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In order to achieve everything we want to achieve, we have to stand up for what we believe in again. Standing up for what we believe means standing together. Restoring the American community is not something that can be done from a podium, or by any person, whether or not he or she is a candidate for public office; it is a goal that requires the active participation in our communities by each of us.
President Bush said time and time again in 2000 that he was "a uniter, not a divider," yet nothing could be further from the truth. His has been a policy of domestic division, and he has sought to advance his political agenda by dividing the American people by race, by gender, by sexual orientation, and by income. Dividing the American people against ourselves is not a sound foundation for governing; and in the end, if we allow such tactics of division to continue, we will not only have lost ground on the issues that we care about, we will have lost a fundamental characteristic of what it means to be an American -- the notion that we are all in this together.
On June 23, 2003, as I took the stage on Church Street in downtown Burlington to announce my presidential campaign, I was buoyed by the presence of so many family members, friends, and colleagues. I was thrilled that Vermont's Senators Pat Leahy and Jim Jeffords were there, too. Senators Leahy and Jeffords are terrific people. Pat is one of the consciences of the Senate; as chair of the Judiciary Committee, he fended off a number of inappropriate judicial nominees; he also was responsible for including "sunset clauses" in some of the more onerous parts of the Patriot Act.
Jim Jeffords became a national legend for his willingness to stand up to the president's radical agenda. When Jim left the Republican Party, largely out of frustration with the president's failure to fulfill his promises on education, he exhibited a true Vermont trait -- the willingness to do what is right, even when faced with the toughest opposition.
On that stunning early-summer day, I stood in front of more than thirty thousand Americans who had gathered in Burlington and, via the Internet, across the country. Much had changed in the year since I had first begun to travel around the country, listening to the concerns of my fellow Americans, understanding our shared fears, hopes, and aspirations. In many ways, that speech on June 23 was the culmination of what I had learned in a year of listening to the American people.
We were united that day in Vermont and throughout America, and we have been united in common cause and in ever-greater numbers since June 23. Our cause is the Great American Restoration -- the restoration of our ideals, of our communities, and of our nation's traditional role as a beacon of hope in the world. All of these have been endangered by the policies of the Bush administration, but the people of America have extraordinary power, and when the American people work together, in common cause, there is nothing that we cannot achieve.
Copyright © 2003 by Howard Dean
Posted December 1, 2003
This book is the story you don't read in the press, about the personal side to Dean. He seems like a really warm and thoughtful person. I especially like the fact that it is a $11 paperback rather than the more expensive hardcover formats of Clark, Edwards, Kerry, and Kucinivich.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.