tv Ann Richards 1988 Keynote Address CSPAN July 24, 2016 8:54pm-9:31pm EDT
happen. and i ask you now, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, for the good of all of us, for the love of this great nation, for the family of this nation, for the love of god, please make this nation remember how futures are built. thank you and god bless you. [applause] ♪ >> the democratic national convention begins tomorrow in philadelphia. here on american history tv, we're featuring archival speeches from past democratic conventions. up next texas state treasurer
ann richards delivers the keynote address in atlanta. this is just under 40 minutes. richards: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you very much. good evening, ladies and gentlemen. i'm king in spanish] delighted to be here with you this evening because after listening to george bush all these years, i figured you needed to know what a real texas ccent sounds like.
you know, tonight, i feel a little like i did when i played basketball in the eighth grade. i thought i looked real cute in mi hyun form and then i heard a boy yell from the bleachers, make that basket, bird legs. and my greatest fear is that same guy is somewhere out there in the audience tonight. cut me nd he's going to down to size. because where i grew up, there really much tolerance for self-importance. people who put on airs.
i was born during the depression in a little community just outside waco. and i grew up listening to franklin roosevelt on the radio. it was back then that i came to understand the small truth and the hardships that bind neighbors together. those were real people with real problems and they had real dreams about getting out of the depression. i can remember summer nights when we would put down what we would call the babbities pallet. and we would listen to the grown-ups talk. i can still hear the sound of the dominoes my dad would put on found. le slab my daddy and i can still hear the
laughter of the man talking about jokes you weren't supposed to hear. laughing about mama putting clorox in the well when the frog fell in. they talked about war and washington and what this country needed. they talked straight talk. and it came from people who were living their lives as best they could. and that's what we're going to do tonight. we're going to tell how the cow ate the cabbage. i got a letter last week from a young mother in lorena, texas. and i want to read part of it to you. she writes, our worries go from payday to payday, just like millions of others. and we have two fairly decent incomes but i worry how i'm
going to pay the rising car insurance and food. i pray my kids don't have a growth spurt from august to december so i don't have to buy new jeans. we buy clothes at the budget stores and we have them fray and fade and stretch in the first wash. we ponder and try to figure out how we're going to pay for college and praises and tennis shoes. we don't take vacations and we don't go out to eat. please don't think i'm ungrateful. we have jobs. and a nice place to live and we're healthy. we're the people you see every we in the grocery stores, pay our taxes, we fly our flags on holiday, we plot along trying to make it better for ourselves and our children and our parents . we aren't vocal anymore. i think maybe we're too tired.
believe that people like us are forgotten in america. well, of course, you believe you're forgotten because you .ave been this republican administration treats us as if we were pieces of a puzzle that can't fit together. they tried to put us into compartments and separate us from each other. their political theory is divide and conquer. they suggested time and time again that what is of interest to one group of americans is not of interest to anyone else. we've been isolated. e've been lump into that sad
phraseeology called special interest. they told farmers that they were selfish that they would drive up food price if they intervene on behalf of the family farm. we bought food from foreign countries. ell, that's wrong! they told working mothers, it's all their fall, the families are falling apart because they had to go to work to keep their kids and teens in tennis shoes in college and they're wrong! they told american laborers they were trying to ruin free enterprise by asking for 60 days
notice of plant clothing and hat's wrong. they told the auto industry and the steel industry and the timber industry and the oil industry, companies being threatened by foreign products flooding this country that your protectionists if you think the government should enforce our rade laws and that is wrong. when they be little us for demanding clean air and clean water for trying to save the oceans and the ozone layer, hat's wrong.
we've been told -- we've been told that the interest of the south and the southwest are not the same interests as the north and the northeast. ey pit one group against the other. they've divided this country. and in our isolation, we think government isn't going to help us. and we're alone in our feelings. we feel forgeten. well -- forgotten. well, the fact is that we're not an isolated piece of their puzzle. we are one nation. we are the united states of america.
now, we democrats believe that america is still the country of fair play. they can come out of a small town or a poor neighborhood and have the same chance as anyone else and it doesn't matter whether we are black or hispanic r disabled or women. we believe that america is a country where small business owners must succeed because they are the bedrock, backbone of our economy. we believe that our kids deserve good daycare and public schools. we believe our kids deserve
public schools where students can learn and teachers can teach. and we want to believe this our parents will have a good retirement and that we will too. we democrats believe that social security is a past that cannot be broken. we want to believe that we can live out our lives without the terrible fear that an illness is going to bankrupt us and our children. we democrats believe that america can overcome any problem
including the dreaded disease called aids. we believe that america is still a country where there is more to life than just a constant struggle more money. and we believe that america must have its leaders who show us that our struggles amount to something and contribute to something larger, leaders who want us to be all that we can be. we want leaders like jesse jackson.
caring about crime. caring about education. and caring about each other. now, in contrast, the greatest of the free world has had a leader for eight straight years that has pretended that he cannot here our questions over he noise of the helicopters. and we know he doesn't want an answer but we have a lot of questions and when we get our questions asked or there is a
america we want until we elect leaders who are going to tell the truth. [applause] not most days but every day. leader who is don't forget what they don't want to remember. and for eight straight years, george bush hasn't displayed the slightest interest in anything we care about. and now that he's after a job that he can't get appointed to -- [applause]
that they're fighting a war against terrorists. and then we find out that the white house is selling arms to the ayatollah. they tell us that they're fighting a war on drugs. and people come on tv and tell us that the c.i.a., and the f.d.a. and the f.b.i. knew they were flying drugs to america all along. and they're negotiating with a dictator who is shoving cocaine nto this country like crazy.
i guess that's their central american strategy. now they tell us that employment rates are great and they're for equal opportunity. but we know it takes two paychecks to make ends meet today when it used to take one. [applause] and the ton they're so proud of is low wage dead end jobs. and there is no major city in america where you cannot see homeless men sitting in parking
lots holding signs that say i ill work for food. now my friends, we really are at a crucial point in american history. under this administration, we have devoted our resources into making this country a military ome loss sus -- colossus but we've let our economic defense fall into disrepair. the debt of this nation is greater than it it has ever been in our history. we fought a world war on less debt than the republicans have built in the last eight years.
you know, it's kind of like that brother-in-law who drives a flashy new car but he's always borrowing money from you to make the payments. but let's take what they're proudest of that's their stand on defense. we democrats are committed to a strong america and quite frankly when our leaders say to us we need a new weapons system, our inclination is to say, well, they must be right. but when we paid billions for planes that won't fly, billions for tanks that won't fire and billions for systems that won't work, that old dog won't hunt. [applause]
and you don't have to be from waco to know that when the pentagon makes crooks rich and doesn't make america strong, it a bum deal. now, i'm going to tell you that when our young people miss the depression and miss the great big war but i do regret that they missed the leaders that i knew, leaders who told us when things were tough. and they would have to sacrifice and that these difficulties might last for a while. they didn't tell us things were hard for us because we were different or isolated or special interest. they brought us together and
they gave us a sense of national purpose. they gave us social security and they told us they were setting up a system where we could pay our own money in and when the time came for our retirement, we could take our people out. people in the rural area were told that they deserved to get electric lights and they were going to harness electricity so grand mama didn't have to carry that lamp aaron. they told us that the money was going to be insured. hey did not lie to us. [applause] and i think one of the savings graces of democrats is that we are candid. we talk straight talk. we tell people what we think.
and that tradition and those lues live today in michael ukakis from massachusetts. [applause] michael dukakis knows that this country is on the edge of a great new era, that we're not afraid of change, that we're for thoughtful, truthful, strong leadership. behind his calm there's an impatience to unify this country and to get on with the feature.
his instincts are deeply american. they're tough and they're generous and personally, i have to tell you that i have never met a man who had a more remarkable sense about what is really important in life. [applause] and then there's my friend and my teacher for many years, senator lloyd bentsen. and i couldn't be prouder both as a texan and as a democrat
because lloyd bentsen understands america. from the barrio to the board room, he knows how to bring us together by regions, by economics, and by example. and he's already beaten george bush once. so when it comes right down to it, this election is a contest between those who are satisfied with what they have and those who know we can do better. that's what this election is eally all about. it's about the american dream,
those who want to keep it for the few and those who know it must be nurtured and passed along. [applause] i'm a grandmother now and i have one nearly perfect granddaughter named lily. and when i hold that grandbaby, i feel the continuity of life that unites us, that binds that tion to generation ties us with each other. and sometimes i spread that baptist pallet out on the floor and lily and i roll a ball back and forth and i think of all the families like mine, and like the one in lorena, texas, like the
ones that nurture children all across america and as i look at lily, i know that it is within families that we learn both the need to respect individual human dignity and to work together for our common good. -- within our family, within our nation. it is the same. and as i sit there, i wonder if she'll ever grasp the changes she's seen in my life if there was ever a time when blacks could not drink from water fountains, when hispanic children were punished for speaking spanish in public schools and women couldn't vote. i want so much to tell lily how far we've come, you and i and as
the ball rolls back and for, i want to tell her how very lucky she is, that for all of our difference, we are still the greatest nation on this good earth. [applause] and our strength lies in the men and women who go to work every day, who struggle to balance their family and their jobs and be should never, ever forgotten. [applause] i just hope that like her