Earlier this week, an extraordinary American gave a historic speech.
Senator Barack Obama addressed the issue of race with the eloquence and sincerity and decency and optimism we have come to expect of him.
He did not seek to evade tough issues or to soothe us with comforting half-truths.
Rather, he inspired us by reminding us of the awesome potential residing in our own responsibility.
Senator Obama could have given a safer speech.
He is, after all, well ahead in the delegate count for our party's nomination.
He could have just waited for the controversy over the deplorable remarks of Reverend Wright to subside, as it surely would have.
Instead, Senator Obama showed us once again what kind of leader he is.
He spoke to us as adults.
He asked us to ponder the weight of our racially-divided past, to rise above it, and to seize the opportunity to carry forward the work of many patriots of all races, who struggled and died to bring us together.
Senator Obama reminded us that cynicism is not realism, and that hope is not folly.
He called upon us not just to dream about a less racially-divided America, but also to do the hard work needed to build such an America.
He asked every American to see the reality and the pain of other Americans, so that together we can rise above that which has divided us.
He appealed to the best in us.
As a Hispanic, I was particularly touched by his words.
I have been troubled by the demonization of immigrants--specifically Hispanics-- by too many in this country.
Hate crimes against Hispanics are rising as a direct result and now, in tough economic times, people look for scapegoats and I fear that people will continue to exploit our racial differences—and place blame on others not like them.
We all know the real culprit -- the disastrous economic policies of the Bush Administration!
Senator Obama has started a discussion in this country long overdue and rejects the politics of pitting race against race.
He understands clearly that only by bringing people together, only by bridging our differences can we all succeed together as Americans.
His words are those of a courageous, thoughtful and inspiring leader, who understands that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
And, after 8 years of George W. Bush, we will desperately need such a leader.
Our national security and our global standing have been gravely damaged by the divisive partisanship of recent years.
We need a President who can bring us together as a nation so that we can face urgent global challenges and repair the damage done in the last 7 years.
Barack Obama will make the historic and vital investments into renewable energy, to help create clean energy jobs and fight global warming.
Barack knows that the safety and future of every American child requires that we restore our shared sense of national purpose, so that we can then set about the hard work of rebuilding our alliances and rehabilitating our image in a dangerous world.
By uniting our nation, we can reverse America's global decline.
We need a realistic, principled, and bipartisan foreign policy again.
We must restore our international reputation, our influence and our capacity to lead others.
America must become the beacon for the world again.
We need a foreign policy based upon American ideals, and not upon the mere ideology of a President.
A foreign policy of diplomacy and respect for international human rights.
We prospered and prevailed in the Cold War because both our friends and our enemies knew that containment of the Soviet Union and the promotion of democratic values was not a Democratic or a Republican policy – it was an American policy--the very essence of what America was.
Senator Obama understands the importance of realism, principle, and bipartisanship in foreign policy.
He opposed the Iraq war from the beginning because he knew that, despite what the Administration claimed, this war would not be easy.
He also opposed the war because he saw President Bush's rush to employ military force, and to do so without the support of most of our allies, as dangerous and unwarranted.
And he saw the war also for what it so quickly became – a terrible source of partisan political division -- and a catastrophic distraction from the war that had united us against the real threat posed by Al Qaeda.
Now, I trust him to do what is so long overdue—End the Iraq war and bring our troops home!!
I know Senator Obama well.
I first got to know him when I chaired the last Democratic National Convention, where he gave that wonderful keynote address.
And then, last year, as we campaigned against each other for the Presidency, I came to fully appreciate his steadfast patriotism and remarkable talents.
I also felt a kinship with him because we both had one foreign-born parent and we both lived abroad as children.
In part because of these experiences, Barack and I share a deep sense of our nation's special responsibilities in the world.
Barack Obama, you are an extraordinary leader who has shown courage, sound judgment and wisdom throughout your career.
You understand the security challenges of the 21st century, and you will be an outstanding Commander in Chief.
Above all, you will be a President who brings this nation together and restores American global leadership.
You will make every American proud to be an American, and I am very proud indeed to endorse your candidacy.
Before concluding my remarks, I would like to say that we are blessed to have two great American leaders and great Democrats running for President.
My great affection and admiration for Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will never waver.
It is time, however, for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to prepare for the tough fight we will face against John McCain in the Fall.
The 1990's were a decade of peace and prosperity because of the competent and enlightened leadership of the Clinton administration, but it is now time for a new generation of leadership to lead America forward.
Barack Obama will be a historic and a great President, who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad.
I know that all Democrats will work tirelessly to get him elected.
It is my distinct honor and privilege to introduce to you the next President of the United States, my friend, Barack Obama.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Text and Video of Richardson Endorsement
Video (hat tip to Pam's House Blend)