I watched the announcement from South Bend, Indiana Sunday afternoon. It was a much longer program than I expected but what did I know. I've never watched a presidential announcement live before, only Obama's speech much later when he announced.
If you missed the speech here are the essentials:
I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor. It’s more than a little bold -- at age 37 -- to seek the highest office in the land. But the forces of change in our country today are tectonic. Forces that help to explain what made this current presidency even possible. That’s why, this time, it’s not just about winning an election -- it’s about winning an era.
This is one of those rare moments between whole eras in the life of our nation. Change is coming, ready or not. Such a moment calls for hopeful and audacious voices from communities like ours. And yes, it calls for a new generation of leadership.
The principles that will guide my campaign are simple enough to fit on a bumper sticker: freedom, security, and democracy.
Freedom: Health care is freedom. Consumer protection is freedom. Racial justice is freedom. Empowering teachers means freedom. Women’s equality is freedom. Organized labor sows freedom. And take it from Chasten and me, you are certainly not free if a county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry based on their political beliefs.
Security: The idea that security and patriotism belong to one political party needs to end now. I want to make this clear: the greatest nation in the world should have nothing to fear from children fleeing violence. More importantly, children fleeing violence ought to have nothing to fear from the greatest country in the world. And let's pick our heads up to face what might be the great security issue of our time: climate change and disruption.
Democracy: No issue we care about, from gun safety to immigration, from climate to education to paid family leave, will be handled well unless our democracy is in better shape. It’s hardly a democracy if “Citizens United” means dollars can drown out the will of the people. And we can’t say it’s much of a democracy when twice in my lifetime, the Electoral College has overruled the American people.
We stand on the shoulders of optimistic women and men. Women and men who knew that optimism is not a lack of knowledge, but a source of courage. It takes courage to move on from the past.
If you and I rise together to meet this moment, one day they will write histories, not just about one campaign or one presidency but about the era that begins here today.
So with hope in our hearts and fire in our bellies, let’s get to work!