Transcript for President Obama Before He Was a Senator Speaks at the 2004 DNC
But in Illinois. We have a senate candidate. Who continues in the great tradition of Paul Simon. A tradition -- honesty. A tradition of fairness. Who -- that candidate. You've got it. And let me tell you about this Barack Obama. He is a candidate for the senate. Whose -- celebrates the opportunity of America. A candidate for the senate. Whose family reflects the hope of an embracing nation. A candidate for the senate. Whose values rekindle our faith in a new generation. And a candidate. Who has the extraordinary. Gift to bring people together. Up all different backgrounds I've -- I've witnessed it. In the 1970s. I served as a -- for Paul -- I was sent to Caro the dollar. A tiny town of the southern most part of our state. The town that was in the wake of terrible racial strife. The gulf between blacks and whites. -- wide and almost seemed hopeless. This year I returned to -- Illinois. -- found what in the 1970s. Would have been unthinkable. A gathering of hundreds of people black and white. All wearing campaign buttons for Barack Obama. A. -- this election. Illinois. The United States senate and America will have a man. Who could help heal the divisions of our nation. The next senator from the state of Illinois. Barack Obama. The it. It. Thank you so much. Thank you thank you so much. Thank you so much thank you. Thank you Dick Durbin. You make us all proud. -- -- Of the great state of Illinois. Crossroads of a nation and land of Lincoln. Let me express my deepest gratitude. For the privilege of addressing this convention. The night of the particular honor for me because let's face it. My presence on this page is pretty unlikely. My father with a foreign student. Born and raised in a small village in -- He grew up herding -- Went to school and a tin -- -- his father my grandfather. -- a -- a domestic servant to the British. But my grandfather had larger dreams for -- not. Through hard work and perseverance. My father got a scholarship to study in a magical place. America. That shown at the beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many would come before. While studying here. My father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world intent. Her father worked on oil rigs and armed revolt of the depression. The day after Pearl Harbor my grandfather signed up Perdue. Joined patton's army marched across Europe. Back home my grandmother raise the baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war they studied on the GI bill bought a house -- FHA. And later moved west all the way to Hawaii in search of opportunity. And they to have big dreams for their daughter. A common dream born of two -- My parents shared not only an improbable love they share an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. It would give me an African name Barack. Or -- believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier -- threat. They imagine. Imagine me going to the best school. In the land even though they weren't rich because in a generous America you don't have to be rich. To achieve your potential. There -- both passed -- now. And yet I know that on this night -- don't look down on me would break right. They stand here and I stand here today. Grateful for the diversity of my heritage. Aware that my parents' dreams live on in my two precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story that. I owe a debt all of those who came before me and that in no other country on earth is my story even possible. Tonight. We gather to a firm. The greatness of our nation. Not because of the -- of our skyscrapers. Or the power -- military or the size of our economy our pride is based on a very simple premise. Summed up in a declaration made over 200 years ago. We hold these truths to be felt bad. That all men are created -- But they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Back. Is the true genius of America. -- -- faith -- simple dreams. And insistence. On small -- That we can talk get our children at night. And know that -- -- -- implode and safe from harm. We can say what we think -- what we think without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business. Without paying -- -- That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution and that our votes will be counted. At least most of the time. -- here in this election we are called. To reaffirm our values and our commitments to hold them against a hard reality and -- you know we're measuring up. The legacy of our forbearance and the promise of future generations. And fellow Americans Democrats. Republicans. Independents I say to you tonight we had more work to do. More work that don't. For the workers -- -- dale Bert Delano. We're losing their union jobs of the Maytag plant that's moving to Mexico. And now having to compete with their own children for -- -- pay seven -- -- -- -- to -- for the father that I met who was losing his job and choking back the tears wondering how he would pay 4500 dollars a month. For the drugs his son needs without the help benefit the accountable. More to do with the young woman anything -- and thousands more like her. You have the Braves have the drive has the well but doesn't have the money to go to college. Now don't get me wrong the people I meet in small towns and big cities and diners. And office parks they don't expect government to solve all the problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to. -- -- the collar counties around Chicago and people tell you they don't want their tax money wasted by welfare agency or by the Pentagon. -- -- -- that any inner city neighborhood. And folks will tell you. The government alone can't teach our kids to learn they know the parents have to teach the children can achieve unless we raise -- expectations. And turn up the television sets and eradicate the slander that says black youth with a book -- acting like they know those things. People don't expect. People don't expect government to solve all the problems. But -- sense deep in their -- -- would -- slight change of priorities we can make sure that every child in America have a decent shot like. And the doors of opportunity remain open to all they know we can do better. And they want that shorts. In this election we offer that sources. Our party has chosen a man to lead up one body is the best this country have proper and that man is John Kerry. The -- John Kerry understands the ideals of community. Faith and service because -- defined -- like. From its heroic service to Vietnam -- -- -- the prosecutor and lieutenant governor of two decades in the United States senate he's the voted himself to this country. Again and again we've seen -- make tough choices went easier ones were available his values. And his record. Up -- what is best enough. John Kerry believes an America -- hard work is rewarded. So instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas he offers them to companies creating jobs here at home. John Kerry believes that in America. We're all Americans can afford the same health coverage are politicians in Washington have put themselves. John Kerry. Believe -- energy independence. We are held hostage to the profits the oil companies or that sabotaged a -- oilfield. John Kerry believed in the constitutional freedoms that have made our country the envy of the world. And he -- never sacrifice our basic liberties. Or use bait as a wedge to -- -- And John Kerry believes. That in a dangerous world. War must be an option sometimes but it should never be the first option. You know. -- -- -- Awhile back I'm -- a young man named -- in -- VFW hall in east Moline Illinois. -- Republican kit fixed route 63 clear -- within easy smile. He told me he joined the Marines and with heading to Iraq the following week. And other analysts and fix them explain why he didn't let's. The absolute faith -- had in our country and its leaders is devotion to duty and service I thought. This young man with all of that any of us might ever hope -- it's not. But then I asked myself. Are we serving. Seamus as well as he's serving us. I thought of the 900. Men and women sons and daughters husbands and wives friends and neighbors who won't be returning to their own hometowns. Lot of the families I've met who were struggling to get back without a loved ones all income or -- loved ones had returned with a -- missing. -- nerves shattered but still -- long term health benefits because they were reservists. When we send. -- young men and women into harm's way. We have a solemn obligation. Not to -- the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going to care for their families while they're gone to attend to the -- upon their return. That's another. Another go to war. The troops to win the war the -- the U. And -- Now. Well let me be clear let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued. And they must be defeated. John Kerry knows that's. And -- lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men. Who served -- in Vietnam president Kerry will not hesitate one moment. Use our military might to keep America safe and secure. John Kerry believes in America. And he knows that it's not enough -- a film about the profit. -- alongside our famous individualism. There's another ingredient. In the American -- Believe there were all connected as one people. If there are the child on the Southside of Chicago who can't read that matters to me even -- but not much. If -- the thing. -- citizen somewhere who can't pay for their prescription drugs and having to choose between medicine and the rent. -- -- -- -- or even if that's not my grandparents. Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney -- -- prop -- -- run my equivalent. A it is the fundamental -- It is that fundamental belief. I am my brother's keeper I am -- the -- keeper that makes this country work. It's what allows self report lower individual -- And yet still come together as one American Sam. Now even as we speak. There are those were preparing to the but the spin masters negative ad peddlers who embraced the politics of anything go. Well. -- -- -- -- There is not a liberal America and a conservative America there of the United States of America. The Black America and -- white America and not -- America. -- The pundits. The pundits like to fly -- back our country in the red states. And Blue States. Red state for Republicans Blue States for Democrats but I've gotten them through we worst of -- often god in the Blue States. And we don't like federal -- welcome to run an elaborate on the red state. We coach Little League and the Blue States and yet we got them Geithner and then the red states. The -- -- the war in Iraq. And the -- and supported the war in Iraq we don't want people all of us pledging allegiance -- the -- right. All about the pending the United States of America. A in the end. In the end in the -- That's what this election of the battle. Do we participate. In a politics of cynicism. Or do we participate. In a politics of hope. John Kerry called on -- -- -- John Edwards -- -- to hope I'm not talking about blind optimism here. Almost willful ignorance -- -- unemployment won't go away if we just don't think about it. -- health care crisis to default itself if we just -- that's not what I'm talking about I'm talking about something more substantial. The hope of slaves sitting round of fires and freedoms. The -- of immigrants setting up the -- just -- -- The hold of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta. The hope of -- mill workers son who dared to defy the -- the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believe that America have a place for him to. Well. Club in the face a difficult -- -- in the leg. Of uncertainty. The audacity. Of hope in the end -- that is God's greatest gift the bedrock of. This nation a belief in things not thing. A belief that -- better days ahead I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road opportune. I believe we can provide job of the job with home that the homeless and reclaim young people -- -- -- -- America from violence and despair. I believe that we have a right to -- that are backed. And that -- we spent on the crossroads the Pittsburgh we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face -- America. -- night. If you appealed the same energy that I do it you don't defend -- -- that I do if you feel the same passion that I do if you feel that they -- -- that that I do simply doing what we must do and I have no doubt. All across the country from Florida but what Oregon from watching that -- man. People will -- in November and John Kerry will be sworn that president and John Edwards will be sworn in that -- resident. And this country will -- limit comment. And out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come. Thank you very much everybody got. -- -- -- -- --
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