AL Sharpton’s Speech

I am not a fan of Rev. Al Sharpton, but I have to give the man props for his speech last night. He stated eloquently the reason why most black people are Democrats. Below is the pertinent excerpt:

Mr. President, as I close, Mr. President, I heard you say Friday that you had questions for voters, particularly African- American voters. And you asked the question: Did the Democratic Party take us for granted? Well, I have raised questions. But let me answer your question.
You said the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It is true that Mr. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, after which there was a commitment to give 40 acres and a mule.
That’s where the argument, to this day, of reparations starts. We never got the 40 acres. We went all the way to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres.
We didn’t get the mule. So we decided we’d ride this donkey as far as it would take us.
Mr. President, you said would we have more leverage if both parties got our votes, but we didn’t come this far playing political games. It was those that earned our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under Democrats.
Mr. President, 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 age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of good men (inaudible) soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us.
This vote can’t be bargained away.
This vote can’t be given away.
Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale.

Damn! Can I get an amen?!!!! To read the full text of speech, click below.


Wednesday, July 28, 2004 · Last updated 6:41 p.m. PT
Text of Al Sharpton’s convention speech
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
A text of a speech by Al Sharpton, delivered at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, as transcribed by e-Media, Inc.:
Thank you.
Tonight I want to address my remarks in two parts.
One, I’m honored to address the delegates here.
Last Friday, I had the experience in Detroit of hearing President George Bush make a speech. And in the speech, he asked certain questions. I hope he’s watching tonight. I would like to answer your questions, Mr. President.
To the chairman, our delegates, and all that are assembled, we’re honored and glad to be here tonight.
I’m glad to be joined by supporters and friends from around the country. I’m glad to be joined by my family, Kathy, Dominique, who will be 18, and Ashley.
We are here 228 years after right here in Boston we fought to establish the freedoms of America. The first person to die in the Revolutionary War is buried not far from here, a Black man from Barbados, named Crispus Attucks.
Forty years ago, in 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party stood at the Democratic convention in Atlantic City fighting to preserve voting rights for all America and all Democrats, regardless of race or gender.
Hamer’s stand inspired Dr. King’s march in Selma, which brought about the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Twenty years ago, Reverend Jesse Jackson stood at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, again, appealing to the preserve those freedoms.
Tonight, we stand with those freedoms at risk and our security as citizens in question.
I have come here tonight to say, that the only choice we have to preserve our freedoms 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 30 occasions 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 that attempts to undermine America’s freedoms — our civil rights, and 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.
And let me quickly say, this is not just about winning an election. It’s about preserving the principles on which this very nation was founded.
Look at the current view of our nation worldwide as a results of our unilateral foreign policy. We went from unprecedented international support and solidarity on September 12, 2001, to hostility and hatred as we stand here tonight. We can’t survive in the world by ourselves.
How did we squander this opportunity to unite the world for democracy and to commit to a global fight against hunger and disease?
This court has voted five to four on critical issues of women’s rights and civil rights. It is frightening to think that the gains of civil and women rights and those movements in the last century could be reversed if this administration is in the White House in these next four years.
I suggest to you tonight that if George Bush had selected the court in ’54, Clarence Thomas would have never got to law school.
This is not about a party. This is about living up to the promise of America. The promise of America says we will guarantee quality education for all children and not spend more money on metal detectors than computers in our schools.
The promise of America guarantees health care for all of its citizens and doesn’t force seniors to travel to Canada to buy prescription drugs they can’t afford here at home.
We did it with a go-it-alone foreign policy based on flawed intelligence. We were told that we were going to Iraq because there were weapons of mass destruction. We’ve lost hundreds of soldiers. We’ve spent $200 billion dollars at a time when we had record state deficits. And when it became clear that there were no weapons, they changed the premise for the war and said: No, we went because of other reasons.
If I told you tonight, Let’s leave the Fleet Center, we’re in danger, and when you get outside, you ask me, Reverend Al, What is the danger? and I say, It don’t matter. We just needed some fresh air, I have misled you and we were misled.
We are also faced with the prospect of in the next four years that two or more of the Supreme Court Justice seats will become available. This year we celebrated the anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education.
The promise of America provides that those who work in our health care system can afford to be hospitalized in the very beds they clean up every day.
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 may sleep together in the bedroom, it’s to help those that might not be eating in the kitchen.
The promise of America that we stand for human rights, whether it’s fighting against slavery in the Sudan, where right now Joe Madison and others are fasting, around what is going on in the Sudan; AIDS in Lesotho; a police misconduct in this country.
The promise of America is one immigration policy for all who seek to enter our shores, whether they come from Mexico, Haiti or Canada, there must be one set of rules for everybody.
We cannot welcome those to come and then try and act as though any culture will not be respected or treated inferior. 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 vote is counted and protected, and election schemes do not decide the election.
It, to me, is 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 for the people in the capital of the United States, in Washington, D.C.
Mr. President, as I close, Mr. President, I heard you say Friday that you had questions for voters, particularly African- American voters. And you asked the question: Did the Democratic Party take us for granted? Well, I have raised questions. But let me answer your question.
You said the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It is true that Mr. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, after which there was a commitment to give 40 acres and a mule.
That’s where the argument, to this day, of reparations starts. We never got the 40 acres. We went all the way to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres.
We didn’t get the mule. So we decided we’d ride this donkey as far as it would take us.
Mr. President, you said would we have more leverage if both parties got our votes, but we didn’t come this far playing political games. It was those that earned our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under Democrats.
Mr. President, 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 age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of good men (inaudible) soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us.
This vote can’t be bargained away.
This vote can’t be given away.
Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale.
And there’s a whole generation of young leaders that have come forward across this country that stand on integrity and stand on their traditions, those that have emerged with John Kerry and John Edwards as partners, like Greg Meeks, like Barack Obama, like our voter registration director, Marjorie Harris, like those that are in the trenches.
And we come with strong family values. Family values is not just those with two-car garages and a retirement plan. Retirement plans are good. But family values also are those who had to make nothing stretch into something happening, who had to make ends meet.
I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put a 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 the 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 would 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 hoodlum, they didn’t have to be a gangster, they could stand up from a broken home, on welfare, and they could run for president of the United States.
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 left home, my family had taken in a young man who lost his family. And as they gave comfort to him, I had to do a radio show that morning. When I got there, my friend James Entome (ph) said, Reverend, we’re going to stop at a certain hour and play a song, synchronized with 990 other stations.
I said, That’s fine.
He said, We’re dedicating it to the victims of 9/11.
I said, What song are you playing?
He said America the Beautiful. The particular station I was at, the played that rendition song by Ray Charles.
As you know, we lost Ray a few weeks ago, but I sat there that morning and listened to Ray sing through those speakers, Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains’ majesty across the fruited plain.
And it occurred to me as I heard Ray singing, that Ray wasn’t singing about what he knew, because 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.
Mr. President, 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 would make America beautiful for everybody.
Starting in November, let’s make America beautiful again.
Thank you. And God bless you.

8 Comments
  1. Well, except that Dems have done little in the past two decades to even try and cater to the “black vote” knowing that they have us in the bag.

  2. How about an amen and hallelujah? I am in agreement with his reasoning. Glenn does raise a good point however – how valuable is the vote if you don’t feel you have to work for it?

  3. Yes, one can argue that the Democrats have not done much in the last two decades to further the cause of African American, but at least they are not trying to take/roll back programs that have benefited the black community. That is not something the Republican Party can say.

  4. Mr. President, 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 age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of good men (inaudible) soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us.
    That part gave me chills, in a good way.

  5. Are the Democrats doing anyone favors by promoting welfare programs that encourage poverty?
    Mind you, neither party has done much to properly address equality. I can’t look around the southside of Chicago and see people really benefitting from Democrat social programs.
    Here’s the problem, as I see it, in a nutshell:
    Are blacks in general making any effort to be educated about the causes and platforms of either party? Or are they just voting Democratic without knowing why?
    I keep seeing diehard Democrats arguing for Republican ideals, and vice versa. I think most are just voting for the name they’ve always thought they belonged to, without any knowledge of what they’re really voting for.
    Hell, I couldn’t tell you how the two parties stand on every issue. I can’t keep them straight. Then again, apparently neither can Kerry. 🙂

  6. The Democratic Party does not work for the black vote at all. They know they don’t need to. Bush was correct by saying that they would have more leverage by voting for both parties. You can say that blacks have benefited from welfare, AA, and other social programs promoted by the Democrats. I would disagree however. People that are dependant on the government feed into the Democratic / socialist agenda. The more the government gets into your life, and the more that people find themselves dependant on the government for everything (to you healthcare supporters)…the less freedom you actually have. The more money the government takes out of your checks in general…the less freedom you actually have. Sharpton’s ridiculously annoying demagoguery is as bad as Rush Limbaugh on the right. Neither Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, nor any of the other current “black leaders” are really doing the regular black people of this nation any real good. I would like to see a credible face leading the black cause. Unfortunately, the radical blowhards are the only ones that seem to gain the support of the far left-wingers. If you seriously think that conservatives mean the average black person harm by reducing welfare (welfare reform was passed under Clinton by the way) you have reality problems.
    Here is a couple links to articles that more accurately depict the true problems facing blacks from one of my favorite black writers Walter E. Williams responding to the statements of Bill Cosby. I don’t think Republicans have much to do with it. It seems as if the Democrats think that blacks “need” the government to give them help. I have more faith in the black community. I believe they can do what they want and government needs to get out of their life. Promoting dependance on the government helps no one.
    http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/articles/04/cheers.html
    http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/articles/04/cheers2.htm
    http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/articles/04/cos.html

  7. It was a good speech, but if you came in on the middle of it, you were like whaaaa….?
    By the way, you can download all of the DNC speeches for free on iTunes. 🙂

  8. I’m a 16 year old girl and I live in Canada. I gotta say man, hands-down, Al Sharpton’s speech was amazing. Best speech at the whole convention. I support Kerry all the way! If I was an American I would so vote for him! If you guys wanna support Bush, fine. I know I’m not some uber-smart politics guru, but here’s how I see it…America is a big, beautiful country that is being run and ruined by a deceitful, corrupt idiot! Yes, of course terrorists are bad, but you don’t go to war and kill innocent people when you are not even sure the country you are bombing has weapons of mass destruction! yes, it’s great that Saddam was captured. But Osama Bin Laden is a bigger threat. Saddam didn’t organize planes to fly into two buildings, Osama did! Why stop looking for him and start attacking another country?Bush should not have gone to war in Iraq. It was wrong. And so many troops have died for stupid reasons. People always ask me why I care about what Bush does, since he’s not running my country. But he is running a very powerful country. And a powerful country needs a strong, SMART leader! Plus, there were Canadians in those planes that were hijacked, and those people’s families and friends wouldn’t have had to go through all the pain and grieving if Bush would have read that memo! The only thing I respect Bush as is as a father. Yes, he did bring up 2 pretty well adjusted girls, so I give him props for that. But how he deals with other things justs sickens me. Whenever the terrorists had kidnapped someone and threated to behead them, he always said the same thing, “It’s sad but they just want us to chicken out, and were not cowards.” But I bet that if these terrorists got a hold of his daughter Jenna or what not, and they told him to leave the country and to end the war, he’d think differently. Oh and enough with this “Kerry is a flip-flopper” garbage, you know that everyone changes their minds sometimes! And it is better to flip flop in search of the right answers, than to be so sure of and confident in the absolute wrong ones!! I know a lot of you probably hate me right now, and I know what i;m saying is “controversial”, but hey, without any controversy,life would be boring! So you can hate me, you can love me, I really don’t care. Just try to respect people’s opinions! END WAR, RASCISM, & SEXISM, AND FILL YOUR LIFE WITH PEACE AND EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT!! thanx for reading what I have to say. and remember to stand up and stand out! Don’t be afraid to be independent and have a mind of your own. Forget about conformity and dare to be different. Well anyways, I’m all out of inspirational quotes, so luv y’all and peace, man!! That’s what it’s all about!!! e-mail me if you wanna chat politics, life, or whatever. I love a good conversation and dazed and confused. lol it’ a movie, go rent it. Even if you like bush go rent it it’s an awesome movie, you will love it. Thanx for listening once again and my heart goes out to all the victims of 9/11, or anyone who has lost a family member becuase of war and what not. LATER!! 😉

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