Today I want to celebrate the good we see around us. I do not want to minimize what is happening in TX and LA; nor am I suggesting that 45*s idiocy can be ignored. But August recess is almost over, and the need for daily/weekly calls to our reps will be essential once again. We are more aware than ever of the need to confront racism and sexism in all its forms, and there will be ongoing calls for support as Harvey moves on and the rebuilding begins. We’re far from out of the storm, but today, let’s create and enjoy a brief breathing space.
The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.
Found on the Internets …
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY):
Senator Gillibrand on the AHCA:
“It’s time to stop the nonsense, and put people over politics. I look at my kids, and I don’t know what I would do if our family was going to be on the losing end of this cruel bill. Please imagine how heartbreaking it would be if your child was sick and needed care, but couldn’t afford the medicine, the treatment, or the surgery that was needed to save their lives. It’s unbearable to consider, and it goes against our American values.”
-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)
From the Obama Foundation … and the Obamas:
“What’s Next from Barack and Michelle Obama”
The Obama Foundation will be a living, working startup for citizenship — an ongoing project for us to shape, together, what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century. We are based on the South Side of Chicago and will have projects all over the city, the country, and the world.
We want to hear from you. Send us your ideas, your hopes, your beliefs about what we can achieve together. This will be your Foundation just as much as it is ours, so share your voice at obama.org.
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event in the East Room of the White House last week, a tradition she started in 2015. Her remarks became an emotional farewell and a call to not lose hope.
As I end my time in the White House, I can think of no better message to send our young people in my last official remarks as First Lady. So for all the young people in this room and those who are watching, know that this country belongs to you — to all of you, from every background and walk of life. If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition — the infusion of new cultures, talents and ideas, generation after generation, that has made us the greatest country on earth. […]
And when you encounter obstacles — because I guarantee you, you will, and many of you already have — when you are struggling and you start thinking about giving up, I want you to remember something that my husband and I have talked about since we first started this journey nearly a decade ago, something that has carried us through every moment in this White House and every moment of our lives, and that is the power of hope — the belief that something better is always possible if you’re willing to work for it and fight for it.
It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country. Our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, then we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us. The hope that when people see us for who we truly are, maybe, just maybe they, too, will be inspired to rise to their best possible selves. […]
That’s my final message to young people as First Lady. It is simple. (Applause.) I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don’t be afraid — you hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.
Full transcript it below.
The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.
From the White House – Weekly Address
In this week’s address, the President and the First Lady wished all Americans a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. They reflected on the honor of serving the American people as President and First Lady over the past eight years and the progress that has been made. The President and the First Lady recognized our troops and their families for their service, and they encouraged everyone to visit JoiningForces.gov to find out how to support service members, veterans, and military families in your community.
From the Obama White House:
On Thursday, the White House hosted an event highlighting Hidden Figures in the history of space exploration. The event featured the stories of individuals who have made significant contributions to human space flight, space science, and innovation but who have not often had their stories told. The event included a Q&A with the cast and crew of the movie Hidden Figures and remarks from Administration officials.
(Michelle Obama appears at 27:30 into the program)
Now, these women [Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan] couldn’t even drink from the same water fountain or use the same bathroom as many of their colleagues — and you all are too young to even imagine that. You’ve read that in the history books, but that’s how close this history is. These women — their families are still breathing beings, and this happened in my lifetime and in many of your parents’ and grandparents’ lifetimes. And folks didn’t always take these women seriously because they were black, and also because they were women.
But they didn’t listen to those doubters. You understand? They did not listen to the haters — because they’re always out there. They’re out there even today.
What they listened to was other voices — teachers who said that they had something special to offer. See, because in all the noise that you hear, there’s always a voice of power and beauty and positivity. Each and every one of you, if you think about it, no matter what negativity you hear, there is always some ray of positive hope out there that you can choose to take in. These women did that.
They listened to their families and their friends who said, “you are worthy,” and they told them, “don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are less-than.” So you have to choose to let those voices into your life, and block out those that don’t reflect your reality.
Full transcript is below.
Watching the rally in Philadelphia last night and seeing Chelsea Clinton introducing her father, former President Bill Clinton, who introduced our First Lady Michelle Obama who introduced her husband, President Barack Obama, who then introduced the woman we hope will be our next president, Hillary Clinton, I was struck by what it means to be a Democrat.
We put smart, caring, capable people in the White House.
We do not insult people’s intelligence by saying that having “enough working digits to hold a pen and sign legislation” is the only qualification for the presidency. We do not pretend that words, and actions, don’t matter, that a reality TV celebrity is the same as a person whose depth and breadth of experience makes her the most qualified presidential candidate in our lifetimes. We put country over party by making sure that the candidates our party nominates are qualified and capable not just popular or flamboyant.
We are the Democratic Party and look at how wonderful our political leaders are!
Transcript of Michelle Obama’s and President Obama’s speeches are below.
On Thursday, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to a crowd at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
For those of us who expected a lot of WIN, we were not disappointed.
Strong Democratic women who care deeply about our country and its future – doing everything they can to make that future possible.
Thank you, Michelle Obama, for your passionate support of Hillary Clinton. And thank you, Hillary, for the campaign you have run and the president you will be.
WH transcript of Mrs. Obama’s speech is below.
On Thursday, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to a large crowd in Phoenix Arizona about the importance of this election and her support for Hillary Clinton.
And let me just say that since [my speech last week], my office has been flooded with thousands of letters and emails from folks all across the country. Women of all ages finding the courage to stand up and tell their stories, clearing the cloud of shame that existed for far too long. Parents declaring that our daughters — and our sons — deserve better. (Applause.) Speaking out for the values of decency and respect that we all hold dear. Men of all backgrounds and walks of life agreeing that decent men do not demean women — (applause) — and we shouldn’t tolerate this behavior from any man, let alone a man who wants to be the President. (Applause.)
And let me just tell you, I have been so moved and so humbled by these responses — by the powerful affirmation of our shared values. But what I have not been is surprised. Let me tell you, because this kind of courage and decency and compassion — this is who we are. This is the America that I know.
Who we are:
Well, Barack and I — and our friend, Hillary — (applause) — we have a very different perspective on this country, one that has everything to do with where we come from and how we were raised. You see, we all grew up in working families. As you know, Barack was raised by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills, and by grandparents who stepped up to help. My dad was a shift worker at the city water plant, and let me tell you, he and my mom scrimped and saved every penny to send me and my brother to college. (Applause.) Hillary’s mother was an orphan, abandoned by her parents. Hillary’s father — small business owner — stayed up nights, poring over his books, working hard to keep their family afloat.
See and when you grow up like us — doing your best to keep it all together — you come in contact with all kinds of people. And yes, you witness a lot of struggles and hardships. But let me tell you, you also see so many triumph, so much beauty so much joy. That’s my life. (Applause.)
So you learn empathy. You learn compassion. You learn that folks may not look or think like you, but when it comes to what really matters in life — our values and our dreams — we’re not all that different. (Applause.) […]
You learn that when folks are down on their luck, it’s not because they deserve it. It’s not because they’re unworthy –because you’ve seen firsthand that sometimes bad things happen to good people and when times are tough, hope is all you have.
So the hope that sustains us isn’t some naïve idea that if you sit around and do nothing, everything will be okay. No, no, our hope is grounded in hard work and hard-earned faith. It is grounded in belief that there is something greater than us that reminds us that we are all precious and worthy, no matter where we come from or what we’ve been through. (Applause.) That’s what Barack and I believe. That’s what Hillary believes too. (Applause.)
Who Hillary Clinton’s opponent is:
Now sadly, for some reason, Hillary’s opponent comes from a different place. I don’t know, perhaps living life high up in a tower, in a world of exclusive clubs, measuring success by wins and losses and the number of zeroes in your bank account — perhaps you just develop a different set of values. Maybe with so little exposure to people who are different than you are — becomes easy to take advantage of those who are down on their luck, folks who play by the rules — pay what they owe — because to you — (applause) — to you those folks just aren’t very smart and seem somehow less deserving.
And if you think this way, then it’s easy to see this country as “us” versus “them.” And it’s easy to dehumanize “them” — to treat “them” with contempt — because you don’t know them. You can’t even see them.
Full White House transcript below.
On Wednesday afternoon, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to students at La Salle University in Philadelphia Pennsylvania about the importance of voting and, specifically, why they need to vote for Hillary Clinton.
As someone who has seen the presidency up close and personal, let me share with you what I’ve learned about this job — lessons that seem even more relevant, even more critically important after watching Monday’s debate. First and foremost, this job is hard. It is the highest-stakes, most 24/7 job you can possibly imagine. The issues that cross a President’s desk are never easy. And solutions to persistent, systemic challenges are never black and white. […]
When it comes to the qualifications we should demand in a President, to start with, we need someone who will take the job seriously, someone who will study and prepare so that they understand the issues better than anyone else on their team.
And we need someone with superb judgment in their own right. Because a President can hire the best advisors on Earth, but I guarantee you that five advisors will give five different opinions, and it is the President — and the President alone — who always has to make the final call. We also need someone who is steady and measured. Because when making life-or-death, war-or-peace decisions, a President just can’t pop off or lash out irrationally. No, we need an adult in the White House, I guarantee you.
And finally, we need someone who is compassionate. Someone who will be a role model for our kids. Someone who’s not just in this for themselves but for the good of this entire country — all of us. See, at the end of the day, as I’ve said before, the presidency doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are. And the same is true of a presidential campaign.
When I hear folks saying that they don’t feel inspired in this election, I have to disagree. See, because for eight years, I have seen what it takes to actually do this job. And here’s what I know for sure: Right now, we have an opportunity to elect one of the most qualified people who has ever endeavored to become President. Hillary has been a lawyer, a law professor, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State. That’s why I’m inspired by Hillary.
I’m inspired by her persistence, her consistency; by her heart and by her guts. And I’m inspired by her lifelong record of public service. No one in our lifetime has ever had as much experience and exposure to the presidency — not Barack, not Bill, nobody — and, yes, she happens to be a woman. (Applause.)
So, trust me, Pennsylvania, experience matters. Preparation matters. Temperament matters. And Hillary Clinton has it all. She’s the real deal.
Michelle Obama tells young people how important voting is and concludes:
So let me tell you, especially our young people, don’t let anyone ever take away your hope. Don’t let them do it. That’s what makes America great. And we deserve a President who can see those truths in us. A President who believes that each of us is part of the American story and we’re always stronger together. A President who can bring out the best in us — our kindness, our decency, our courage, our determination, so that we can keep perfecting our union and passing those blessings of liberty down to our children.
Hillary Clinton will be that President. And from now until November, I am going to work as hard as I can to get her and Tim Kaine elected. We need you to do the same thing. We need you to do everything you can to close the door on this election and make it happen so we can keep moving this country forward.
Full transcript below.