I marched with Martin Luther King

From a speech by Joseph Lieberman, Al Gore's presidential running mate to the Democrat National Convention in Los Angeles
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The Independent Online

Is America a great country, or what? Ten days ago, with courage and friendship, Al Gore asked me to be his running mate. This has been an extraordinary week for my family and me. There's an old saying that behind every successful man there is a surprised mother-in-law. I am here tonight to tell you, it's true.

Is America a great country, or what? Ten days ago, with courage and friendship, Al Gore asked me to be his running mate. This has been an extraordinary week for my family and me. There's an old saying that behind every successful man there is a surprised mother-in-law. I am here tonight to tell you, it's true.

Tonight, I am so proud to stand as your candidate for Vice-President of the United States. Only in America. I am humbled by this nomination and so grateful to Al Gore for choosing me. And I want you to know, I will work my heart out to make sure Al Gore is the next President of the United States.

We have become the America that so many of our parents dreamed for us. But the great question this year is, what will we dream for our country and how will we make it come true?

We who gather here tonight believe, as Al Gore has said, that it's not just the size of our national feast that is important but the number of people we can fit around the table. There must be room for everybody.

In the early Sixties, when I was a college student, I walked with Martin Luther King in the march on Washington. Later that fall, I went to Mississippi, where we worked to register African-Americans to vote.The people I met never forgot that in America every time a barrier is broken the doors of opportunity open wider for everyone. And I have tried to see America through the eyes of families who had the deck stacked against them but fought back.

And that's why I believe the time has come to tear down the remaining walls of discrimination in this nation based on race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation. And that's why I continue to say, when it comes to affirmative action: Mend it, don't end it. When you try to see the world through other people's eyes you understand that the smallest changes can make the biggest differences in all of our lives. That's something I don't think our Republican friends understand.

Two weeks ago, our Republican friends tried to walk and talk a lot like us. But let's be honest, we may be near Hollywood, but not since Tom Hanks won an Oscar has there been that much acting in Philadelphia. I am glad the GOP changed their rhetoric but I wish they would change their policies.

It's a good thing that our opponent is talking about health care. We see health care through a different set of eyes. We know that health care is one of the most important problems facing families today. We believe that medical decisions should be made by doctors, not bureaucrats. We believe that senior citizens shouldn't be stopped from filling a prescription because they can't afford to pay for it. And Al Gore and I are the only candidates in this race who will extend access to health care coverage to every single child in America.

Al Gore is a man of courage and conviction. He volunteered for Vietnam. Together, we crossed party lines to support the Gulf War. I was there in the room when he forcefully argued that America's principles and interests were at stake in Bosnia and Kosovo. Two weeks ago, our opponent claimed that America has a hollow military. I must tell you, that made me angry. Our fighting men and women are the best-trained, best-equipped, most potent fighting force in the history of the world, and they will stay that way when Al Gore and I are elected.

Al Gore is a man of vision and values. Long before it became popular, Al and Tipper led a crusade to renew the moral centre of this nation, to call America to live by its highest ideals. That's why I hope you will conclude, as I have, that for his honesty, for his strength, for his integrity, and for his character, Al Gore must become the next President of the United States.

Tonight I believe that the next frontier isn't just in front of us, but inside of us , to overcome the differences that are still between us, to break down the barriers that remain and to help every American claim the limitless possibilities of their own lives.

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