[Chat] BILL MOYERS DELIVERS SPEECH OF THE YEAR
Fri, 13 Jun 2003 00:42:03 -0400
thank u crystal.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Crystal" <email@example.com>
To: <Discussion@charlesvillage.info>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2003 2:19 PM
Subject: [Chat] BILL MOYERS DELIVERS SPEECH OF THE YEAR
> If you forward this, please be sure to delete my
> contact info off the top. With dilligence and the help
> of my friends, I keep spam to an absolute minimum.
> Also, I just re-read the article and I feel like ...
> singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee." I can't even
> remember when that last crossed my mind at all.
> The Nation
> Bill Moyers's Presidential Address
> 06/09/2003 @ 10:27am
> Democratic presidential candidates were handed a dream
> audience of 1,000 "ready-for-action" labor, civil
> rights, peace and economic justice campaigners at the
> Take Back America conference organized in Washington
> last week by the Campaign for America's Future. And
> the 2004 contenders grabbed for it, delivering some of
> the better speeches of a campaign that remains
> rhetorically -- and directionally -- challenged. But
> it was a non-candidate who won the hearts and minds of
> the crowd with a "Cross of Gold" speech for
> the 21st century.
> Recalling the populism and old-school progressivism of
> the era in which William Jennings Bryan stirred the
> Democratic National Convention of 1896 to enter into
> the great struggle between privilege and democracy --
> and to spontaneously nominate the young Nebraskan for
> president -- journalist and former presidential aide
> Bill Moyers delivered a call to arms against
> "government of, by and for the ruling corporate
> Condemning "the unholy alliance between government and
> wealth" and the compassionate conservative spin that
> tries to make "the rape of America sound like a
> consensual date," Moyers charged that "rightwing
> wrecking crews" assembled by the Bush Administration
> and its Congressional allies were out to bankrupt
> government. Then, he said, they would privatize public
> services in order to enrich the corporate interests
> that fund campaigns and provide golden parachutes to
> pliable politicians. If unchecked, Moyers warned, the
> result of these machinations will be the dismantling
> of "every last brick of the social contract."
> "I think this is a deliberate, intentional destruction
> of the United States of America," said Moyers, as he
> called for the progressives gathered in Washington --
> and for their allies across the United States -- to
> organize not merely in defense of social and economic
> justice but in order to preserve democracy itself.
> Paraphrasing the words of Abraham Lincoln as the 16th
> president rallied the nation to battle against
> slavery, Moyers declared, "Our nation can no more
> survive as half democracy and half oligarchy than it
> could survive half slave and half free."
> There was little doubt that the crowd of activists
> from across the country would have nominated Moyers by
> acclamation when he finished a remarkable address in
> which he challenged not just the policies of the Bush
> Administration but the failures of Democratic leaders
> in Congress to effectively challenge the president and
> his minions. In the face of what he described as "a
> radical assault" on American values by those who seek
> to redistribute wealth upward from the many to a
> wealthy few, Moyers said he could not understand "why
> the Democrats are afraid to be labeled class warriors
> in a war the other side started and is winning."
> Several of the Democratic presidential contenders who
> addressed the crowd after Moyers picked up pieces of
> his argument. Former US Senator Carol Moseley Braun
> actually quoted William Jennings Bryan, while North
> Carolina Senator John Edwards and Massachusetts
> Senator John Kerry tried -- with about as much success
> as Al Gore in 2000 -- to sound populist. Former House
> Minority Leader Richard Gephardt promised not to be
> "Bush-lite," and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean
> drew warm applause when he said the way for
> Democrats to get elected "is not to be like
> Republicans, but to stand up against them and fight."
> Ultimately, however, only the Rev. Al Sharpton and
> Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Dennis
> Kucinich came close to matching the fury and the
> passion of the crowd.
> Kucinich, who earned nine standing ovations for his
> antiwar and anti-corporate free trade rhetoric,
> probably did more to advance his candidacy
> than any of the other contenders. But he never got to
> the place Moyers reached with a speech that legal
> scholar Jamie Raskin described as one of the most
> "amazing and spellbinding" addresses he had ever
> heard. Author and activist Frances Moore Lappe said
> she was close to tears as she thanked Moyers for
> providing precisely the mixture of perspective and
> hope that progressives need as they prepare to
> challenge the right in 2004.
> That, Moyers explained, was the point of his address,
> which reflected on White House political czar Karl
> Rove's oft-stated admiration for Mark Hanna, the Ohio
> political boss who managed the campaigns and the
> presidency of conservative Republican William
> McKinley. It was McKinley who beat Bryan in 1896 and
> -- with Hanna's help -- fashioned a White House that
> served the interests of the corporate trusts.
> Comparing the excesses of Hanna and Rove, and McKinley
> and Bush, Moyers said "the social dislocations and the
> meanness of the 19th century " were being renewed by a
> new generation of politicians who, like their
> predecessors, seek to strangle the spirit of the
> American revolution "in the hard grip of the ruling
> To break that grip, Moyers said, progressives of today
> must learn from the revolutionaries and reformers of
> old. Recalling the progressive movement that rose up
> in the first years of the 20th century to "restore the
> balance between wealth and commonwealth," and the
> successes of the New Dealers who turned progressive
> ideals into national policy, Moyers told the crowd to
> "get back in the fight." "Hear me!" he cried. "Allow
> yourself the conceit to believe that the flame of
> democracy will never go out as long as there is one
> candle in your hand."
> While others were campaigning last week, Moyers was
> tending the flame of democracy. In doing so, he
> unwittingly made himself the candle holder-in-chief
> for those who seek to spark a new progressive era.
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