she met with him in July. Apparently
her advice fell on deaf ears. Far more enticing, it
seems, was her promise of strong U.S. backing for
Georgia's rapid entry into NATO. Other American leaders,
including Senator John McCain, assured Saakashvili of
unwavering U.S. support. Whatever was said in these
private conversations, the Georgian president seems to
interpreted them as a green light for his
adventuristic impulses. On August 7th, by all accounts,
his forces invaded South Ossetia and attacked its
capital city of Tskhinvali, giving Putin what he long
craved -- a seemingly legitimate excuse to invade
Georgia and demonstrate the complete vulnerability of
Clinton's (and now Bush's) vaunted energy corridor.
Today, the Georgian
army is in shambles, the BTC and South Caucasus gas
pipelines are within range of Russian firepower, and
Abkhazia and South Ossetia have declared their
independence, quickly receiving Russian recognition.
* * *
* * * * *
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.—
* * *
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
* * * * *
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
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * * *
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Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
* * * * *
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 /
* * *
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 30 August 2008