A Speech, before the Oregon 4th Congressional District Convention, Democratic Party 4/13/96

Notes: This speech was given in a vain attempt to become a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August. The REASON was to bring forward a matter which I feel that we Democrats have an opportunity to address this year. Response was good, and, though I did not win, I made my point, and I am happy with the delegates we DID select. I am happy to be a Precinct Committee Person (aka Ward Heeler, Eugene Precinct 127 -- remember to vote for me in the State Primary, May 21st! -- Precinct 127-registered Democrats only, please).

Remember, if you snootily register "INDEPENDENT" that merely means that you don't get to vote in the primaries -- you just get to bitch in the general election that you don't like any of the candidates. Aren't you clever?

You can vote for WHOEVER YOU DAMNED WELL PLEASE in the general election. And, take my word for it, it is NOT a lack of opportunity that keeps your voice from being heard -- it is ONLY through a lack of interest on your part. There -- don't come crying to me that your government doesn't understand you. You're it, if you've the wit to use your mouth for something besides stuffing potato chips in.

Grow the hell up, and learn that NOBODY gets every damned thing they want in life, but only three-year-olds find this situation intolerable. The rest of us learn the art of compromise. We call it being a "grown up." Or a citizen.

by Hart Williams (c) 1996

[Two minutes]

(Allegro) On the table in the back of the room, I've set forth my qualifications so that you can make an informed choice. I will not repeat them here, except to ask you to take a moment to read what I've written before you vote.

I would just like to make two points.

First, that this election may well prove to be the single most important election of our lifetimes. The convention will be somewhat cut and dried, but that DOESN'T mean it isn't going to be important.

I believe that Oregon needs to have a voice at our National Convention, and I pledge myself to work for our delegation -- even if all that means is for someone who is willing to fold chairs and pick up Styrofoam coffee cups. I will do WHATEVER it takes to aid our delegation in connecting with Democrats nationwide, and in making sure that those connections lead to a sweeping Democratic victory in November.

[pause: 45 sec.]

(Slower) My second point is simply this:

In 1968, the Democratic Convention in Chicago was a national ... well, you KNOW what happened.

We Democrats have been trying to lay the ghost of Chicago in 1968 to rest for 28 years now. This is our chance to do just that.

Symbolism is very important here. We will -- with much justification and pride -- point to our women delegates, and our minority delegates. This is important.

But I want you to consider this: The people who were being beaten in the streets of Chicago in 1968 were, in large part, long-haired white guys. I personally know many who are still disfigured, who are still missing TEETH from that Convention.

So, because symbolism IS important, I think that it is vital that we send a "Long Hair" to Chicago. I know that you are intelligent enough to realize what a profound message THAT would send to America.

Whether it is myself or another, I think that it IS important for you to consider, and I ask for your support.

Thank you. [Two minutes]


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