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美国20世纪最伟大的100篇演讲Ann Richards - DNC Keynote

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AmericanRhetoric.com


Ann Richards:
Democratic National Convention Keynote Address


delivered
19
July
1988, Atlanta
GA

AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED:
Text
version below
transcribed
directly
from
audio

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, very much.

Good evening,
ladies and gentlemen. Buenas noches, mis amigos.

I'm delighted to be here with
you
this evening,
because after listening to George Bush all
these years, I
figured you
needed
to know what a real Texas accent
sounds like.

Twelve years ago
Barbara Jordan, another Texas woman, Barbara made the keynote address
to this convention, and two women
in a hundred and sixty years is about par for the course.

But
if you give us a chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred
Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high
heels.

I want
to announce to this Nation that in a little more than
100 days, the ReaganMeeseDeaverNofzigerPoindexterNorthWeinbergerWattGorsuchLavelleStockmanHaigBorkNoriegaGeorge
Bush [era] will be over!


You know, tonight I feel a little like I did when I
played basketball
in
the 8th grade. I
thought I
looked real
cute in my uniform. And then I heard a boy yell
from the bleachers, "Make that
basket, Birdlegs." And my greatest
fear is that same guy is somewhere out
there in the
audience tonight, and he's going to cut
me down
to size, because where I grew
up there really
wasn’t much
tolerance for selfimportance,
people who put on airs.

I was born during the Depression
in a little community just outside Waco, and I grew
up
listening to Franklin Roosevelt on
the radio. Well, it was back then
that
I came to
understand
the small
truths and the hardships that bind neighbors together. Those were real people with
real problems and they had
real dreams about getting out of the Depression. I can remember
summer nights when we’d put down what we called the Baptist pallet, and we listened to
the
grownups
talk. I can still
hear the sound of the dominoes clicking on the marble slab my
daddy had found for a tabletop.
I can still hear the laughter of the men telling jokes you
weren’t supposed to
hear talkin'
about
how big that old buck deer was, laughin' about
mama puttin' Clorox in the well when
the frog fell
in.

They talked about war and
Washington and what this country needed. They talked straight
talk. And it came from people who were living their lives as best they could.
And that’s what
we’re gonna do
tonight. We’re gonna tell
how the cow ate the cabbage.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Copyright Status: Restricted, seek permission.
Page
1



AmericanRhetoric.com


I got a letter last week from a young mother in Lorena, Texas, and I wanna read part of it to
you. She writes,

“Our worries go from pay day to pay day, just
like millions of others. And we have two
fairly
decent
incomes, but
I worry how I’m going to pay the rising car insurance and food. I pray my
kids don’t
have a growth
spurt
from August to
December, so
I don’t
have to buy new
jeans. We buy clothes at
the budget stores and
we have them fray and fade and stretch in the
first wash. We ponder and try to figure out how
we're gonna pay for college and braces and
tennis shoes. We don’t
take vacations and we don’t go out to eat. Please don’t think
me
ungrateful. We have jobs and a nice place to
live, and we’re healthy. We're the people you see
every day in
the grocery stores, and we obey the laws. We pay our taxes. We fly our flags on
holidays and we plod along trying to make it better for ourselves and our children and our
parents. We aren’t
vocal any more. I
think maybe we’re too tired.
I believe that people like us
are forgotten
in America.”

Well of course you believe you’re forgotten, because you
have been.

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.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Copyright Status: Restricted, seek permission.
Page
2



AmericanRhetoric.com


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.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Copyright Status: Restricted, seek permission.
Page
3



AmericanRhetoric.com


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 lowwage,
deadend
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 brotherinlaw
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.

Now I’m going to
tell
you, I'm really glad
that our young people missed the Depression and
missed the great
Big
War. But I do regret that they missed the leaders that I
knew, leaders
who told us when things were tough, and that we’d have to sacrifice, and that these
difficulties might
last for a while. They didn’t tell us things were hard for us because we were
different, or isolated, or special
interests. They brought
us together and they gave us a sense
of national purpose. They gave us Social Security and they told us they were setting up a
system where we could pay our own
money in, and when the time came for our retirement we
could take the money out. People in the rural areas were told that we deserved to
have
electric lights, and they were gonna harness the energy that was necessary to give us
electricity so
my grandmamma didn’t
have to carry that old coal oil
lamp around. And they
told us that they were gonna guarant[ee] when
we put our money in the bank, that
the
money was going to be there, and it was going to be insured.
They did not lie to
us.

And I
think one of the saving graces of Democrats is that we are candid. We talk straight
talk. We tell people what we think. And that
tradition and those values live today in Michael
Dukakis from Massachusetts.

Michael Dukakis knows that
this country is on the edge of a great new era, that we’re not
afraid of change, that we’re for thoughtful, truthful, strong leadership.
Behind his calm there’s
an impatience to
unify
this country and to get on with
the future. His instincts are deeply
American. They’re tough and they’re generous.
And personally, I
have to
tell you that I have
never met a man who
had a more remarkable sense about what is really important
in life.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Copyright Status: Restricted, seek permission.
Page
4



AmericanRhetoric.com


And then
there’s my friend and my teacher for many years, Senator Lloyd Bentsen. And I
couldn’t be prouder,
both as a Texan and as a Democrat, because Lloyd Bentsen understands
America.
From the barrio
to the boardroom, he knows how to bring us together, by regions,
by economics, and by example. And he’s already beaten George Bush once.

So, when
it comes right down
to it, this election
is a contest between
those who are satisfied
with what they have and those who know we can do better. That’s what this election
is really
all about. It’s about
the American dream those
who want to
keep it for the few and those
who know it must be nurtured and passed along.

I’m a grandmother now. And I
have one nearly perfect granddaughter named Lily. And when
I
hold that grandbaby, I feel
the continuity of life
that
unites us, that binds generation to
generation, that
ties us with
each other. And sometimes I spread
that
Baptist pallet out on the
floor, and Lily and I roll a ball back and forth. And I think of all the families like mine,
like the
one in Lorena,
Texas, like the ones that nurture children all across America.
And as I look at
Lily, I
know
that
it is within
families that we learn both
the need to respect
individual human
dignity and to work together for our common good.
Within our families, within our nation, it
is the same.

And as I sit there, I wonder if she’ll
ever grasp the changes I’ve seen
in my life if
she’ll
ever
believe that there was a time when
blacks could not drink from public water fountains, when
Hispanic children were punished for speaking Spanish
in
the public schools, and women
couldn’t vote.


I think of all the political fights I’ve fought, and all
the compromises I’ve had
to accept as part
payment. And I think of all the small victories that have added up to national triumphs and all
the things that would never have happened and
all
the people who would’ve been left behind
if we had not reasoned and fought and won those battles together. And I will tell Lily that
those triumphs were Democratic Party triumphs.

I want
so much
to tell Lily how
far we’ve come,
you and I. And as the ball rolls back and forth,
I want
to
tell
her how
very lucky she is that for
all our difference, we are still the greatest
nation on
this good earth. And our strength
lies in the men and women who go
to work every
day, who struggle to balance their family and their jobs, and who should never, ever be
forgotten.

I just
hope that like her grandparents and her greatgrandparents
before that Lily goes on to
raise her kids with the promise that
echoes in homes all across America: that we can do
better, and that’s what this election
is all about.

Thank you
very much.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Copyright Status: Restricted, seek permission.
Page
5


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