Transcript of Rev. Jesse Jackson's Convention Speech

In Texas, 1.5 million children live in poverty. Ten percent of the nation’s poor, 500,000, are eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program but can’t get it because of bureaucracy. Six hundred thousand eligible for Medicare but they can’t get it.

Don’t mess with Texas. Last in children’s health care, last in environmental protection, third worst state to raise a child, the fourth worst drop-out rate, and 38th in teacher’s salary. Don’t mess with Texas any more. Don’t mess with New York and California. Don’t mess with Illinois.

Don’t mess with America.

Don’t mess with America.

Let us go forward.

What (inaudible) it is is, a one big tent and there are struggles within our party. We cannot duck the challenge of making the global economy work for working people, or fair trade, protecting labor rights and the environment so we lift wages at home and abroad, not just drive them down at home.

We affirm protest. We must make room for protesters and turn their idealism and creative energy into progress; build on their tradition. In 1960, public accommodations was a protest; in ’64 it was a law. In ’64, the right to vote was a protest; in ’65 it was a law.

In ’88, affirming PLO and Israel talking was a protest; today it is law. Free Mandela was a protest; today it is law.

We must fight for protest and progress to make America better.

We must fight to include all Americans. We can not keep fighting a failed war on drugs; it must be a war against drug addiction. We can’t keep spending more on prisons than on colleges.

When Governor Ryan of Illinois can — says because those who are dying are mostly black, brown, poor, don’t have a lawyer, mistaken identity or wrongful convictions, we must not risk killing innocent people. There must be a moratorium on the death penalty until there is fairness for everybody.

As I close my friends, one thing I’m convince of, within our party we can fight for the right to do what’s right. We can change. We can challenge. We can agree to disagree. We can agree to be agreeable. But we’re a family.

When I look at these two teams and these two choices, Papa Bush gave us Clarence Thomas.

Baby Bush gave us an end to affirmative action and women’s right for self-determination in Florida. George W. will not stand against — for hate crime legislation. I say, America, stay out the Bushes. Stay out the Bushes. Stay out the Bushes.

Stay out the Bushes. Stay out.

My brothers and my sisters, your vote counts. And you count, and you matter. In 1960, Kennedy beat Nixon by 112,000 votes, less than one vote per precinct. Every vote counts.

In 1960, we won by the margin of our hope. In ’68, Dr. King was killed, Robert Kennedy killed, explosion in Chicago, we were in despair, we lost to Nixon by 500,000 votes. We lost by despair.

In ’76, again, we came together. Carter beat Ford by 1.7 million. Every vote counts, and everybody counts.

One vote decided that America would speak English rather than German in 1776. One vote kept Aaron Burr, later charged with treason, from becoming our president. One vote made Texas part of the United States of America in 1845. One vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic. One vote has the power to change our course.

And so tonight, I say, America, if we don’t have a prosperity deficit disorder, there’s more with Gore, more health care with Gore, more education with Gore, more health with Gore, more wages with Gore, more freedom with Gore, more strength with Gore, more security with Gore, more prosperity with Gore, it’s more and Gore.

It’s more and Gore. Keep hope alive. Keep hope alive. Keep hope alive. Louder.

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