Below the fold is the speech that Gloria Craven just delivered at the Democratic National Convention. It was a speech from the heart by one of the millions of Americans who has been harmed by George Bush's economy. The pundits who inhabit the bubble of Washington DC ought to pay heed to what she has to say. This is why so many ordinary Americans are completely fed up with Republican rule.
Please take the poll at the end. This is the classic question for judging the mood of the electorate in a presidential election year.
Gloria Craven's DNC speech:
Hello, everyone. My name is Gloria Craven. I live in Eden, North Carolina.
My story is not much different than a lot of other people in this country. I lived in a town built on textiles. Growing up, most of us didn’t have much use for schools, because we didn’t think a diploma meant that much. The important thing was taking care of your family. A lot of people in our area chose work over school.
I worked at the same place—for a company called Pillowtex—for 30 years. In 2003, the plant shut down for a week. The next week, when we were supposed to report back to work, we were told not to come in. A few weeks later, we were told the plant had closed. More than 8,000 people lost their jobs in one day. And that was it, after 30 years: no notice, no “thank you.” For the job he did, our CEO got a bonus of $300,000. Our union, UNITE-HERE, fought for several years to get back our vacation pay.
Overnight, my family and community totally changed. George Bush told us that we should all just go to college. But 65 percent of the people in the mill could barely read or write. We weren’t in a position to go to college, and we couldn’t afford it anyway.
My husband, Jacob, lost his job, too. Now, we live on his Social Security. I used to think I was middle class, but now we are living at the poverty level. I tell my husband how proud I am because even at his age, he’s going back to school. But for a 62-year-old man, who spent his life in the mills, there aren’t many opportunities.
I used trade adjustment assistance to go back to school myself and graduated in 2006. But I had some medical problems. Turns out walking on a concrete floor for 30 years was bad for my health. My husband and I worked hard all our lives. Now, we’re struggling to get by without health insurance and just a little retirement money.
There used to be a time in America when you felt like there were people in government who were looking out for people like me. But not the last eight years. I know I can’t stand another four years of George W. Bush.
But John McCain will be no different. When he said a few months ago that we’ve made great progress economically, it made me wonder: who does he mean by “we?” And then, I read he owns seven houses, and it was clear that “we” didn’t include “me.”
But Barack Obama has made me believe again. I get the feeling he cares about people like me and will create an America where things like hard work and loyalty mean something again.
My hope is that he’ll bring the change so many of us need.
I can’t wait to see Barack Obama in the White House.