Barbara Jordan: Speaking the Truth with Eloquent Thunder

By Max Sherman | Go to book overview

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
KEYNOTE ADDRESS, NEW YORK, JULY 13, 1992

CHANGE: FROM WHAT TO WHAT?

It was at this time. It was at this place. It was at this event sixteen years ago, I presented a keynote address to the Democratic National Convention. I remind you, with modesty, I remind you that that year, 1976, we won the presidency. Why not repeat that performance in 1992? We can do it. We can do it. We can do it.

What we need to do, Democrats, is believe that it is possible to win. It is possible. We can do it. Now, you have heard a lot about change tonight. Every speaker here has said something about change. And I want you to talk with me for a few minutes about change. But I want you to listen to the way I have entitled my remarks—“Change: From What to What?” From what to what? This change—which is very rhetorically oriented—this change acquires substance when each of us contemplates the public mind. What about the public mind?

There appears to be a general apprehension in the country about the future. That apprehension undermines our faith in each other and our faith in ourselves. Undermines that confidence. The idea that America today will be better tomorrow has become destabilized. It has become destabilized because of the recession and the sluggishness of the economy. Jobs lost have become permanent unemployment rather than cyclical unemployment. The public mind. Public policy makers are held in low regard. Mistrust abounds. In this kind of environment, it is understandable that change would become the watchword of this time.

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