By Paul Sadler
June 8, 2012
The Paper today reads:
As Democrats gather in Houston, Texas – why bother?
The article asks does it matter for you to be here? Does it matter to be a democrat?
Well let me say this, for the millions of children whose education was cut by 5.2 billion dollars… it matters… yes!
- - For the teachers, the school administrators, the public school employees that lost their job – does it matter?
- - For our parents and our grandparents in our nursing homes and dependent upon social security and Medicare – does it matter?
- - For our seniors that don’t get health care because the Republican Party cared more about Grover Norquist than keeping their promise to our seniors – does it matter?
- - For our citizens with disabilities that saw funding cuts so Rick Perry and David Dewhirst could run for the Presidency of the United States and the United States Senate and seek their own personal ambitions – does it matter?
- - For the millions of Texans that the Republican Party is trying to deny the right to vote – does it matter?
- - For the woman of Texas that demand their right to control their own lives and their own health – does it matter?
- - For the men and women of Texas that love and care for each other and want to marry and affirm that love and end the discrimination prohibiting same sex marriage – does it matter to you?
- - For our college and University students with mounting debt and high interest – does it matter?
Does it matter to you that the Republican Party cuts higher education funding in this state? Does it matter?
For the children of this state, who through no fault of their own have no country… have no country…and dream to be American citizens – does the Dream Act matter?
For all the millions of Texans… for all the millions of Texans that were asked that question I say these two words… YA BASTA… enough.
We will be heard.
Let the word go forth from this time and this place that the Texas Democrats do matter.
That the precinct chairs, the county commissioners, the district judges, the district attorneys, all the people who work the polls, the millions of people that are registered as democrats do matter in the state of the Texas.
Let them know we will fight for our Texas.
We will stand up for every child, every woman, every man, every mother, every father in this state. We are Texas Democrats!
We built the state of Texas. We built the highways, the public education system, the higher education system, the hospitals, the airports. We are the party that built this state and we will not stand by and let the Republicans destroy it. We will not allow it.
I’m Paul Sadler and I’m running for the United States Senate.
I am sick and tired… of the Republican Party lying to the people of Texas.
They say they want clean air, but they do everything to pollute it.
They say they want clean water, but they do everything they can to destroy it.
They say they want education, but they will not fund it.
They say they care about our seniors, but they will not fund health care.
They say they care about our highways and roads, but they will not build them. Unless it’s a toll road! They will build a toll road. They will give that money to some foreign company to come in here and build our roads and charge us for it. They’re good about that.
We are the people of Texas. In the video that you saw a few minutes ago… I wrote the words, I have seen the spirit of Texas. I write my own speeches. There are dozens of people that will write speeches and anyone can stand up and give a memorized speech with applause lines and any twelve year old can deliver a punch line. But there is a big difference when you’ve actually seen the spirit of Texas.
The words to the line “I have seen the spirit of Texas” first came to me… when I met a young man with disabilities, at a family cemetery in the deep woods in rural east Texas.
He came to me after I spoke at a gathering. He rolled his wheelchair across that rough ground at the cemetery and with a stick between his teeth and an alphabet board he spelled the words “I love you.” That is the Spirit of Texas.
Over a decade later I watched my youngest son, struggling to overcome a head injury from an automobile accident, sit at a computer keyboard trying to spell out the same three words… because he couldn’t talk.
That spirit to survive… that determined spirit to communicate and reach out to other human beings… that spirit of love is Texas. It is one heart… the same heart… that binds us together.
We don’t talk about it enough. We don’t remember it often enough. We forget that this shared humanity is the same for all, rich and poor, black or white, Latino or Asian, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. It is what makes us human.
And we certainly don’t talk about it much at political conventions, but I will tell you it is what makes us great.
I see a world today where there is too much fiery rhetoric and too much hatred spewed across the airwaves and through the internet, without regard for the truth, without regard for the consequences or the vile hatred that is propagated upon our children and fellow man.
I see to many in the political arena willing to say any lie, distort any fact, destroy any hard fought life just to gain political advantage. And you and I suffer for it. We suffer as a country for it… it speaks to our character.
It speaks to our character both individually and collectively, and serving in the United States Senate is all about character, don’t doubt it for a minute.
You can tell a lot about a man’s character by the campaign he runs.
I’ve watched for six months and listened to the dribble of the Republican candidates for Senate. I’ve watched them accuse each other of lying. I’ve watched Politifact do fact checks on what they say and call it reckless disregard for the truth or misrepresentation, which is a nice way of saying a lie. And you know when you say it one time – that’s one thing – but our Lieutenant Governor says it over and over and over again, even when he is told it’s false. And folks if you will lie to get elected -what will you do to stay elected?
Isn’t it time for us to speak clearly… about what character means and about how important it is to all of us? If I cannot reflect that character for you, if the person that you elect to be the next United States Senator, cannot reflect that character – then we all suffer… it is what is missing in our country today.
While there are many issues that divide us, there are many issues that define us and our character.
We call ourselves Democrats because we believe in the value of hard work.
We believe in the dignity of all citizens, regardless of their faith or skin tone or ancestry.
We are a people of faith… committed to the protection of the free exercise of individual faith and, yet, will defend the right of those that have no faith.
We believe in the great Constitution of our Country. A Constitution that, despite what the Republicans say, does not belong just to them – it belongs to all of us. It is a Constitution for all of us in this great country.
We believe in a strong defense and we will use our military to protect our citizens and our freedoms.
These are common American beliefs that do not belong to any one party. They certainly don’t belong just to the Republican Party and I’m sick and tired of them trying to claim them all.
There are issues that make us different as Democrats.
We believe that the opportunity of this country should be available to all and that all should have equal opportunity to it. While others may believe that government exists to make the rich get richer, we believe our government has the responsibility to protect the less fortunate, be compassionate to the downtrodden as they rebuild their lives and keep it’s promise to the elderly.
The Republican candidates for the Senate have had 35 different media events, and I’ve been invited to 1. And in those 35 media events this is what we know – see if this is who you are.
We know they oppose Social Security and its current benefits.
We know they oppose Medicare and Medicaid and its current benefits.
We know they oppose the Affordable Health Care Act.
- including elimination of the preexisting condition exemption
- they oppose free annual screenings for our seniors
- they oppose closing the doughnut hole for prescription medication
- they oppose allowing our children to remain on our insurance until age 26.
- they oppose the efficiencies of savings from coordination of care
They oppose increased funding of education.
They oppose the protection of clean water and clean air through the EPA.
They oppose a woman’s right to control her own health care.
They oppose coverage for contraception for women.
They oppose… even the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. An Act to protect women from domestic abuse… they oppose renewal of that Act.
They oppose the elimination of the discrimination of all of our citizens to the right to marriage… same sex marriage.
They oppose the Dream Act.
They are opposed to any pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers no matter how onerous or difficult it may be
And they will even risk the full faith and credit of this great country to embarrass the dully elected President of the United States of America.
That’s what they stand for – Is that who we are? Is that what you want?
These are the issues and freedoms at stake in the race for the United States Senate.
And we have not even mentioned the egregious disenfranchisement of the very right to vote in this country or the tax breaks for the wealthy or the tax cuts to the corporations or the granting of unlimited money to corporations and calling it free speech. They will destroy our right to a meaningful election. They are about destroying your right to vote.
You know they claim they are patriotic – when I was raised – patriotism meant we defend the right to vote, not take it away.
I’ve heard them stand and declare their Christianity, but that’s not the Christianity I was raised to believe in. Christianity and every religion in this world… professes the duty to take care of the sick and affirmed and disabled and the poor. That’s not what the Republican Party stands for, that’s what this Party stands for! And if your going to start wearing your faith on your sleeve then you better stand up, step up to the plate and start living what you preach. …. Aren’t you sick of that?
It amazes me watching the Republican Senatorial candidates try to out poor each other. They try to out poor each other. How they all try to talk about how poor they were. How they all tried to say they came from broken families. Okay. Well let me set the record straight. I came from a family with a mother and father that loved me. They raised me, took me to school and educated me and it’s just as much of the American dream as anything else. We don’t have to make up stories. We don’t have to prove how poor we are to understand what Texas needs, but we do have to understand the spirit of Texas and we have to understand what our duty is to each other.
I want to talk to you just for a minute about a young man I happened to meet a couple weeks ago.
Perhaps no issue defines the difference between the two Parties better than the Dream Act and perhaps no Act is more misunderstood in parts of our state then what the Dream Act really means.
This young man is 20 years old. He was brought to this country by his mother and father on a work visa at age 10. His mother and father stayed beyond their visa. He went on to graduate with honors from High School. He went to the University of Houston and is receiving a degree in Mathematics. He is a campus leader and his friends and fellow students believe he has a great future and he started to get job offers. But this young man can’t get a job, because at the bottom of that form for employment he can’t check “I’m a United States Citizen.” He has no pathway to be a United States Citizen.
Now, the Republican candidates for United States Senate, when asked about the Dream Act, call that young man and young women and men like that, criminals. Their exact words, “these are criminals.” They call them illegals. They say its amnesty – send them home.
Well if you send that young man home – he goes to jail. Is that who we are? Is that the state of Texas? Is that the way you were raised? Is that what you want your state to be?
You know politicians like to end speeches with a phrase, “God Bless Texas.” We say God Bless Texas because it makes us feel good and it makes you feel good. But listen carefully to me… God forgive us if we forget that young man and the 30,000 kids trapped without a country… without a future.
And you know the worst part of it. That young man looked me in the eyes and he apologized. He said “I feel guilty, because this great country educated me and now I’m of the age where I can give back, where I can work and pay taxes, and you won’t let me.” And I said just one minute. That’s the biggest lie in the whole Dream Act debate.
You see they call those children freeloaders. But we pay for education in this state through the gasoline tax, through property tax, and through sales tax. And every day that his mother and father filled up their car with gas, they went to the store and shopped, and they paid their rent, they paid for his education. Just like I paid for my children’s education. And it’s a lie that we must fight. Don’t you feel guilty young man! You earned your right.
We are the ones that should be embarrassed. We are the ones that should feel guilty, because we haven’t allowed that young man to become part of the American dream and be part of the greatest country on this earth. That’s all he wants.
In 1968 Robert Kennedy gave what many believe to be one of the greatest speeches of all time, titled The Mindless Menace of Violence. I want you to listen to his words and think of that young man. I’m not going to read all of them just a few of them.
Too often we honor swagger and bluster, too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings. But this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls.
For when you teach a man to hate and fear his bother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color, or his beliefs, or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom, or your job, or your home, or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies – to be met not with cooperation, but with conquest, to be subjugated and mastered.
We learn at last to look at our brothers as aliens. Alien men whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share a common fear – only a common desire to retreat from each other – only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force.
Surely we can learn, at the least, to look at those around us as fellow men and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us to become in our hearts – brothers and countrymen once again.
I talk about the Spirit of Texas and one heart. And if I can be so bold to add to Senator Kennedy’s words I would say: it is in the moments of life, in the hallways of schools and hospitals, at the little league ballgames and soccer matches, it is sitting in pews hearing the rhythmic sounds of the African-American church, or the small shelter of a church in the valley, it is across the wind swept plains of West Texas and the Panhandle, or in the small family cemetery in East Texas – when we are stripped bare of all the trappings of bias and prejudice that we know – we remain – a single beating heart…
That is Texas, and that is why it matters.
At our very best, we the people of Texas, reflect that spirit and that single heart.
And, my friends, that is who your next United States Senator must be.
My name is Paul Sadler, I am a candidate to the United States Senate.
Will you stand with me?