What Al Sharpton Said He Would Say…..And What he Actually Said

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What Al Sharpton Said He Would Say…..And What he Actually
Said

Posted on Wed, Jul. 28, 2004


Remarks of The Rev. Al Sharpton


PRNewswire

 

Editor’s note: The following is the official version of The Reverend Al
Sharpton’s speech before the Democratic National Convention, provided by the
Democratic National Convention Committee. However, Rev. Sharpton’s actual speech
differed significantly from the script, and this version does not accurately
reflect what he said:

Good evening, Mr. Chairman, Assembled Delegates, Honored Guests and Friends:
Throughout the history of this nation, Americans have fought to protect our
freedoms at home and to secure our nation against foreign and domestic threat.

We gather tonight in Boston where 228 years ago, people fought to establish
American freedom. At that time, the first person to die in the Revolutionary War
was a Black man from Barbados, Crispus Attucks, who is buried not far from this
Fleet Center. Forty years ago, in 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi
Freedom Democratic party stood at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic
City fighting to preserve voting rights for all Americans and all Democrats,
regardless of race or gender. Hamer’s stand led to Dr. King marching in Selma,
which inspired the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Twenty years ago, Rev. Jesse
Jackson stood at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, again,
appealing to the preservation of 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
protect and preserve our freedoms at this point in history is the election of
John Kerry as the president of the United States.

I stood with both John Kerry and John Edwards on over 30 occasions during the
primary season. I debated them. I watched them. I observed their deeds. I am
convinced that they are men who say what they mean and mean what they say.

I am also convinced that at a time, when there is 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 toward victory for John Kerry and John Edwards in November.
This is not just about winning an election, it’s about preserving the principles
upon which this nation was founded.

Look at the current view of our nation worldwide and the 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. How did we squander the 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 into Iraq because there were weapons of mass destruction. We’ve lost
hundreds of soldiers. We’ve expended over 200 billion dollars at a time when we
face record state deficits. And when it became clear, that the weapons were not
there, the president sought to shift the purpose of the war and to challenge our
patriotism.

We are also faced with the prospect, in the next four years, that two or more
of the Supreme Court Justice seats will become available. This year, as we
celebrated the anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education, this court voted
5 to 4 on critical issues of women’s rights and civil rights. It is frightening
to think that the gains of the civil and women’s rights movements of the last
century could be reversed if this administration sits in the White House for
four more years.

This is not about a party. It is about living up to the promise of America.

The promise of America says that we will guarantee quality education for all
children, and not spend more for metal detectors than computers in our schools.

The promise of America guarantees health care for all of its citizens, and
does not force seniors to travel to Canada to buy prescription drugs they cannot
afford here.

The promise of America provides that those who work in our health care system
can afford to be hospitalized in the very beds that they clean everyday.

The promise of America is government that does not seek to regulate your
behavior in the bedroom but to guarantee your right to provide food in the
kitchen.

The promise of America is that we stand for human rights – whether it’s
fighting slavery in Sudan, AIDS in Lesotho, or police brutality 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.

The promise of America is that every citizen’s vote is counted and protected,
and election schemes do not decide elections.

I often hear the Republican party preach about family values, but I can tell
them something about family values. Family values don’t just exist for those
with two-car garages and retirement plans. Family values exist in homes with
only one parent in the household making a way against the odds.

I stand here tonight, the product of a single parent home, from the depths of
Brooklyn, New York. My mother was a domestic worker who scrubbed floors in other
people’s homes for me. And because she scrubbed those floors, I was proud to
stand as a presidential candidate.

Those are family values.

I recall that a few days after the September 11 terrorist attacks I was in a
radio station that played “America the Beautiful,” as sung by Ray Charles.

As you know, we lost Ray several weeks ago, but I can still hear him singing:
“Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains
majesty, above the fruited plain.”

We must leave here committed to making Ray Charles’ song a reality and to
making America beautiful for everyone.

Good night, God bless you all, and God bless America!

SOURCE: Democratic National Convention Committee

 

July 27, 2004

The Rev. Al Sharpton’s Remarks to the Democratic National Convention

 

Following
is a text of a speech by Al Sharpton, delivered at the Democratic National
Convention Wednesday night, as transcribed by e-Media, Inc.:

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. President.

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?

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.

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.

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 Goodman, Chaney and
Schwerner, 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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