ANSWERING ROLL CALL
Kerry formally is given his Prize
while his running mate speaks
Thursday, July 29, 2004
by Richard E. Berg-Andersson
The third day of the 44th Democratic National Convention was gaveled into session promptly at 4 PM EDT (2000 UTC) on Wednesday 28 July 2004. The Invocation was given by the Rev. Suzan Johnston-Cook of the Bronx Christian Fellowship in New York City. The Presentation of Colors was made by the Hyannis, Massachusetts Fire Department and the Convention was led in the Pledge of Allegiance by Sarah Bender of Ohio, the youngest delegate at the Convention. Sabreen Staples sang the National Anthem.
The first speaker of the third day- the theme of which was to be A Stronger, More Secure America- was Stuart Paisano, Governor of Sandia Pueblo, New Mexico- one of 20 Native American pueblos in that State. Paisano noted that the Kerry/Edwards ticket would support tribal sovereignty. In fact, Paisano stated, Native Americans make up the swing voter in many battleground States like New Mexico. He stated that the principal issues of interest to all Americans were health care, education and the environment. Of the latter, Paisano urged that it not be compromised to benefit special interests... Happy labels like the Healthy Forests Initiative should not be used to disguise policies which really mean 'No tree left behind'. Next came Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, who declaimed that for too long we have heard from Washington Republicans that they own the South. I am here to tell you that they think they own the politics of division, but we claim unity... In Louisiana, and all across America, the tired, worn-out labels have had their day. We need and want real leadership, and that's why I am so proud that we are going to nominate a presidential candidate who will lead America with character, integrity and the right set of priorities.
Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. of Tennessee- who had been the Keynote Speaker at the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles four years before- followed Senator Landrieu. This week, Democrats, Ford declared, we're going to nominate two men who embody the very best in values of America, for they firmly believe in the idea that if you work hard and play by the rules very little is beyond your reach. John Kerry and John Edwards came to that belief by different paths. Ford went on to describe Senator Kerry as someone who had some amazing opportunities. At an early age, he understood and learned that, along with those opportunities come huge responsibilities. Of Senator Edwards, Ford said, he is a son of the South, the son of a mill worker and the first in his family to go to college and to go to law school. He is an example of what every American can accomplish if given a chance to realize his or her dream. Ford went on: I am a Democrat because I believe every American owns a part of the American Dream... because I believe we cannot settle even when it is tempting to do so. For the past four years, we have been offered the wrong set of answers to a daunting set of new challenges. We have been offered hard-headed stubbornness when boldness and imagination was needed. We could spend hours detailing these failures.
And so those speaking before this Convention proceeded, indeed, to spend the next few hours detailing what they perceived as these very failures on the part of the Bush Administration: Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson took to the podium and scored the Administration, stating that I have seen the harshest impact of this Administration's policies: more Americans working without health insurance than four years ago, more people without work and many more without hope. Ms. Wilkerson declared that I want a President who would dig deep in his heart and soul before making the tough decision to send our sons and daughters off to war, who will restore a reputation for America that will allow us to travel abroad and again feel proud and fearless to call ourselves Americans. I believe that my Senator, John F. Kerry, is the right man for the job.
Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington then came forward to speak about a comprehensive Energy Plan. There are those in Washington who think that our energy plan can be developed behind closed doors, Ms. Cantwell claimed, that our energy plan can be left to the influence of special interests, that the Enrons and Halliburtons count more in developing our energy strategy than ordinary citizens. Well, I have a message from Washington State to those special interests in Washington, DC: our energy plan is not for sale to the highest bidder! Congressman Tom Allen of Maine spoke next: John Kerry will put the health of America's families ahead of insurance and pharmaceutical industry profits... John Kerry hears your voices and help is on the way... his election, Allen declared will create a competitive, stronger and more secure America. He was followed by California State Controller Steve Westly, who said: Our opponents are tough and our fight will not be easy, but John Kerry knows how to win tough fights by inspiring people with bold ideas... To win in November, we must be the Party of Opportunity, we must be the Party that opens doors- no matter where you're from, what you look like or who you love. Westly opined that we must be the Party of Optimism... we must heed that call and be the Party of Hope. We must heed it because our opponents cannot: they say "maybe one day, we'll rebuild our cities and schools; maybe one day, tax cuts for the few will benefit the many". John Kerry says "maybe one day" is one day too many.
After the Middlesex County, Massachusetts 4-H Fife & Drum Corps entertained the Convention, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York came before the Convention, recounting the loss of her husband and the grave wounding of her son in the so-called 'Long Island Railroad Massacre' of December 1993. Senator John Kerry stood with us to pass a ban on the manufacture and sale of 19 military-style assault weapons, the Congresswoman noted, and, today, I stand with John Kerry, the next President of the United States. Incredibly- on September 13th, 2004, 48 days from today, this ban expires and these weapons will again be flooding our streets. We won't have to go to Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction... Assault weapons kill 1 in every 5 officers who die in the line of duty. Four years ago, George Bush promised to sign legislation to extend the assault weapons ban, but today he has yet to ask his Republican leadership in Congress to take action to extend the ban. I know that President John Kerry will fight for a ban on assault weapons.
Congressman Joe Hoeffel of Pennsylvania, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, was the next speaker. What's missing in Washington is a sense of urgency that responds to the reality of people's lives, Hoeffel declared. Martin Luther King, Jr. called it "the Fierce Urgency of Now"... the Fierce Urgency of Now demands that Congress end its vacation, start a Special Session next week and work through August to take action on the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Hoeffel was followed by his fellow Pennsylvanian, Congressman Chaka Fattah, who stated that Democrats have always worked to make the potential that Education holds for our children real in America... We believe that we shouldn't have resources without reform because that would be a waste of money, but we can't have reform without resources because that would waste a much more important and much more precious resource: our children's future.
Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey was next to take to the podium and who said: I know John Kerry, John Kerry is a friend of mine and John Kerry is a great friend of Israel... Now, when our Nation faces the threat of terror, John Kerry is ready to lead an all-out effort to win the war. And, in our fight against terrorism, John Kerry knows that one of America's most important crewmates is Israel... I'll tell you this: John Kerry will face up to those who try and blame Israel for the turmoil and the violence in the Middle East. Israel has become the scapegoat for despots and corrupt governments in the region, just for demonstrating so well how a democratic society functions... and John Kerry will never sit silently in the face of hateful anti-Semitic speech at home or abroad... As President, John Kerry's commitment to a safe, secure Jewish state will be unwavering!
Virgin Islands Territorial Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen followed the New Jerseyan: Is this a big tent Party or what? she asked rhetorically. She called for a nation where every right is protected and where all Americans- in the States or its offshore areas- can vote, as every other American does, for our Commander in Chief. She was followed by Congressman Ike Skelton of Missouri, who declared that these are challenging and difficult times for our country, but we will overcome them because we have the greatest treasure in the world. That treasure is a young soldier standing on the front lines... I want to say something to that soldier: I want you to know we Democrats stand by you and all uniformed Americans; you make us so very very proud. "Supporting The Troops" is more than a bumper sticker; supporting the troops means giving them the best possible leadership and the finest training and equipment so they can do their duty... Ladies and gentlemen, in a foxhole, there are no Political Parties It's a mistake to assume that military votes are Republican votes... Military personnel don't like being used as props for political purposes; we need to honor their service.
Congressman Charles Rangel of New York spoke next: We should let the whole country know that we're mad as hell that our kids are being used as fodder, that they have to join the military because they can't find a job... We're mad as hell that the respect we used to enjoy throughout the world is being trampled. And we're mad as hell that we could go to war with no information, bad information and still no way out of it... This is the time for us to be mad as hell. This is the time for us to pick up the ballots, to register... to say that this land is our land, this country is our country, that flag belongs to us and not to them- and we will fight and we will win and we will continue. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York followed Congressman Rangel, starting off by paying tribute to the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan before noting that this November, America will hold its first presidential election since those horrendous terrorist attacks of September 11th that so deeply affected our country, especially my home State of New York. So many of us in New York think of those attacks every day. We think of them because we know that we must do everything we can to prevent them from ever happening again. Here in this hall, we have no doubt who will make America safer, stronger and more secure- John Kerry and John Edwards!
Congressman Ed Pastor of Arizona, co-chair of the Democratic National Committee, followed Senator Schumer. Pastor stated that we are now energized, as a Party and as a people, to make Honor and Opportunity the hallmarks of America once again... we will harness American ingenuity to make us independent of Middle East oil so never again an American will have to go to war for oil... let's get to work and elect the next President of the United States, John Kerry. Pastor was followed by Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont, who said that in an outpouring of international sympathy following the attacks of 9/11, thousands of people around the world played the Star Spangled Banner in public squares. NATO stepped forward to stand with us... But sadly, three short years later, most of that goodwill is gone, the result of a go-it-alone Administration that has pulled the United States out of treaty after treaty, they have alienated our allies, they have undermined our national security with a misguided rush to invade Iraq... America needs a new President, a new President who has the vision and the credibility to repair the damage the current Administration has done to America's reputation, a new President who understands that America can't just tell other nations what to do but we must also inspire them to do it, a new President who will once again restore wisdom and judgment to the White House, a new President named John Kerry!
Hennepin County, Minnesota Attorney Amy Klobuchar next came up to speak to the assembled: I come to you today as a prosecutor... you know, people think prosecutors see every conviction and every arrest as cause for celebration, but I'll tell you this: every time someone gets arrested, every time they get convicted, it is not a cause for celebration, it's a failure- it's a failure for the individual, it's a failure for the family and it's a failure for our Nation. Democrats know that the best way to fight crime is not only to be tough on criminals, but also to invest in kids. We want to see our children in the classroom, not in the courtroom- on the playground, not on the prison grounds... we cannot have two systems of Justice, one for the rich and powerful and one for everyone else- we are one America, we have one system of Justice.
She was followed by Raul Yzaguirre, the president of the National Council of 'La Raza', who noted that Hispanics, like all Americans, desire a government that stays off of our backs but stands by our sides. He was followed by former Senator John Glenn of Ohio, the first American to orbit the Earth and- later- the oldest man to go into Space, who expressed his concern about the erosion of America's commitment to... leadership in education and leadership in scientific research, noting that a commitment to education and research underpinned America's rise to greatness over the last hundred years. Next came environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., son of the New York Senator assassinated while running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968 and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance. I've been disciplined in being bipartisan and nonpartisan on [environmental] issues, Kennedy said. The worst thing that can happen to the environment is if it becomes the province of a single Party or a partisan issue. But, Kennedy noted, we have never had a President in this country who has made this kind of direct assault on all of our environmental laws... the second in command of EPA is a Monsanto lobbyist, the head of the Air Division is a utility lobbyist, the head of the Forest Service of the United States is a timber industry lobbyist, the head of Public Lands is a mining industry lobbyist... These people are not entering government service for the public interest, they are entering government service to subvert the very laws they are supposed to enforce... John Kerry knows that good environmental policy 100 percent of the time is good economic policy.
Jim Hahn, Mayor of Los Angeles was next at the dais, discussing the problems of urban crime. He was followed by Congressman Ciro Rodriguez of Texas who opined that, in America, we see our greatest reflection in our diversity and that with President Kerry we can- and will- make America strong. The next speaker was Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly who said that for 25 years, I have known and worked with John Kerry... As a young prosecutor in Middlesex, John Kerry was already a leader. He came to the office and said we could do better- and we did... John Kerry didn't just talk, he acted- and the John Kerry that I know will do the same in the White House. He was followed by Angelo Kyle, a County Commissioner from Lake County, Illinois and president of the National Association of Counties who noted that counties play a vital and growing role in the lives of America's families, bringing crucial services to communities... To serve our families well, America's counties need effective partners in the Federal Government and the White House. More and more, our local and national governments depend on each other, from homeland security to the running of elections, Americans expect county government and the federal government to work together. I believe that John Kerry and John Edwards will provide that cooperation and commitment and leadership.
Boston City Council President Michael Flaherty next took the podium: The American Dream must be possible for everyone- that is the promise of the Democratic Party. It is why I am a Democrat and it's why I ran for public office... that is why I want John Kerry to be our next President. I believe that we can put our country on a new course. I believe that we can bring change and progress to America. I know some people have given up hope but we have an opportunity to restore hope in 2004. Flaherty was followed by New York State Senate Democratic Leader David Patterson who humorously noted that as the first blind person to speak before a Democratic Party Convention, it is only appropriate that I be walked on stage by a woman named Ann Sullivan (a reference to the teacher of Helen Keller)... Today Americans are calling for an extraordinary man- a war hero and a peacetime leader. Who are they calling for? John Kerry!... I have a vision for New York State. I can't see it with my eyes but I feel it in my heart... John Kerry's vision of America... is a combination of what I see for New York and what you envision where you live.
Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights League and a former Massachusetts State Senator came to the podium. A lesbian herself, she argued that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans share the dream- the dream of a better, stronger and more united America. We protect our country, we died for our country: that's why we seek the right to serve openly and honestly in our Armed Forces to defend our freedoms and the rights of all American families... that, in part, is why we are working for Marriage Equality, so we can do what families do best- care for each other in sickness and in health. Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Firefighters, followed Ms. Jacques after a short film about Senator Kerry's support for the gritty work of firefighters. These firefighters are proud to stand with John Kerry and John Edwards, Schaitberger declared, because they know that more than half the communities in our country don't have the staffing. We don't have the equipment, we don't have the funding that they need to do the job they're asked to do in these times of new threats to our Nation... I don't know about you but, for the last 3 1/2 years, all we've been getting is a raw deal and that's why now it is up to all of us, this November, to give America the real deal... join us in electing a courageous leader and a real American hero as President of the United States, John Kerry!
At this point, Convention Permanent Chairman Bill Richardson came to the podium to announce the start of the formal Presidential Nomination Process.
The nominating speech on behalf of Senator Kerry, the only candidate on whose behalf nominating petitions had been filed (obviously) by the deadline of 6 PM EDT (2200 UTC) the day before, was delivered by California Senator Dianne Feinstein who described the Massachusetts Senator as a man who is skilled, capable and experienced, someone who has dedicated his life to serving this Nation. Ms. Feinstein noted that we face unprecedented threats at home and abroad. My friends, this election is the test of our time, for no less is at stake than the character of our Nation. But we've got a strong, new leader prepared and ready to confront these challenges and lead this Nation to a better tomorrow. That's why I am so proud to place into nomination John Kerry to be the 44th President of these United States.
The first of two seconding speeches on behalf of Senator Kerry was delivered by Mayor Michael Coleman of Columbus, Ohio who noted that homeland security means hometown security. Cities and towns across the country are on the front lines of national defense, the front lines in the global war on terrorism, a line drawn on the main streets in every hometown of our Nation. Safety and security are not abstract ideas- they are the most basic services provided in America... America's best days are still ahead when we can trust that our leaders understand that hometown security also means economic security for families... John Kerry is a leader I trust. I trust him to tell me the truth, a trust of the highest order. I trust him to keep us secure from terrorism and give us a chance for economic success at home... I proudly second the nomination of Senator John Kerry as the next President of the United States of America.
The final speech on behalf of Senator Kerry was offered by 21-year-old Eimy Santiago of Springfield, Massachusetts who was helped by an organization called YouthBuild, set up to aid troubled youth. YouthBuild changed my life, Ms. Santiago said: YouthBuild has no greater champion than John Kerry... America needs a President who means it when we say we will leave no child behind.
After the period for presidential nomination speeches was formally closed (again, John Kerry being the only person formally being considered for that nomination), there was a 15-minute recess until, at 6:50 PM (2250 UTC), the Convention resumed- at which time Permanent Chairman Richardson turned the gavel over to another vice-chair of the Convention, the former Mayor of Denver, Colorado, Wellington Webb. Webb then introduced Ashley Bell, president of College Democrats of America
Now is the time that we must rededicate ourselves to the young sons and daughters of our Nation, Bell declared. Neighborhood Democrats taught me that no matter how big or small your town, or what side of town you live on, we're all just neighbors... We believe that streets, highways and railroad tracks are not what divide us- they are what connect us all. Today no American, young or old, can deny that we live in divided times. We were promised that bridges would be built to connect us but, instead, barriers to separate us have taken their place. But I know and trust that John Kerry will unite us again as a leader of 50 States, not 50 percent- a President not of red and blue States but for red, white and blue- for all States, for all our people, for our one America that we all believe in.
Bell's comments were followed by a short film entitled 'If I Had A Minute With The President' (in which children were filmed talking about what they would ask or tell the President of the United States if they could) which, in turn, was followed by a performance by Wyclef Jean.
The next speaker was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the founder and president of PUSH and the Rainbow Coalition who was also an unsuccessful contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in both 1984 and 1988. Tonight, Rev. Jackson began, the pendulum swings from Pain to Possibilities, from Hurt to Hope, from Darkness to Light. The line of progress is unbroken. Echoing the comments of his Congressman son before the Convention the evening before, Jackson declared: The pendulum swings, the morning cometh. In the darkness of 2000, the winners lost and the losers won. Jewish voters in West Palm Beach, immigrants stopped at the polls, a million Black votes cast but not counted- this must never ever happen again!... Every child- red, yellow, brown, black and white- deserves a constitutional right to an equal, high quality public education... Hope cometh in the morning for our children who were sent to war in Iraq on bad intelligence and worse leadership. Sent to fight a war that's foreign to our values and leaves us weaker and less secure. Sent to a war in Iraq where words of mass deception are more apparent than weapons of mass destruction. It is a moral disgrace: America deserves better.
Rev. Jackson went on: Out of the darkness of the Bushes, we see the soaring of an authentic American Eagle on the horizon. Citing Senator Kerry's war record (in which Kerry saved the men under his command), Jackson opined that's what leaving no one behind really means- when you put your life on the line... In 96 days [meaning Election Day, Tuesday 2 November], dark clouds will roll away, children can rejoice, Lady Liberty will be unmasked and unshackled... she can stretch forth in all of her splendor, free... come November, let the eagles fly to Washington... it's time to bring our troops home and send Bush back to Texas.
Mayor Martin O'Malley of Baltimore, Maryland followed Rev. Jackson. We must choose a new President, O'Malley offered, who will lead us in providing for the common defense no matter what the sacrifice and that new President is John Kerry. Sadly, and unforgivably, almost three years after that fateful day [meaning 11 September 2001]... America's cities and towns, America's ports and borders, and America's heartland remain needlessly vulnerable- three years later... When citizens dial 911, it is a local call: the phone doesn't ring at the White House... My friends, John Kerry knows we cannot properly fund America's homeland security on local property taxes and fire hall Bingo... John Kerry will lead the long-stalled effort to improve homeland security not with empty words and rhetoric but with action.
New Mexico Secretary of Education Veronica Garcia, the next speaker, noted that my dreams became a reality because I was fortunate to have access to a quality public education. Today, this is not true for all children in America... I believe that the Kerry/Edwards ticket represents strong values and commitment. I support John Kerry and John Edwards because they have demonstrated that they value Education as the path to opportunity for all Americans. Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York, a co-chair of the Rules Committee, followed, saying that, for President, I wanted a candidate who knew how to protect America, I wanted a candidate who would wage a winning war against terrorism, a candidate who would make America safe- not just safer. I say to you tonight, John Kerry is that candidate... I saw a man of courage who knows that war should always be the last resort, never the first option.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate Democratic Whip, came to the podium to say: Senator John Kerry is from New England but he learned the same things I did. Senator John Edwards was born and raised in the South and, in the factories there, he learned about hard work and he learned about hope. We all learned about the importance and the dignity of hard work. That's why John Kerry will create millions of new, good jobs... that's why John Kerry will make our schools better so that every child can get a quality education ... we agree that Nevada should be a proving ground for alternative energy, not a dumping ground for nuclear waste; that's why... he'll lead us to energy independence.
The first of the unsuccessful contenders for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination to speak to the Convention this particular evening was Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. We Democrats, in Convention, united, Kucinich began, we who built this country with the sweat of our brow... who build the bridges, who sleep under the bridges- who hunger for food... we Democrats, assembled, united for John Kerry, united to recreate our Nation with the power of the ballot, to transform it with the power of the human heart and the power of the human spirit. Out of many, we Democrats are one... and we are one for John Kerry. We will carry America for Kerry and Kerry will carry America for us! We remember who we are...we are the Party of Worker's Rights, Civil Rights and Women's Rights.... When we show up, holding the banner of social and economic justice, we win!
After Kucinich had finished speaking, it now being 8 PM EDT (0000 UTC), vice-chair Webb called the Convention to order-- again, as had been the case on the previous two evenings. As also had been the case on the previous two evenings, there were live video feeds from places where ordinary Democrats were gathered-- on this evening, these groups were in Denver, Detroit, Manchester, NH, and Senator John Edwards' hometown of Robbins, North Carolina. The National Anthem was sung by Brian McKnight.
The first speaker of this Prime Time session was Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. We are living in difficult times, Cummings said, but difficulty and danger are nothing new to Americans. We are a People of tremendous courage and unbelievable faith... As Americans, though, we will not live in a spirit of Fear and we will be strong in defending our Freedom and our Civil Liberties. And I have a special message for anyone who might try to keep us from the voting booth this year: we will exercise our constitutional right to vote! We are determined to ensure the integrity of our voting system and, this time, all of our votes will be counted!
The next speaker was retired Marine colonel Steve Brozak, a candidate for Congress from New Jersey. if you had told me 18 months ago, Brozak began, that I would end up addressing the Democratic Convention, I would have said you were crazy. You see, up until then, I was a Republican. But not any more!... You see, I didn't change. My belief in what makes a patriot never changed, my belief in a national security policy that makes us truly safer didn't change and my belief that you only send Americans into a war with honest purpose and plans for peace didn't change. What changed was the direction of the Republican Party. So I did the only honorable thing and I changed Parties and I became a Democrat!... The Republican Party left me behind, so I had no choice but to leave the Republican Party behind... To keep America safe, to defeat al-Qa'eda, we need both smart bombs and wise policy... John Kerry understands this... John Kerry is a leader and this Marine will proudly follow John Kerry into battle... John Kerry will give our men and women who serve in uniform solid support instead of hollow rhetoric.
The next speaker before the Convention was another unsuccessful 2004 presidential contender, the Rev. Al Sharpton, who declared: Tonight we stand with Freedom at risk and our security as citizens in question. I have come here tonight to say the only choice we have to preserve our Freedom at this point in History is to elect John Kerry the President of the United States. I stood with both John Kerry and John Edwards on over thirty occasions in debates during the Primary season. I not only debated them, I watched them- I observed their deeds, I looked into their eyes. I am convinced that they are men who say what they mean and mean what they say. I'm also convinced that at a time when a vicious spirit in the body politic of this country attempts to undermine America's freedom- our Civil Rights, our Civil Liberties, we must leave this city and go forth and organize this Nation for victory for our Party and John Kerry and John Edwards in November. Let me quickly say: this is not just about winning an election, it's about preserving the principles on which this Nation was founded. Look at the current view of our Nation worldwide as a result of our unilateral Foreign Policy... We can't survive in this world by ourselves!...
We are also faced with the prospect that, in the next four years, two or more Supreme Court Justices' seats will become available. This year we celebrated the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education... I suggest to you tonight that, if George W. Bush had selected the Court in '54, Clarence Thomas would never have gotten into law school... This is not about a Party, it is about the promise of America... the promise of America is that Government does not seek to regulate your behavior in the bedroom, but to guarantee your right to provide food in the kitchen; the issue of government is not to determine who can be sleeping together in the bedroom, it is to help those who might not be eating in the kitchen.... we cannot look at the Latino community and preach One Language: no one gave them an English test before they sent them to Iraq to fight for America. The promise of America is that every citizen's vote is counted and protected and election schemes do not decide the election. To me, it's a glaring contradiction that we would fight, and rightfully so, to get the right to vote for the people in the capital of Iraq, in Baghdad, but still don't give the Federal right to vote to those in the capital of the United States, in Washington, DC... The reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so seriously is our right to vote wasn't gained because of our ages, our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs... this vote is sacred to us, this vote can't be bargained away, this vote can't be given away... our vote is not for sale!
I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put her cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride the subways in Brooklyn so I would have food on the table. But she taught me as I walked her to that subway that life is about not where you start but where you're going- that's Family Values! And I wanted somebody in my community-- I wanted to show that example, as I ran for President. I hoped that one child could come out of the ghetto like I did, could look at me walk across the stage with Governors and Senators and know they didn't have to be a drug dealer, they didn't have to be a hooker, they didn't have to be a gangster: they could come from a broken home, on welfare, and they could run for President of the United States.
And, as you know, I live in New York. I was there September 11th when that despicable act of terrorism happened. A few days after... I had to do a radio show... When I got there, my friend said "Reverend, we're going to stop at a certain hour and play a song synchronized with 990 other stations... we're dedicating it to the victims of 9/11". I said "what song are you playing?" He said "we're playing America the Beautiful". The particular station I was at, they played that rendition sung by Ray Charles.... I sat there that morning and listened to Ray singing through those speakers... it occurred to me, as I heard Ray singing, that Ray wasn't singing about what he knew, for Ray had been blind since he was a child: he hadn't seen many purple mountains, he hadn't seen many fruited plains- he was singing about what he believed to be... we love America, not because all of us have seen the beauty all the time- but we believed, if we kept on working, if we kept on marching, if we kept on voting, if we kept on believing, we could make America beautiful for everybody. Starting in November, let's make America beautiful again!
Rev. Sharpton was followed by Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who had been a contender for the presidential nomination in 2004 but who had been the first to withdraw from the race, even before the first primaries and caucuses. Florida has made a difference to me, Graham said. I know that we are going to make a difference for John Kerry and John Edwards and, friends, this time, when the votes are counted, we are going to make a huge difference in Florida for America... The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States tells us that one of the most important responsibilities of government is to provide for the common defense... Think about this: it has been over one thousand days since terrorists attacked us on September 11th and changed our Nation. One thousand days after Pearl Harbor, America had landed its troops on the beaches of Normandy and we were rolling to victory in World War II. In the same amount of time, in this new war on terror, we have not yet secured the beachhead. John Kerry and John Edwards will.
Graham was followed by Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania who spoke to the Convention about the issue of energy independence: Because we lack a sound energy policy, we are forced to deal with tyrants who fund terrorists in order to keep the lights on in our homes and fuel our cars. Our foreign policy is skewed; our values are compromised- and we are paying a price... We're losing jobs, our economy is hurting and middle class families are feeling the squeeze: all because America is too dependent on foreign oil, oil that flows on the whim of world events and, too often, from the wells of dictators. John Kerry knows that, to build a stronger America, we must do better... that's why tonight- here in the birthplace of the American Revolution- we must declare our independence again, our energy independence. We must elect a President to lead us toward a safer, stronger America - an America free from the tyranny of foreign oil: we must elect John Kerry!
After a performance by John Mellencamp, Governor Bill Richardson- the Permanent Chairman of the Convention- spoke: I don't need to tell you the world is a dangerous place... Al-Qa'eda is the heir to enemies who have defeated us before: today's equivalent of Nazis and Fascists who hate the values at the core of the American way of life: Democracy and Pluralism. Diversity and Tolerance. Innovation and Achievement. Strength and Freedom. And the fate of al-Qa'eda will be the same as those other tyrants and thugs- we will defeat them.
Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan next addressed the Convention, saying: The most important thoroughfares of the American trail to Freedom are those that lead to economic strength and prosperity. But, for too many across this country, it seems that we have lost our way. We need a new leader and a new direction... We want trade, lots of trade, with other countries- robust trade, but we want it to be fair trade. John Kerry will fight to enforce our trade agreements.
After Governor Granholm had finished her speech, vice-chair Webb called the attention of the assembled to the three former Democratic presidential nominees who were present on the Convention floor but who would not be speaking to the delegates from the podium at this Convention: 1972 nominee George McGovern, 1984 nominee Walter Mondale and 1988 nominee Michael Dukakis. Then retired US Army Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy introduced retired Army General and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, John Shalikashvili, who said: I do not stand here as a political figure; rather, I am here as an old soldier and a new Democrat. I am a new Democrat because I believe strongly that John Kerry and John Edwards are the right choice for American security and the right choice for America. We live in a dangerous time: terrorists have attacked here at home and they continue to strike around the world- and the greatest danger before us is that, somehow, these terrorists will get their hands on weapons of mass destruction... We must not again allow ourselves be distracted from the relentless pursuit of these terrorists.
You see, I believe in John Kerry. As a young man, he heeded his country's call to service when this country of ours needed him. He commanded in combat and did so with bravery and great distinction. And so he knows from experience the commander's responsibility to his troops- and so he stands with our troops and with their families- and that is why I stand with John Kerry.
Cate Edwards, the 22-year-old daughter of the still-presumptive vice-presidential nominee (since John Edwards' nomination- as well as, for that matter, John Kerry's- had yet to be formalized), came before the Convention to introduce her mother, Elizabeth, who said, of Teresa Heinz Kerry: [she] represents the victory of spirit and will over tyranny and tragedy and she will be the most generous First Lady in the history of this country. I am so honored to stand with her. Of John Kerry, Mrs. Edwards said: He has the right stuff. Then Mrs. Edwards introduced her husband: I married a man with the right stuff, too. He found his own way to serve... and now he serves the great State of North Carolina in the United States Senate... and he called attention to the threat of terrorism before September 11th... I married him because he was the single most optimistic person that I have ever known: he knew there was a brighter day ahead, even as he swept the floors of the cotton mill as a high school student... my rock, my love and your next Vice President, John Edwards.
At this, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina strode out onto the stage. I am so humbled to be your candidate for Vice President of the United States, the North Carolinian began. I want to talk about our next President. For those who want to know what kind of leader he'll be, I want to take you back about 30 years. When John Kerry graduated from college, he volunteered for military service, volunteered to go to Vietnam, volunteered to captain a swift boat, one of the most dangerous duties in Vietnam that you could have. As a result he was wounded, honored for his valor... decisive, strong, is this not what we need in a Commander in Chief?
You know, we hear a lot of talk about values, Edwards said. Where I come from, you don't judge somebody's values based on how they use that word in a political ad. You judge their values based upon what they've spent their life doing. So when a man volunteers to serve his country; when a man volunteers and put his life on the line for others, that's a man who represents real American values. This is a man who is prepared to keep the American People safe, to make America stronger at home and more respected in the world...
You know, for the last few months, John has been traveling around the country, talking about his positive, optimistic vision for America... But what have we seen? Relentless, negative attacks against John... Aren't you sick of it? They are doing all they can to take the campaign for the highest office in the land down the lowest possible road. But this is where you come in: between now and November, you- the American People, you can reject this tired old hateful, negative politics of the past and, instead, you can embrace the politics of hope, the politics of what's possible, because this is America where everything is possible.
I am here tonight for a very simple reason: because I love my country- and I have every reason to love my country. I have grown up in the bright light of America... I have had such incredible opportunities in my life... I had opportunities beyond my wildest dreams and the heart of this campaign... is to make sure all Americans have exactly the same kind of opportunities I did: no matter where you live, no matter who your family is, no matter what the color of your skin- this is the America we believe in... I stand here tonight, ready to work with you and John to make America stronger. And we have much work to do, because the truth is: we still live in a country where there are two different 'America's- one for all those people who have lived the American Dream and don't have to worry and another for most Americans- everybody else- who struggle to make ends meet every single day. It doesn't have to be that way. We can build one America...
Together, we will ensure that the image of America, the image all of us love: America, this great shining light- this beacon of Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights that the world looks up to- is always lit. And the truth is that every child, every family, in America will be safer and more secure if they grow up in a world in which America is once again looked up to and respected. That is the world we can create together... Let's ensure that once again, in our one America, tomorrow will always be better than today.
After a long period of celebration which followed Senator Edwards' speech leading up to 11 PM EDT (0300 UTC), it was time for the Roll Call of the States- the Presidential Nominating Roll Call, the results of which are tabulated below.
The roll call was completed at just after 12:15 AM EDT (0415 UTC), after which Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church gave the Benediction. Then Permanent Chairman Richardson, noting for the record that the Convention had earlier heard from the Party's new Vice-Presidential Candidate and had also formally nominated Senator John Kerry as the Party's Presidential Candidate, moved that the Convention recess until 4 PM EDT (2000 UTC) on Thursday, the Convention so recessing by motion adopted viva voce.