141 Proud to be a Card-Carrying, Flag-Waving, Patriotic American Liberal
I Do Not See My America
- My name is Jean Hay. I'm a candidate for U.S. Senate.
- I've been asked why I'm running. Why would a writer and mother with better things to do turn her life upside-down and run for the U.S. Senate, an institution which decent people are leaving in droves?
- I am drawn into this race by what I see happening in Washington, by what I see a Republican Congress – in office for less than two years – doing to the very soul of the country I love so deeply.
- The Republicans are disfiguring my America.
- I do not recognize my America in the Republican push to deny health care to children and the elderly.
- I do not see my America in the Republican attempts to abolish the minimum wage.
- I do not see my America in the Republican drive to declare the wombs of American women to be government property.
- I was taught government should provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare.
- Instead, Congress is providing for defense contractors, and slashing the general welfare.
- I was taught government should care for those who cannot care for themselves, while helping the rest of us reach our full potential.
- Instead, Congress wants to throw sick people out of our institutions, turn off heating assistance, steal the Earned Income Credit, and provide for our youth by building more jails.
- I was taught that education was the key to a better, more prosperous America.
- Instead, Congress tells people to get a job, but refuses to loan them money for education or job training, or provide them with day care for their children.
- I was taught we as a nation agreed on basic principles. Simple principles such as the value of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I thought we all understood and appreciated the radical ideas upon which this country was founded – that we are a nation of native peoples and immigrants, that we are encouraged to keep our heritage, lose our animosities, and celebrate the resulting diversity.
- Instead I see a Republican Congress trying to divide us.
- Divide us along income lines. Divide us along gender lines. Along religious lines. Along racial lines.
- I want to bring us back together.
- You must admit, this Republican Congress has managed to shake people up. It certainly has shaken me.
- So I am running for U.S. Senate because I want to return to Washington the vision of a compassionate, caring, productive, and free America, founded upon a belief in the ability of all people to do great things, if they are given the chance.
- I have been given the chance, and I intend to work hard to make the best of it.
- There are those in this race, in both major parties, with great personal wealth, candidates who will try to sell themselves to voters as one would sell toothpaste.
- I do not have wealth. My dad worked in a steel mill in Ohio. My home in Bangor is modest, but paid for. My assets are meager, and my children have long understood they will have to work for a living.
- Yet I feel wealthy and fortunate to have been born and raised in the United States of America. My maternal grandparents were from Ukraine. My mother grew up – and I grew up – being told time and again how wonderful this country is, and how different – and dreadful – the alternatives were in other places in the world.
- I want to pass that sense of wonder and freedom on to my grandchildren – if my kids can afford to have children – and to future generations across this country.
- Remember being told as a child that you could be anything you wanted to be? A scientist? A musician? Even president?
- I believed that, way back then. And I acted on it, time and again. I have been many things I wanted to be – a wife and mother, a journalist, an organic farmer, a pyro-technician. I have been lucky, and blessed.
- And now it's payback time. I want to repay America by working for America.
- A student at Colby College asked me the other day why I would want to subject myself to that mess in Washington. Why would I put myself in the path of the likes of Newt Gingrich? Or Pat Buchanan, who believes women are ''less equipped psychologically to stay the course?''
- I told him I want to be Maine's next U.S. senator because I know bad things happen when good people sit by and do nothing.
- Bad things are happening, and I cannot sit by and do nothing.
- I know I have my limits. I know I can only do what I can do.
- But I also know I have to do what I can do. We all have to do what we can do. That's why we're together in this room today.
- With your help, with your vote for me in the June primary, and again in November, we can turn this country around.
- We can take back our country, so we'll have it to give to our kids.
- It's something we have simply got to do.
-- Address at Portland City Democratic Committee Caucus, Portland High School
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PO Box 319, Stillwater ME 04468-0319 Bruce Littlefield, Treasurer.