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Barack Obama - 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote Address


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Barack Obama?
2004?Democratic?National?Convention?Keynote?Address?

Delivered?27?July?2004,?Fleet?Center,?Boston?

AUTHENTICITY?CERTIFIED:?Text?version?below?transcribed?directly?from?audio?

Thank?you,?Dick?Durbin.?You?make?us?all?proud.? On?behalf?of?the?great?state?of?Illinois,?crossroads?of?a?nation,?Land?of?Lincoln,?let?me?express? my?deepest?gratitude?for?the?privilege?of?addressing?this?convention.? Tonight?is?a?particular?honor?for?me?because,?let’s?face?it,?my?presence?on?this?stage?is?pretty? unlikely.?My?father?was?a?foreign?student,?born?and?raised?in?a?small?village?in?Kenya.?He?grew? up?herding?goats,?went?to?school?in?a?tin?roof?shack.?His?father????my?grandfather????was?a? cook,?a?domestic?servant?to?the?British.? But?my?grandfather?had?larger?dreams?for?his?son.?Through?hard?work?and?perseverance?my? father?got?a?scholarship?to?study?in?a?magical?place,?America,?that?shone?as?a?beacon?of? freedom?and?opportunity?to?so?many?who?had?come?before.? While?studying?here,?my?father?met?my?mother.?She?was?born?in?a?town?on?the?other?side?of? the?world,?in?Kansas.?Her?father?worked?on?oil?rigs?and?farms?through?most?of?the?Depression.? The?day?after?Pearl?Harbor?my?grandfather?signed?up?for?duty??joined?Patton’s?army,?marched? across?Europe.

Transcription?by?Michael?E.?Eidenmuller.? Property?of?AmericanRhetoric.com.? ??Copyright?2008.?All?rights?reserved.?

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Back?home,?my?grandmother?raised?a?baby?and?went?to?work?on?a?bomber?assembly?line.? After?the?war,?they?studied?on?the?G.I.?Bill,?bought?a?house?through?F.H.A.,?and?later?moved? west?all?the?way?to?Hawaii?in?search?of?opportunity.? And?they,?too,?had?big?dreams?for?their?daughter.?A?common?dream,?born?of?two?continents.? My?parents?shared?not?only?an?improbable?love,?they?shared?an?abiding?faith?in?the? possibilities?of?this?nation.?They?would?give?me?an?African?name,?Barack,?or?”blessed,”? believing?that?in?a?tolerant?America?your?name?is?no?barrier?to?success.?They?imagined????They? imagined?me?going?to?the?best?schools?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.? They're?both?passed?away?now.?And?yet,?I?know?that?on?this?night?they?look?down?on?me?with? great?pride.? 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?to?all?of?those?who?came?before?me,?and?that,?in? no?other?country?on?earth,?is?my?story?even?possible.? Tonight,?we?gather?to?affirm?the?greatness?of?our?Nation?—?not?because?of?the?height?of?our? skyscrapers,?or?the?power?of?our?military,?or?the?size?of?our?economy.?Our?pride?is?based?on?a? very?simple?premise,?summed?up?in?a?declaration?made?over?two?hundred?years?ago:? We?hold?these?truths?to?be?self?evident,?that?all?men?are?created?equal,?that?they?are?endowed? by?their?Creator?with?certain?inalienable?rights,?that?among?these?are?Life,?Liberty?and?the? pursuit?of?Happiness.? That?is?the?true?genius?of?America,?a?faith????a?faith?in?simple?dreams,?an?insistence?on?small? miracles??that?we?can?tuck?in?our?children?at?night?and?know?that?they?are?fed?and?clothed?and? safe?from?harm??that?we?can?say?what?we?think,?write?what?we?think,?without?hearing?a? sudden?knock?on?the?door??that?we?can?have?an?idea?and?start?our?own?business?without? paying?a?bribe??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.? This?year,?in?this?election?we?are?called?to?reaffirm?our?values?and?our?commitments,?to?hold? them?against?a?hard?reality?and?see?how?we're?measuring?up?to?the?legacy?of?our?forbearers? and?the?promise?of?future?generations.? And?fellow?Americans,?Democrats,?Republicans,?Independents,?I?say?to?you?tonight:?We?have? more?work?to?do????more?work?to?do?for?the?workers?I?met?in?Galesburg,?Illinois,?who?are? losing?their?union?jobs?at?the?Maytag?plant?that’s?moving?to?Mexico,?and?now?are?having?to? compete?with?their?own?children?for?jobs?that?pay?seven?bucks?an?hour??more?to?do?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?health?benefits?that?he

Transcription?by?Michael?E.?Eidenmuller.? Property?of?AmericanRhetoric.com.? ??Copyright?2008.?All?rights?reserved.?

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counted?on??more?to?do?for?the?young?woman?in?East?St.?Louis,?and?thousands?more?like?her,? who?has?the?grades,?has?the?drive,?has?the?will,?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,?in?diners?and? office?parks????they?don’t?expect?government?to?solve?all?their?problems.?They?know?they?have? to?work?hard?to?get?ahead,?and?they?want?to.?Go?into?the?collar?counties?around?Chicago,?and? people?will?tell?you?they?don’t?want?their?tax?money?wasted,?by?a?welfare?agency?or?by?the? Pentagon.?Go?into?any?inner?city?neighborhood,?and?folks?will?tell?you?that?government?alone? can’t?teach?our?kids?to?learn??they?know?that?parents?have?to?teach,?that?children?can’t? achieve?unless?we?raise?their?expectations?and?turn?off?the?television?sets?and?eradicate?the? slander?that?says?a?black?youth?with?a?book?is?acting?white.?They?know?those?things.? People?don't?expect?government?to?solve?all?their?problems.?But?they?sense,?deep?in?their? bones,?that?with?just?a?slight?change?in?priorities,?we?can?make?sure?that?every?child?in? America?has?a?decent?shot?at?life,?and?that?the?doors?of?opportunity?remain?open?to?all.? They?know?we?can?do?better.?And?they?want?that?choice.? In?this?election,?we?offer?that?choice.?Our?Party?has?chosen?a?man?to?lead?us?who?embodies? the?best?this?country?has?to?offer.?And?that?man?is?John?Kerry.? John?Kerry?understands?the?ideals?of?community,?faith,?and?service?because?they’ve?defined? his?life.?From?his?heroic?service?to?Vietnam,?to?his?years?as?a?prosecutor?and?lieutenant? governor,?through?two?decades?in?the?United?States?Senate,?he's?devoted?himself?to?this? country.?Again?and?again,?we’ve?seen?him?make?tough?choices?when?easier?ones?were? available.? His?values?and?his?record?affirm?what?is?best?in?us.?John?Kerry?believes?in?an?America?where? 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?in?an?America?where?all?Americans?can?afford?the?same?health?coverage? our?politicians?in?Washington?have?for?themselves.? John?Kerry?believes?in?energy?independence,?so?we?aren’t?held?hostage?to?the?profits?of?oil? companies,?or?the?sabotage?of?foreign?oil?fields.? John?Kerry?believes?in?the?Constitutional?freedoms?that?have?made?our?country?the?envy?of? the?world,?and?he?will?never?sacrifice?our?basic?liberties,?nor?use?faith?as?a?wedge?to?divide?us.? And?John?Kerry?believes?that?in?a?dangerous?world?war?must?be?an?option?sometimes,?but?it? should?never?be?the?first?option.

Transcription?by?Michael?E.?Eidenmuller.? Property?of?AmericanRhetoric.com.? ??Copyright?2008.?All?rights?reserved.?

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You?know,?a?while?back?I?met?a?young?man?named?Shamus?in?a?V.F.W.?Hall?in?East?Moline,? Illinois.?He?was?a?good?looking?kid????six?two,?six?three,?clear?eyed,?with?an?easy?smile.?He?told? me?he’d?joined?the?Marines?and?was?heading?to?Iraq?the?following?week.?And?as?I?listened?to? him?explain?why?he’d?enlisted,?the?absolute?faith?he?had?in?our?country?and?its?leaders,?his? devotion?to?duty?and?service,?I?thought?this?young?man?was?all?that?any?of?us?might?ever?hope? for?in?a?child.? But?then?I?asked?myself,?"Are?we?serving?Shamus?as?well?as?he?is?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.?I?thought?of?the?families?I’ve?met? who?were?struggling?to?get?by?without?a?loved?one’s?full?income,?or?whose?loved?ones?had? returned?with?a?limb?missing?or?nerves?shattered,?but?still?lacked?long?term?health?benefits? because?they?were?Reservists.? When?we?send?our?young?men?and?women?into?harm’s?way,?we?have?a?solemn?obligation?not? to?fudge?the?numbers?or?shade?the?truth?about?why?they’re?going,?to?care?for?their?families? while?they’re?gone,?to?tend?to?the?soldiers?upon?their?return,?and?to?never?ever?go?to?war? without?enough?troops?to?win?the?war,?secure?the?peace,?and?earn?the?respect?of?the?world.? Now?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?this.?And?just? as?Lieutenant?Kerry?did?not?hesitate?to?risk?his?life?to?protect?the?men?who?served?with?him?in? Vietnam,?President?Kerry?will?not?hesitate?one?moment?to?use?our?military?might?to?keep? America?safe?and?secure.? John?Kerry?believes?in?America.?And?he?knows?that?it’s?not?enough?for?just?some?of?us?to? prosper??for?alongside?our?famous?individualism,?there’s?another?ingredient?in?the?American? saga,?a?belief?that?we’re?all?connected?as?one?people.?If?there?is?a?child?on?the?south?side?of? Chicago?who?can’t?read,?that?matters?to?me,?even?if?it’s?not?my?child.?If?there?is?a?senior? citizen?somewhere?who?can’t?pay?for?their?prescription?drugs,?and?having?to?choose?between? medicine?and?the?rent,?that?makes?my?life?poorer,?even?if?it’s?not?my?grandparent.?If?there’s? an?Arab?American?family?being?rounded?up?without?benefit?of?an?attorney?or?due?process,?that? threatens?my?civil?liberties.? It?is?that?fundamental?belief:?I?am?my?brother’s?keeper,?I?am?my?sister’s?keeper?that?makes? this?country?work.?It’s?what?allows?us?to?pursue?our?individual?dreams?and?yet?still?come? together?as?one?American?family.?E?pluribus?unum:?"Out?of?many,?one."? Now?even?as?we?speak,?there?are?those?who?are?preparing?to?divide?us????the?spin?masters,? the?negative?ad?peddlers?who?embrace?the?politics?of?"anything?goes."?Well,?I?say?to?them? tonight,?there?is?not?a?liberal?America?and?a?conservative?America:?There?is?the?United?States? of?America.?There?is?not?a?Black?America?and?a?White?America?and?Latino?America?and?Asian? America:?There’s?the?United?States?of?America.

Transcription?by?Michael?E.?Eidenmuller.? Property?of?AmericanRhetoric.com.? ??Copyright?2008.?All?rights?reserved.?

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The?pundits,?the?pundits?like?to?slice?and?dice?our?country?into?Red?States?and?Blue?States?? Red?States?for?Republicans,?Blue?States?for?Democrats.?But?I’ve?got?news?for?them,?too.?We? worship?an?"awesome?God"?in?the?Blue?States,?and?we?don’t?like?federal?agents?poking?around? in?our?libraries?in?the?Red?States.?We?coach?Little?League?in?the?Blue?States?and?yes,?we’ve?got? some?gay?friends?in?the?Red?States.?There?are?patriots?who?opposed?the?war?in?Iraq?and?there? are?patriots?who?supported?the?war?in?Iraq.?We?are?one?people,?all?of?us?pledging?allegiance?to? the?stars?and?stripes,?all?of?us?defending?the?United?States?of?America.? In?the?end,?that’s?what?this?election?is?about.?Do?we?participate?in?a?politics?of?cynicism?or?do? we?participate?in?a?politics?of?hope?? John?Kerry?calls?on?us?to?hope.?John?Edwards?calls?on?us?to?hope.? I’m?not?talking?about?blind?optimism?here????the?almost?willful?ignorance?that?thinks? unemployment?will?go?away?if?we?just?don’t?think?about?it,?or?the?health?care?crisis?will?solve? itself?if?we?just?ignore?it.?That’s?not?what?I’m?talking?about.?I’m?talking?about?something?more? substantial.?It’s?the?hope?of?slaves?sitting?around?a?fire?singing?freedom?songs??the?hope?of? immigrants?setting?out?for?distant?shores??the?hope?of?a?young?naval?lieutenant?bravely? patrolling?the?Mekong?Delta??the?hope?of?a?millworker’s?son?who?dares?to?defy?the?odds??the? hope?of?a?skinny?kid?with?a?funny?name?who?believes?that?America?has?a?place?for?him,?too.? Hope?in?the?face?of?difficulty.?Hope?in?the?face?of?uncertainty.?The?audacity?of?hope!? In?the?end,?that?is?God’s?greatest?gift?to?us,?the?bedrock?of?this?nation.?A?belief?in?things?not? seen.?A?belief?that?there?are?better?days?ahead.? I?believe?that?we?can?give?our?middle?class?relief?and?provide?working?families?with?a?road?to? opportunity.? I?believe?we?can?provide?jobs?to?the?jobless,?homes?to?the?homeless,?and?reclaim?young? people?in?cities?across?America?from?violence?and?despair.? I?believe?that?we?have?a?righteous?wind?at?our?backs?and?that?as?we?stand?on?the?crossroads? of?history,?we?can?make?the?right?choices,?and?meet?the?challenges?that?face?us.? America!?Tonight,?if?you?feel?the?same?energy?that?I?do,?if?you?feel?the?same?urgency?that?I? do,?if?you?feel?the?same?passion?that?I?do,?if?you?feel?the?same?hopefulness?that?I?do????if?we? do?what?we?must?do,?then?I?have?no?doubt?that?all?across?the?country,?from?Florida?to?Oregon,? from?Washington?to?Maine,?the?people?will?rise?up?in?November,?and?John?Kerry?will?be?sworn? in?as?President,?and?John?Edwards?will?be?sworn?in?as?Vice?President,?and?this?country?will? reclaim?its?promise,?and?out?of?this?long?political?darkness?a?brighter?day?will?come.? Thank?you?very?much?everybody.?God?bless?you.?Thank?you.

Transcription?by?Michael?E.?Eidenmuller.? Property?of?AmericanRhetoric.com.? ??Copyright?2008.?All?rights?reserved.?

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