I don’t think George Bush is a bad man. I don’t. I think George Bush wants to do right by America. I think he’s a patriotic person. I don’t think the people who work for him are stupid people. I think a lot of them are smart - in their own way. I think the problem is that they’ve got a different idea of America than we’ve got. They believe in different things.
They have a sense that, in fact, Government is the problem, not the solution. And that if we just dismantle government piece by piece, if we break it up in tax cuts to the wealthy and if we make sure we privatize social security and we get rid of public schools and we make sure that we don’t have police on the streets, we have private security guards and we don’t have public parks, we’ve got private parks, if we just break everything up that, in fact, everybody’s going to be better off. That we don’t have obligations to each other, that we’re not in it together but, instead, you’re on your own. That’s the basic concept behind the ownership society. That’s what George Bush and this Republican Congress have been arguing for, for the last six years. And it’s a tempting idea. Because it doesn’t require anything from each of us. It’s very easy for us to say that I’m going to think selfishly only about myself.
That I don’t have to worry about the fact that 46 million people don’t have health insurance. I don’t have to make any effort to deal with the fact that our children don’t have opportunity to go to college because student loans have been cut. I don’t have to worry about the guy just who lost his job after working 30 years in a plant because his plant’s moved to Mexico or out to China, despite the fact that he has been producing profits on behalf of that company this whole time and he’s lost his health care and he’s lost his pension as a consequence. I don’t have to worry about those things.
But here’s the problem. The problem is that that idea won’t work. Because despite the much vaunted individual initiative and self reliance that has been at the essence of the American Dream the fact of the matter is that there’s always been this other idea of America. This idea that says we have a stake in each other. That I am my brother’s keeper. That I am my sister’s keeper. That I’ve got an obligation. Not just for my self, not just for my family, but also for you. That every child is my child and every senior citizen deserves
That simple notion is one that we understand in our churches, in our synagogues, in our mosques. It’s an idea we understand in our own families, in our own blocks, in our workplaces. But it also has to reflect itself in our government.
You know, nobody here expects government to solve all our problems for us. We don’t want government to solve our problems. What we do expect is that government can help. The government can make a
difference in all of our lives. And that is essentially the battle that we’re going to be fighting in this election. It is a battle about education, it is a battle about health care. It is a battle about energy. But it is also a battle about what America is going to be about, America’s future, about how we relate to each other and how we understand our place in this world.
Now the fact is, if you look at the record of the last six years, we shouldn’t have a problem in this election. I know, Tom, you wouldn’t normally hear this quoted at one of your steak fries. But, you know, the other day I heard Newt Gingrich speak. I don’t normally quote Newt Gingrich – at least at Democratic events. But I’ve gotta say Newt caught my attention. ‘cause folks were asking him, you know, given all the problems Republicans have had managing the country, managing the economy, managing the war in Iraq, what do you thinks going to happen in this election? And Newt Gingrich said to the commenter, “If I was advising the Democrats, I gotta admit I would just use two words to campaign.” And the reporter said “What are the two words?” and he said “Had enough.”
Had enough! And I don’t know about you. But I think old Newt’s on to something. Because I’ve had enough…
Of Drug companies writing the prescription plan….
Of Oil companies writing the energy bill…
Of A Bill like no child left behind that left the money behind…
Of a do nothing, not even trying, effort to deal with the health care crisis that every single American is affected by…
And let me tell you something else I’ve had enough of. I’ve had enough of using terrorism as a wedge issue in our politics. I’ve had enough of that.
Cross posted at Dryden Democrats