When We Stand Up, America Rises

This made me blub.

Transcript is below.

And I do. I take this, I mean, I'll tell ya right now, when I speak about these things, and you'll know it when you leave here, it comes from right here in my gut, because I take this personally. I do. My parents raised me up, and all of you feel the same way, my parents raised me from the time I was this big to believe that the men and women who worked at the mill with them are worth every bit as much as the man that owns that mill. And the people I grew up with, including my own father and mother, are worth every bit as much as any president of the United States. That is, that is at the heart and soul of what makes this country what it is today. That is the promise of America. It is. So what are we going to be willing to do about this? What are we gonna do?

I met a man named James Lowe [ph] a few months ago—fifty-one years old. Told me a story. We were in the Appalachian Mountains, sitting on a picnic table early in the morning, and James said to me, "You know, I was born with a cleft palate, and because I had it, I couldn't speak." A simple operation would have fixed it, but he had no healthcare coverage. Finally somebody came along and fixed his cleft palate and now he can talk. He was fifty-one. They fixed it when he was fifty years old. [gasps and groans from audience] James Lowe lived fifty years in America not able to speak because he had no healthcare coverage.

And he was so kind and gracious; he really did remind me of the people that I grew up with who worked at the mill with my dad. But I was listening to his story, and I felt this…such power inside me: How long are we going to let insurance companies, drug companies, their lobbyists run this country?! America doesn't belong to them! America belongs to us! James Lowe finally got his voice back; don't you think it's time for your voice to be heard? That's what this democracy is!

And I listen, I listen, to these numbers coming out of Washington; I know you all see them, too. The CEO of the biggest health insurance company in America making hundreds of millions of dollars, not millions, hundreds of millions of dollars. Exxon Mobile—record, record profits. The profits of big corporations going up and up and up; the richest Americans getting richer and richer; the top 1% now take twice as much of the national income as they did twenty to twenty-five years ago.

And I look at that, and I think about, just put it in my mind, side by side, with what's happening in America—because today, while that CEO makes hundreds of millions of dollars, forty-seven million Americans will go to sleep tonight knowing that if their child gets sick, they're going to have to go to the emergency room and beg for healthcare. Thirty-seven million will make up tomorrow morning literally worried about feeding and clothing their children.

Just a couple of days ago, I spent time in a shelter out in Iowa with some women, single moms, with their children, and the people, really sweet people, who ran the place were telling me the story of just a few months ago—I don't remember the numbers precisely, but I think it was seventy, seventy-five families, this is a small place, seventy, seventy-five families they had to turn away. These are single mothers, with children—three, four children—and I said to them, "So, when you turn them away, where do they go?" "Back to their cars. Back to the bridges." At the same time that we have record profits for corporate America. Last year, thirty-five million Americans, in the richest nation on the planet, roughly the population of California, went hungry. Thirty-five million. And tonight, two hundred thousand men and women who wore the uniform of the United States of America will go to sleep under bridges and on grates. America is better than this. We're better than this.

And I'll tell ya something: Something's gonna happen, starting right here, on January the eighth, right here in New Hampshire. This is what's gonna happen: You're gonna say "Enough is enough. We want this democracy back." You're gonna rise up and you're voice is gonna be heard and it will be heard not just in New Hampshire—all those people with cameras in the back? They won't even know what hit 'em. They're gonna say, "What is going on here?"

There will be a rising, and it will spread across this entire country that will bring change. When we stand up for forty-seven million Americans who have no healthcare coverage, America rises. When we stand up for thirty-five million who went hungry last year, America rises. When we stand up for thirty-seven million who live in poverty, America rises. When we speak for James Lowe and millions like him, America rises.

And that rising will begin right here, with you, in New Hampshire, on January the eighth.

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