June 2008 Archives

From Democracy Now!
23 June 2008

TsvangiraiWeb.jpg


We in the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) have resolved that we will no longer participate in this violent, illegitimate sham of an election process,�? Tsvangirai said. At least eighty-six supporters of the MDC have been killed, and thousands more have been injured."

Guest:
Grace Kwinjeh, Journalist and political activist. She is one of the founders of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a member of its National Executive Committee. She was arrested and beaten up multiple times in Zimbabwe and now lives in South Africa. On March 11 of last year, she was beaten nearly to death, along with Morgan Tsvangirai.

AMY GOODMAN: In Zimbabwe, election officials have said a June 27th runoff presidential vote will go ahead despite the withdrawal of the opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, pulled out of the presidential election second round runoff on Sunday, saying increasing violence had made a free and fair election impossible.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: We in the MDC have resolved that we will no longer participate in this violent, illegitimate sham of an election process. The courageous people of Zimbabwe, of this country, and the people of the MDC have done everything humanely and democratically possible to deliver a new Zimbabwe under a new government. This violent, retributive agenda has seen over 200,000 internally displaced, over 86,000 MDC supporters killed, over 20,000 homes have been destroyed, and over 10,000 people have been injured and maimed in this orgy of violence.

AMY GOODMAN: Tsvangirai beat President Robert Mugabe in a March 29 vote but failed to win the absolute majority needed to avoid a second ballot. He has called on the United Nations and the African Union to intervene to stop the violence.

The United States and Britain said they are prepared to bring Zimbabwe before the UN Security Council this week, while South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating in the crisis, called for further dialogue between the two parties.

Grace Kwinjeh is one of the founders of Tsvangirai’s party, the Movement for Democratic Change. She’s a member of its National Executive Committee. She was arrested and beaten up multiple times in Zimbabwe. She now lives in South Africa, where she joins us on the phone.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Grace. Hello, Grace.

GRACE KWINJEH: Hello?

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Can you talk about what’s happening now, the significance of Tsvangirai pulling out of the presidential runoff?

GRACE KWINJEH: Well, basically, the Movement for Democratic Change has taken the hard decision to pull out of what has really become a big charade. And the violence is increasing, because we are seeing right now the MDC offices are being raided by armed police. The rank and file of the MDC is being targeted. The secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change is in police custody right now, being charged with treason, which carries a death penalty. So the situation is [inaudible]—

AMY GOODMAN: Grace, we’re having trouble—Grace, we’re having trouble hearing you. If you could—are you driving, or are you on the street? We can hardly hear you.

GRACE KWINJEH: Hello?

AMY GOODMAN: Hi. That’s better. Could you say what you were saying—

GRACE KWINJEH: [inaudible]

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, could you what you were just saying again? We had trouble hearing you. Grace, we’re going to call you right back. We’ll go to a music break, and then we’re going to go right back to you.

Grace Kwinjeh is in Johannesburg. She’s a journalist and political activist. She’s one of the founders of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, a member of its National Executive Committee. She has been beaten up many times in Zimbabwe, now living in South Africa. We’ll come back to Grace Kwinjeh in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We attempt now to reach Grace Kwinjeh and get a clearer line. She is in South Africa. She’s one of the founders of the Zimbabwean main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. Morgan Tsvangirai, the presidential candidate of this party, has just pulled out of the presidential runoff.

Grace Kwinjeh, we’re going to try it again. Explain the significance of this weekend’s pullout by Tsvangirai.

GRACE KWINJEH: Well, basically, I think it was a tough decision for the MDC leadership to make, given that, you know, the MDC won the March elections at the presidential, at the parliamentary and at local government level. But the election was increasingly becoming a charade, in the sense that [inaudible]—

AMY GOODMAN: Grace, have you moved? Because we no longer can understand what you’re saying. If you could keep the phone right on your ear; don’t have it on speaker phone. We’re just having some trouble.

GRACE KWINJEH: OK, it’s on my ear. Basically, right now, as I speak, there are over thirty military trucks at the MDC headquarters in Harare. They are raiding [inaudible]—

AMY GOODMAN: Grace Kwinjeh, I’m sorry, but we just cannot understand you. I guess there’s some kind of movement, or there’s just trouble on the phone, but you’re breaking up.

GRACE KWINJEH: No, I can hear you clearly.

AMY GOODMAN: OK, try it one more time.

GRACE KWINJEH: OK. Well, I just think that it has been a very tough position for the MDC leadership to take. But then they had the option of being part of a big election charade or actually not legitimizing it.

AMY GOODMAN: What will happen now that Tsvangirai has pulled out? Mugabe has vowed to continue with this election, although he’s the only candidate.

GRACE KWINJEH: Well, basically, he will still lack the moral authority to [inaudible] and he’s still not the elected leader, so he will not have the moral authority to be head of state in Zimbabwe. Secondly, Zimbabwe will continue to be isolated and a pariah state internationally. There will be no reengagement with the international community; it will continue to be isolated. And thirdly, unfortunately, the only route that Mugabe will have to remain in power is through increased repression, because he knows that the people [inaudible]. He’s going to continue to [inaudible] instrument of repression [inaudible]. So it’s a sad situation. But I think that the burden is being placed on Zimbabweans to do something for themselves. And I feel that South Africa, in particular, and SADC should really be treating this as a serious emergency political matter.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, what about the Southern African Development Community, the SADC leaders, especially President Mbeki, where you are in exile now, in South Africa? What can he do?

GRACE KWINJEH: Well, Mbeki has to acknowledge that Mugabe has declared war against the people of Zimbabwe. He has to acknowledge that people are being beaten up, people are being tortured, people are being murdered with impunity. So there has to be a process of accountability. And I think it is so wrong for the South African president, even up to today, to keep quiet and operate as if everything is normal in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is at war. And unfortunately, only one side is armed. So it’s the first recognition that Mugabe has declared a war against the people.

The second position for them would then be to recognize that the MDC won the March elections. So whatever transitional authority that is going to be put in place, it has to recognize that the MDC got the majority of the votes at the presidential, at parliamentary and at local government level.

And then, thirdly, they have to work on a demilitarization program, a serious one, and South Africa can do that. The army is right now on the streets. The MDC’s chairperson for youth, Tamsanqa Mahlangu, is in hospital fighting for his life. He was brutally assaulted by the army yesterday. I will not talk of those who have been shot dead in front of SADC observers. So I think President Mbeki has to come up with a more robust and more honest diplomatic solution to the Zimbabwean crisis.

AMY GOODMAN: The United Nations, what can they do? Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General, called for an immediate end to the campaign of violence and intimidation that has marred the election. There’s a meeting of the Security Council.

GRACE KWINJEH: Well, basically, one, we need the Security Council to come up with a more robust resolution, and again, at that level—we do not in South Africa to be blocking the Security Council from taking action on what is going on in Zimbabwe. So we really need the UN and the Security Council to be involved. We have called [inaudible] for the deployment of UN peacekeepers to go to Zimbabwe. There’s no election and there’s no peace that is going to be possible in Zimbabwe without the presence of people who are trained in actually dealing with the military. And I think the evidence of the intimidation of SADC [inaudible] over the past days shows and creates a real case for the [inaudible]—

AMY GOODMAN: Grace Kwinjeh, I want to thank you for being with us, journalist and political activist, one of the founders of the main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change. This weekend, Morgan Tsvangirai, the presidential candidate who was to participate in the presidential runoff on Friday, pulled out of the election.

Yesterday, front page of the New York Times in a piece by Barry Bearak and Celia Dugger—Barry Bearak is the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who just over two months ago was arrested when covering Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe—wrote, “Tonderai Ndira was a shrewd choice for assassination: young, courageous and admired. Kill him and fear would pulse through a thousand spines. He was an up-and-comer in Zimbabwe’s opposition party, a charismatic figure with a strong following in the Harare slums where he lived.

“There were rumors his name was on a hit list. For weeks he prudently hid out, but his wife, Plaxedess, desperately pleaded with him to come home for a night. He slipped back to his family on May 12.

“The five killers pushed through the door soon after dawn, as Mr. Ndira, [who was] 30 [years old], slept and his wife made porridge for their two children. He was wrenched from his bed, roughed up and stuffed into the back seat of a double-cab Toyota pickup. ‘They’re going to kill me,’ he cried, Plaxedess said. As the children watched from the door, two men sat on his back, a gag was shoved in his mouth and his head was yanked upward, a technique of asphyxiation later presumed in a physician’s post mortem to be the cause of [his] death.�?

And the article goes on to say, “Even as hundreds of election observers from neighboring countries were deployed across Zimbabwe in the past few days, the gruesome killings and beatings of opposition figures have continued.�?

Talking about the body of the wife of Harare’s newly chosen mayor found Wednesday, “her face so badly bashed in that even her own brother only recognized her by her brown corduroy skirt and plaited hair. On Thursday, the bodies of four more opposition activists turned up after they had been abducted by men shouting ruling party slogans.�?

Satirical Video: "I'm Voting Republican"



By synthetichuman, 03:28

By Tim Wise
5 June 2008

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This is an open letter to those white women who, despite their proclamations of progressivism, and supposedly because of their commitment to feminism, are threatening to withhold support from Barack Obama in November. You know who you are.

I know that it's probably a bad time for this. Your disappointment at the electoral defeat of Senator Hillary Clinton is fresh, the sting is new, and the anger that animates many of you--who rightly point out that the media was often sexist in its treatment of the Senator--is raw, pure and justified.

That said, and despite the awkward timing, I need to ask you a few questions, and I hope you will take them in the spirit of solidarity with which they are genuinely intended. But before the questions, a statement if you don't mind, or indeed, even if (as I suspect), you will mind it quite a bit.

First, for those of you threatening to actually vote for John McCain and to oppose Senator Obama, or to stay home in November and thereby increase the likelihood of McCain winning and Obama losing (despite the fact that the latter's policy platform is virtually identical to Clinton's while the former's clearly is not), all the while claiming to be standing up for women...

For those threatening to vote for John McCain or to stay home and increase the odds of his winning (despite the fact that he once called his wife the c-word in public and is a staunch opponent of reproductive freedom and gender equity initiatives, such as comparable worth legislation), all the while claiming to be standing up for women...

For those threatening to vote for John McCain or to stay home and help ensure Barack Obama's defeat, as a way to protest what you call Obama's sexism (examples of which you seem to have difficulty coming up with), all the while claiming to be standing up for women...

Your whiteness is showing.

When I say your whiteness is showing this is what I mean: You claim that your opposition to Obama is an act of gender solidarity, in that women (and their male allies) need to stand up for women in the face of the sexist mistreatment of Clinton by the press. On this latter point--the one about the importance of standing up to the media for its often venal misogyny--you couldn't be more correct. As the father of two young girls who will have to contend with the poison of patriarchy all their lives, or at least until such time as that system of oppression is eradicated, I will be the first to join the boycott of, or demonstration on, whatever media outlet you choose to make that point. But on the first part of the above equation--the part where you insist voting against Obama is about gender solidarity--you are, for lack of a better way to put it, completely full of crap. And what's worse is that at some level I suspect you know it. Voting against Senator Obama is not about gender solidarity. It is an act of white racial bonding, and it is grotesque.

If it were gender solidarity you sought, you would by definition join with your black and brown sisters come November, and do what you know good and well they are going to do, in overwhelming numbers, which is vote for Barack Obama. But no. You are threatening to vote not like other women--you know, the ones who aren't white like you and most of your friends--but rather, like white men! Needless to say it is high irony, bordering on the outright farcical, to believe that electorally bonding with white men, so as to elect McCain, is a rational strategy for promoting feminism and challenging patriarchy. You are not thinking and acting as women, but as white people. So here's the first question: What the hell is that about?

And you wonder why women of color have, for so long, thought (by and large) that white so-called feminists were phony as hell? Sister please...

Your threats are not about standing up for women. They are only about standing up for the feelings of white women, and more to the point, the aspirations of one white woman. So don't kid yourself. If you wanted to make a statement about the importance of supporting a woman, you wouldn't need to vote for John McCain, or stay home, thereby producing the same likely result--a defeat for Obama. You could always have said you were going to go out and vote for Cynthia McKinney. After all, she is a woman, running with the Green Party, and she's progressive, and she's a feminist. But that isn't your threat is it? No. You're not threatening to vote for the woman, or even the feminist woman. Rather, you are threatening to vote for the white man, and to reject not only the black man who you feel stole Clinton's birthright, but even the black woman in the race. And I wonder why? Could it be...?

See, I told you your whiteness was showing.

And now for a third question, and this is the biggie, so please take your time with it: How is it that you have managed to hold your nose all these years, just like a lot of us on the left, and vote for Democrats who we knew were horribly inadequate--Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dukakis, right on down the uninspiring line--and yet, apparently can't bring yourself to vote for Barack Obama? A man who, for all of his shortcomings (and there are several, as with all candidates put up by either of the two major corporate parties) is surely more progressive than any of those just mentioned. And how are we to understand that refusal--this sudden line in the proverbial sand--other than as a racist slap at a black man? You will vote for white men year after year after year--and are threatening to vote for another one just to make a point--but can't bring yourself to vote for a black man, whose political views come much closer to your own, in all likelihood, than do the views of any of the white men you've supported before. How, other than as an act of racism, or perhaps as evidence of political insanity, is one to interpret such a thing?

See, black folks would have sucked it up, like they've had to do forever, and voted for Clinton had it come down to that. Indeed, they were on board the Hillary train early on, convinced that Obama had no chance to win and hoping for change, any change, from the reactionary agenda that has been so prevalent for so long in this culture. They would have supported the white woman--hell, for many black folks, before Obama showed his mettle they were downright excited to do so--but you won't support the black man. And yet you have the audacity to insist that it is you who are the most loyal constituency of the Democratic Party, and the one before whom Party leaders should bow down, and whose feet must be kissed?

Your whiteness is showing.

Look, I couldn't care less about the Party personally. I left the Democrats twenty years ago when they told me that my activism in the Central America solidarity and South African anti-apartheid movements made me a security risk, and that I wouldn't be able to get clearance to be in some parade with Governor Dukakis. Yeah, seriously. But for you to act as though you are the indispensible voters, the most important, the ones whose views should be pandered to, whose every whim should be the basis for Party policy, is not only absurd, it is also racist in that it, a) ignores and treats as irrelevant the much more loyal constituency of black folks, without whom no Democrat would have won anything in the past twenty years (and indeed the racial gap favoring the Democrats among blacks is about six times larger than the gender gap favoring them among white women, relative to white men); and b) demonstrates the mentality of entitlement and superiority that has been long ingrained in us as white folks--so that we believe we have the right to dictate the terms of political engagement, and to determine the outcome, and to get our way, simply because for so long we have done just that.

But that day is done, whether you like it or not, and you are now left with two, and only two choices, so consider them carefully: the first is to stand now in solidarity with your black brothers and sisters and welcome the new day, and help to push it in a truly progressive and feminist and antiracist direction, while the second is to team up with white men to try and block the new day from dawning. Feel free to choose the latter. But if you do, please don't insult your own intelligence, or ours, by insisting that you've done so as a radical political act.

Obama Victory Speech

Tuesday, 3 June 2008
St. Paul, Minnesota


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Tonight Minnesota, after 54 hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

Thousands of miles have been travelled. Millions of voices have been heard.

And because of what you said - because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another - a journey that will bring a new and better day to America.

Because of you, tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States of America.

I want to thank all those in Montana and South Dakota who stood up for change today. I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign - through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls.

And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for president.

At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for office.

I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better.

They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

And that is particularly true for the candidate who has travelled further on this journey than anyone else.

Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she is a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

I congratulate here on her victory in South Dakota and I congratulate her on the race she has run throughout this contest.

We've certainly had our differences over the last 16 months.

But as someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning - even in the face of tough odds - is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children's Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fuelled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency - an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be.

And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, and we will win that fight, she will be central to that victory.

When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen.

Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honour to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided.

Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time.

There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn't just about a change of party in Washington, it's about the need to change Washington.

There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply.

But at the end of the day, we aren't the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard.

You didn't do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else.

You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - we cannot afford to keep doing what we've been doing.

We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future.

And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say - let us begin the work together.

Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.

In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St Paul with a very different agenda.

They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically.

I honour, we honour, the service of John McCain, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.

My differences with him are not personal; they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign.

Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

It's not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush 95% of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

It's not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college - policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

It's not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians - a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer.

So I'll say this - there are many words to describe John McCain's attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush's policies as bipartisan and new.

But change is not one of them.

Because change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged.

I won't stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what's not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years - especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in - but start leaving we must.

It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future.

It's time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home.

It's time to refocus our efforts on al-Qaeda's leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century - terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.

That's what change is.

Change is realising that meeting today's threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy - tough, direct diplomacy where the president of the United States isn't afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for.

We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world.

That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy.

That's what the American people demand.

That's what change is.

Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it.

It's understanding that the struggles facing working families can't be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a middle-class tax break to those who need it, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation.

It's understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was president.

John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy - cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota - he'd understand the kind of change that people are looking for.

Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can't pay the medical bills for a sister who's ill, he'd understand that she can't afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy.

She needs us to pass health care right now, a plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it.

That's the change we need.

Maybe if John McCain went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can't even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he'd understand that we can't afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators.

That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future - an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced.

That's the change we need.

And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St Paul, Minnesota, or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, Louisiana, he'd understand that we can't afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education and recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support and finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American.

That's the change we need in America.

That's why I'm running for president.

The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a good thing, that is a debate I look forward to.

It is a debate the American people deserve on the issues that will help determine the future of this country and the future of its children.

But what you don't deserve is another election that's governed by fear, and innuendo, and division.

What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon - that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize.

Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first.

We are always Americans first.

Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself.

I've walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools.

I've sat across the table from law enforcement officials and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent 13 innocent people to death row.

I've worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the false labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes.

And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.

So it was for the Greatest Generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.

So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.

So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better, and kinder, and more just.

And so it must be for us.

America, this is our moment. This is our time.

Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for this country that we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long.

I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations.

But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people.

Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.

This was the moment - this was the time - when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.

Thank you, Minnesota, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

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