Happy Birthday Howard Dean!
DNC Chairman Howard Dean M.D. is the reason I'm an activist. When he came to Sacramento California and gave his famious "What I Want to Know Speech" he woke thousands of us up from our years-long right-wing-opressed sleep. In celebration of Dr. Dean's foresight, and his tireless work towards winning back our country (as we most recently saw in by the sucess of his Fifty State Strategy) here are two inspiring works, in full, from Dean and his campaign."What I Want to Know" & "Common Sense for a New Century".
Governor Howard Dean's Speech at Sacramento, CaliforniaThe following remarkable document was produced by Howard Dean's Presidential campaign and is loosely based on Thomas Paine's
The California State Democratic Convention, March 15, 2003
What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President's unilateral intervention in Iraq?
What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting tax cuts, which have bankrupted this country and given us the largest deficit in the history of the United States?
What I want to know is why the Congress is fighting over the Patient's Bill of Rights? The Patient's Bill of Rights is a good bill, but not one more person gets health insurance and it's not 5 cents cheaper.
What I want to know is why the Democrats in Congress aren't standing up for us, joining every other industrialized country on the face of the Earth in providing health insurance for every man, woman and child in America.
What I want to know is why so many folks in Congress are voting for the President's Education Bill-- "The No School Board Left Standing Bill"-- the largest unfunded mandate in the history of our educational system!
As Paul Wellstone said-- as Sheila Kuehl said when she endorsed me-- I am Howard Dean, and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.
I want a Democratic Party that will balance the budget. Bill Clinton balanced the budget and, starting in 1993, without a single Republican vote, kicked off the greatest 10 years of economic growth in this nation's history. No Republican president has balanced the budget in this country in 34 years. If you want to trust somebody with your taxpayer dollars, you'd better elect a Democrat because the Republicans can't manage money.
I want an economy in this country where we create jobs that don't move offshore. I want an America that has health insurance for everybody. I want a government that stops passing un-funded mandates and starts funding the ones we've got, like special education. I want a government which will give us a foreign policy so when we walk down the streets of the capitals of our friends we don't have to worry about watching our backs wherever we go as Americans.
We've had two fine people-- United States Senators Edwards and Kerry-- who've done a lot for our country, and they have served us honorably. And if either one of them wins the nomination I am going to support them and do every thing I can to help them win the White House. But I don't think we can win the White House if we vote for the President's unilateral attack on Iraq in Washington and then come to California and say we are against the war. And I don't think we can win the White House if we support the President's "No School Board Left Standing Bill" and then come to California and tell every body that we are going to do all kinds of things for education. And I don't think we can win the White House if we skip the most important abortion vote in the last year and then come to California and talk about pro-choice.
I am not surprised that only 15% of people between the ages of 18 and 25 vote because we have not given them a reason to vote, and we are going to give them a reason to vote now.
I was Governor for so long that I got to serve through not one but two Bush recessions. And in Vermont, I was very proud to balance the budget. We balanced the budget; we set money aside in a "rainy-day fund"; we paid down almost a quarter of our debt. The reason that is important is because it is hard to fund social justice without a balanced budget, which is why this President doesn't have one.
In our state, our budget is still balanced and we are not cutting higher education, we are not cutting K-12, and we are not cutting health care for kids. That's what we need in this country. I am a Governor, and I have done it.
In our state, everybody under the age of 18 has health insurance. We have made Medicaid into a middle-class entitlement. If you make $52,000 a year or less in Vermont, everybody under 18 in your family is entitled to Medicaid. We charge if you are at the upper-end of that: We charge $50 a month that insures everybody in your family under the age of 18. Now, if we can do that in a small rural state which is 26th in income in the entire country, surely the most wealthy and powerful society on the face of the earth can grant all of its citizens health care. I am a Governor, and I am a doctor, and I have done it.
In Vermont, we have conserved hundreds of thousands of acres that will never be developed. And I might add that they're never going to be drilled on either. If I get to be President, I will protect California as well as Florida.
Let me tell you something else. One of Bill Clinton's greatest legacies to this country was the promise he kept to make his cabinet look like America. I thought one of the lowest moments of this President's presidency was about five weeks ago when he used the word "quota" five times on national television on the evening news. The University of Michigan does not now and never has had a quota system and the President knows it.
We need affirmative action in this country, and we ought to stand up and say so and be proud of it as a society. California is a precursor for the rest of this country. You have five big minorities and lots of small minorities. In alphabetical order, you have African Americans, Anglos, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. Soon, all of America is going to look like California. And when it does, I want to make sure that every American is included in the very best institutions that we have in this country. As a nation we either admit that we are all together or we will be divided as the Republicans have divided us since 1968 under Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy.
I don't want to be divided any more by race; I don't want to be divided any more by gender; and I don't want to be divided any more by sexual orientation.
Senator Kerry was reported to have said that he could win without the South. I don't want to win without the South. I want to go to the South, and I'm going to say to white guys that drive pick-up trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back of their car, "We want your vote too, because your kids don't have health insurance either."
I want to end on a personal note. Three years ago next month I signed a bill into law called the Civil Unions bill, which gives gay and lesbian Vermonters the same rights I have: visitations for their significant other in the hospital, inheritance rights, and insurance rights. Vermont clearly is a place where every American is equal in the eyes of the law.
I want the President of the United States to explain to all Americans why he doesn't believe that all Americans should be equal under the law. I signed that bill six months before an election when it was at 35% in the polls. I never had a conversation with myself about whether or not I would sign the bill because I knew that if I was willing to sell out the hopes and dreams of a significant portion of our people, then I had wasted my life in public service.
I have never lost an election, but my career has never been about winning elections. My career -- and this campaign -- is about changing the Democratic Party. It's about changing America. And this campaign is about taking back the White House so we can have health insurance, so we can have a balanced budget, and so we can have an inclusive society where everybody believes in each other and believes in America.
I want the opportunity to work with extraordinary people in California. I will work with California instead of against you. I will work with Nancy Pelosi. I will work with Diane Feinstein. I will work with Gray Davis. I will work Herb Wesson. I will work with Jon Burton. And I'll sure work with another Democratic from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, Barbara Boxer.
We are not going to beat George Bush by voting with the President 85 percent of the time. The only way that we're going to beat George Bush is to say what we mean, to stand up for who we are, to lift up a Democratic agenda against the Republican agenda because if you do that, the Democratic agenda wins every time.
I want my country back! We want our country back! I am tired of being divided! I don't want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore! I want America to look like America, where we are all included, hand in hand. We have dream. We can only reach the dream if we are all together - black and white, gay and straight, man and woman. America! The Democratic Party! We are going to win in 2004! Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Stand up for America, Stand up for America, Stand up for America!!
Addressed to the Citizens of America by
Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.
Common Sense for a New Century
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
Over two hundred years ago, Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet that would light the fire that forged our nation. He called it “Common Sense.” Passed from hand to hand, patriot to patriot, it was a call to action for those Americans who believed their government had to change. It spelled out the values of a new republic. And King George III—who had forgotten his own people in favor of special interests—was replaced by a government of, by and for the people. America was born.
Like those early patriots, we face a growing threat to our liberty and justice in America today. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison spoke of the fear that economic power would one day seize political power.
That fear is now being realized—under the Bush administration, pharmaceutical companies draft our Medicare laws. Oil executives sit in the Vice President’s office and write energy bills. A majority of the reconstruction contracts in Iraq goes to corporations headed by campaign contributors to the president.
In the last six years, despite massive corporate scandals and the crash of the NASDAQ, the financial services industry managed to find almost $168 million to influence the political process. A pharmaceutical and health products industry that can’t afford to sell our seniors cheaper prescription drugs did manage to find $60 million to influence our elections. And the national debt has exploded to the point where it will cost the median American family $26,000—because the president ran up the largest deficit in the history of our country in order to pass $3 trillion worth of tax cuts tilted toward his campaign contributors.
In the matter of war and peace, there was virtually no debate by either party before the invasion of Iraq. The Bush administration uses fear to rally people to its causes. Our nation, once looked to as a beacon of hope from around the globe, now is looked at with suspicion and distrust.
Most alarming, our political process is in crisis, as the majority of Americans turns away from the most fundamental duty of citizenship—voting.
America is better than this. The time has come once again to take our country back. This pamphlet, like Thomas Paine’s, is a declaration of values and a call to action for a new generation of American patriots -- Common Sense for a New Century.
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Where We Are
“Are the special privilege boys going to run the country, or are the people going to run it?”
Our country is on the wrong track, and the reason is clear: our government is no longer serving the interests of the people.
The takeover of our politics by what Truman called the “special privilege boys” has been a decades-long process, but it has culminated with the Bush administration. Our executive branch has become a private club for large corporate interests.
Increasingly, large multinational companies write the rules of our economy in Washington, DC for their own profit, while the American people are left to compete for lower wages.
Meanwhile, the executive branch has been consolidating more and more power for itself, running roughshod over the checks and balances our founders established. In October of 2002, our Congress abdicated their power and responsibility to declare war. The political process failed, and now we are paying the price.
The Patriot Act takes away too many rights from ordinary Americans—rights we had come to expect. Nor should John Ashcroft be allowed to detain American citizens without charge and without legal representation.
We are losing our role as a world leader. John Fitzgerald Kennedy said, “The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war.” But President Bush has made that truth a lie. This president has implemented a foreign policy characterized by dominance, arrogance and intimidation. His brand of diplomacy has driven a deep wedge into the alliances and the security organizations we established to safeguard our freedoms and our safety.
The problem is simple: those at the top are gathering more and more power for themselves, and taking more and more power away from everyone else.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Theodore Roosevelt said it best, “Every special interest is entitled to justice full, fair and complete....but not one is entitled to a vote in Congress, to a voice on the bench or to representation in any public office.”
The American people have a history of proving that the most powerful interest of all is the common interest.
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Where We Have Come From
“Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.”
Our history has been the story of change. The struggle to live up to our founding ideals—justice and equality—has been an ongoing one. When we have seen injustice and inequality in our institutions and our laws, the American people have risen time and again to challenge them.
When the majority of Americans awoke to the injustice of slavery, our citizens decided that no moral future existed for a Republic that allowed the ownership of our fellow human beings.
And once slavery had been abolished, the country went on to guarantee the rights of women.
As America developed its industrial potential, the work of many began to yield vast riches for the few. Industrial barons began to dominate the economic and political systems, subjugating the interests of the people to their own narrow benefit.
The people again rose to the challenge with the birth of the modern labor movement. They fought to put government back on the side of the people, and passed laws to allow the government to deliver a series of landmark reforms, including child labor laws, the forty-hour work week, worker safety laws, and the minimum wage. These measures brought new meaning to the concept of equality—an equality of opportunity.
Later that century, the people came together to fight against racial segregation, joining the Freedom Ride to bring down the barriers to voting, participating in countless demonstrations to protest injustice, and gathering for the March on Washington to hear the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. dream of a day when “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”
And now we enter a new era. After a few decades of relative peace and prosperity, we are beginning to see that our system is once again out of balance, and the interests of the people are not being served. It should not be this way; as Thomas Jefferson said, “Public offices were [not] made for private convenience.”
Our path for the future is clear: it is the path that generations before us have taken. It is to change America the only way it can be changed—through the people.
When our country goes wrong, it is our duty to set it right.
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Where We Can Go
“Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe
The American people have a capacity for great things. We must once again set ourselves on a course to achieve them—based on those values that have sustained America throughout the centuries:
Justice. In a just America, money should not determine the limits of any American’s future, or deny any American the medical advancements that can save and sustain life. Health insurance, prescription drugs and higher education can be accessible and affordable for everyone.
Fairness. Our tax burden today falls most heavily on hard work, while wealth is taxed less. We subsidize corporations that are polluting our environment or sending jobs overseas. But we can restore fairness to our tax code—rewarding hard work, ensuring that wealth pays its fair share, and penalizing waste.
Fairness also demands that we address the disparity between the incomes of women and the incomes of men. Closing the wage gap will benefit all Americans.
Progress. Today, technologies exist that can form the foundation of our economy for the next century. We should invest aggressively in them, just as when our nation invested in railroads, rural electrification, and in public highways.
We can create a new energy economy, relying on sources that will never run out, including solar power, wind power, ethanol and biomass. Doing so will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs for decades to come.
Moral Leadership in the World. Harry S. Truman said, “The only expansion we are interested in is the expansion of human freedom and the wider enjoyment of the good things of the earth in all countries. The only prize we covet is the respect and good will of our fellow members of the family of nations. The only realm in which we aspire to eminence exists in the minds of men, where authority is exercised through the qualities of sincerity, compassion and right conduct.” That is the American role in the world that we can restore.
Self-Government. We can reform our republic—restoring a democracy in which every person has a voice and our government works for the benefit of all the people.
Community. We have an obligation to one another as Americans and as human beings. America will be stronger when we recognize that we are dependent on each other, responsible for each other, and connected to each other.
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How We Get There
“Let each person do his or her part. If one citizen is unwilling to participate, all of us are going to suffer. For the American idea, though it is shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us.”
Only through the action of each of us, working together in common cause, can great change happen in America.
A year ago, the Dean campaign began as a traditional candidacy for the presidency. We hoped to talk about health care for all, and fiscal responsibility that would benefit everyone. But this campaign has grown above and beyond a discussion of the important issues that concern us. It has become a movement that is allowing the American people to reclaim their political process.
We are not funded by a few large corporate interests giving millions, but by millions of people giving a few dollars. We are relying on millions of Americans to get involved in this election by making phone calls, sending emails, writing letters, knocking on doors, and voting.
This movement offers the American people an opportunity to take back the White House, the Congress, our state legislatures, and our local governments. But this can only be done if you claim your responsibilities and your duties as a citizen.
No one is going to change America for you. You must participate to make it happen. There are several things you can do right now to begin reclaiming our country:
Join more than half a million Americans who have signed up for our cause by visiting http://www.democracyforamerica.com/features/2004/03/17/a_new_day.php, or for the most up-to-date news, Blog For America.
Urge your friends to get involved. Ask them to find others to join us in our efforts. Pass this pamphlet along to your neighbors, friends, and coworkers. Only the full participation of the American people can restore our democracy.
Our lives are busy and our burdens are many, but together we can revive our democracy. We must renew our commitment to better inform ourselves and others; to question our elected leaders; to conduct a dialogue with our neighbors; and to vote in each election.
To stand up when injustice is done.
To protest when rights are jeopardized.
To unite for the common good.
To fight for what we know is right for our country.
We must do so because, in the words of Thomas Paine: “The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth.”
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It Begins Today
“The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
If you are one of the millions who wish for the government to be taken from the hands of the powerful few and restored to the people; if you are one of the millions who wish for a future built upon justice, fairness, progress, and community; if you are one of the millions ready to declare, “America is better than this” – then help build the greatest grassroots campaign of the modern era.