Rep. Dennis Kucinch
2004 Democratic National Convention
FleetCenter, Boston, MA
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

We, Democrats, in convention united. We who built this country with the sweat of our brow, we, the steelworkers, autoworkers, the miners, the aircraft workers, communication workers, the laborers, the people who teach the children, who farm the land, who drive the trucks, who clean the streets; we who hunger for justice, who nurse the sick, who represent the oppressed, who serve the meals, who stand at check out counters, who build the bridges, who sleep under the bridges, who hunger for food; we, who put out the fires, who police the streets; who protect this nation and the freedoms we celebrate tonight: the soldiers, the sailors, marines and airforce. We Democrats assemble united for John Kerry, united to recreate our nation with the power of the ballot, to transform it with the power of the human heart and the power of the human spirit. Out of many, we Democrats are one.

We are left, right, center. We are one. We are black, white, red, brown, yellow. We are one. One for jobs and health care for all. One for peace and fair trade. One for our children’s future. And we are one for John Kerry. We will carry America for Kerry and Kerry will carry America for us. We remember who we are. We are the party of the people. We are the party of FDR and the New Deal. The party of JFK and the New Frontier. Of Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society. Of Martin Luther King’s Dream, of Robert Kennedy’s striving spirit. Of Caesar Chavez’s ‘si se puede!’ Of Eleanor Roosevelt and human rights. Infused with the passion of Paul Wellstone from Minnesota, the humanity of Jimmy Carter from Plains, the engaging brilliance of Bill Clinton from Hope. And we are the party of John Kerry, the next great Democratic president of the United States.

The history of social and economic progress in America was written by the Democratic party. Democrats are the party of the minimum wage. The forty hour week. Time and a half for overtime. We are the party of the right to organize, the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike, the right to a safe workplace, the right to a secure retirement. We are the party of workers’ rights, civil rights, and women’s rights. We are the party of national health care for senior citizens, of social security, public education and rural electrification. When we show up holding the banner of social and economic justice, we win. And now must create a new America.

In our National Anthem, when Francis Scott Key asked “does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” He connected freedom and bravery, democracy and courage. Courage America! Courage to replace an administration which has dishonored our constitution and attacked our Bill of Rights. Courage to reject doctrines which separate us from the world. Courage to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, biological and chemical weapons, land mines and small arms. Courage to work with the International Criminal Court, to reduce global warming and face seriously the challenge of climate change. Courage America. Courage to take principles of nonviolence and make them part of the everyday life of our nation, to work with the nations of the world to put an end to war. Courage America—to create a nation where our government achieves legitimacy not from the money it spends on arms, but from the resources it channels into education, health care, job creation, housing, environmental protection and new sustainable energy policies. Courage to give John Kerry the chance to restart the 21st century. Courage America. Courage to shake off the administration’s deceptions, their attacks, and their fear-mongering. Courage America.

This administration rushed us into a war based on distortions and misrepresentations. We must hold them accountable. Iraq had nothing to do with 911 or with al Qaeda’s role in 911. We have found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I was mayor of Cleveland, and I tell you I have seen weapons of mass destruction—in our cities. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Joblessness is a weapon of mass destruction, homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction, racism is a weapon of mass destruction, fear is a weapon of mass destruction. We must disarm these weapons—and re-arm ourselves with quality public schools and dedicated teachers, good housing and quality health care, decent jobs and stronger neighborhoods.

It’s been said: “Once we walk there will be a path.” So let us blaze a new path with John Kerry and John Edwards. This convention will lead us toward the victory not just of a party, but the victory of the American people over fear, a victory of hope over despair, of faith over cynicism. A victory for health care, for civil liberties, for workers’ rights, for human rights, for the environment, for peace.

Courage America. Courage America. John Kerry America.