My Fellow Americans.
It is 2010, 10 years into the new millennium. 10 years ago we believed that the electronic mechanisms that were so woven into our daily lives would collapse upon us and send us into a panic and chaos. Today, more than ever before, we use computers, electronic devices, and information technology to allow us to communicate like Capt. Kirk. We are able to do more from our homes than ever before. We can email, text, IM, around the globe. And yet through all of this, we've somehow lost something.
We've traded face to face conversation and hand shakes for "Facebook" and "LOL" "BFFs" and "BRB". We've allowed our quest for the latest and the greatest to consume us as a culture. Do not mistake this for a "War on Technology". I am a Blackberry addict, and I, more than anyone miss Brick breaker too. But there is a greater point. We as Americans have lost something with one another.
I remember growing up as a young man from San Diego CA, and visiting my Grandmother in Camden South Carolina. A small town, southern town, just like many across this great nation. And I remember sitting on the porch with her and just rocking in the metal chairs on her front porch. Every so often a car would drive down the street and the driver would give my Grandmother the "Hi, How you doing, take care, God Bless you, all in one" waive of the hand. All of that in about one second. Over and over, cars would pass, and with that motion, all you needed to know about my Grandmother, and that town, was in that waive.
People walking down the street would speak. "Hi Mrs. Boykin", "Hey da'lin" she would reply. That's it, no long conversations for the most part. But that, by itself, was more than enough. People knew one another. They knew your name, your face, where you lived, what was going on in your life, and they cared. We cared for one another. We've lost a part of that in America, and we need to begin to get it back.
I believe it starts right here. Right now. In this great hall of Democracy. Where our Founding Fathers once held the belief that I was property. Where Women were excluded from participating in America. Where we have come together to amend the very document that formed our Union 27 times. Where we as a Nation have come together to continually shape and mold our framework, but always under the rock solid foundation of Freedom, Justice, and Equality. So to start, before I go any further, I ask that each member of Congress stand up, and find a new seat, Senators next to House members, Republicans next to Democrats, Bernie and Joe, you may fill in the gaps (applause and laughter). It is time for actions to speak louder than words, and as YOUR elected leaders and representatives, WE set the bar.
Five years ago I stated that there is not a Black America, or a White America, there is only one America. There is not a Red America or a Blue America, but a United States of America. Our need to embrace that fact is no greater than now. Our differences should not push us apart. We should us them to find common ground as Americans. This is not about Left and Right, but Right and Wrong.
We may not agree on Health Care, but we must agree that our current system that puts the health and well being of millions of hard working Americans against the profits of Insurance Companies is Wrong.
We may not agree on Abortion, but we must work together to not only protect the reproductive rights of women. We must work together through education and information to decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies and maintain the protections of those women who, through faith, deliberation, counseling, and family, decide how THEY want to proceed with THEIR right to control their bodies.
We may not agree on HOW we fight the "War with Al Queda", but we absolutely can not question our love for our country or our desire to protect our citizens. We may not agree with the when or the why we ask our solders to be willing to lay down their life so that we can continue to live free. But not providing them the best care during and after their service to our country is abhorrently wrong. Asking them to pay the ultimate sacrifice while sacrificing the means in which we ask them to take that risk is criminal. Doing so is tantamount to Treason, and unquestionably WRONG.
We as the representatives of the American People must remember that fact. Recently the Supreme Court ruled that Corporations are persons for the purpose of participating in our elections. For far too long we have allowed the rules of lobbying and influence of lobbyists eat away at the ethics and morality of each and every one of us. Now that the Supreme Court has made this ruling, we have one moment, one chance, a crucial opportunity in the History of the United States and perhaps the World..... A duty to those that we serve, to return to the proper role of Government in our capitalist society. Our negligence in this role brought our country to the brink of economic ruin. Our immoral behavior has given the people just reason to have no faith, no confidence, no trust in the people in this room. In that, we should all look down in shame, and reflect upon the faces we see in our towns and cities across the Nation. The stories we hear, tales of incredible plight, but also of wonderful blessings of what it means to an American. We must be the caretakers of this Country. It's People, It's Resources, It's real value. We must work to provide equal opportunities for our citizens and our businesses. We must provide a framework for fair and just taxation. We can not provide a system that creates loopholes and incentives for people and business to gain extraordinary wealth at the expense of unjustly compensated labor, and then compound that injustice with avoiding just taxation or job reinvestment. It is not in the best interest of the United States to be a nation of only business owners and product consumers. We must be a nation of creators, innovators, builders, buyers, and responsible owners. We must be a nation that once again believes that I am my brother and my sisters keeper.
I'm calling upon each of you in the room, from this moment forward, to remember your oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States of America. To work FOR We the People. To once again be able to look those you represent in the eye, sit on their porch, make a promise that you will take that concern back to this body and work your Red White and Blue ASS off to try to make their world a better place for them. If all of us in here take that oath, make that promise and come together, as Americans, we WILL leave this office better than we found it, we WILL make this country a better place, and we WILL stand together, and we will be A More Perfect Union. Good night America, We've all got work in the morning.