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Al Sharptons Rede am Nationalen Demokratischen Kongress

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Quelle: Washington Post.

Text of Al Sharpton's Address to the Democratic National Convention

FDCH E-Media, Inc.  Wednesday, July 28, 2004; 9:07 PM

The text of Reverend Al Sharpton's remarks to the Democratic National

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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