A few days ago, I spoke at Morehouse College, which is a historically black institution. Now I often encounter tremendous intelligence from the college students I meet when I speak on campuses - which I do a lot - but on this particular night, I think the student who spoke before me may have actually given the best speech of the night.
His name is Mark A. Smith II, and he is the political director of the Morehouse College Republicans. I love how he makes the case that the greatest fighters throughout our history have not been those who fought for activist government, but those who fought on behalf of freedom and opportunity.
Here is that speech in its entirety. Enjoy:
She is an intelligent woman, a hardworking woman and a woman who would never let her circumstances define her. She experienced unemployment at its worst, right after she moved into what she described as her dream home. Yes, she was on unemployment but she understood that unemployment and any other government assistance wasn’t a life sentence or a hand out, it was a hand up. Within a year, she was working again. It was contract work with no full time benefits, but she knew that she had to work and take whatever job was out there to support her family. Even in financial hardships, being a single mother and experiencing illness, she continuously put her family first and ensuring that her kids lived in a safe community and were pursuing their educational goals. Now, she’s back to work at the place she began her career, full time and with decent pay.
This woman is my mother. She’s always persistent, she always wants the best for her children, she always overworks and she always sacrifices. I’m thankful that her story, takes place in America.
You see folks; America is a place of hope, not only to our citizens but to the world. We are a nation whose history may not have always been pretty but the stories of how we overcome our adversities are beautiful.
America is 238 years old. We have experienced the nightmare of slavery and we have experienced the beauty of the emancipation proclamation. We have experienced the nightmare of Jim Crow and experienced the beauty of the Civil Rights Movement. We have experienced the nightmare of ignoring women rights and we have experienced the beauty of the Women’s suffrage movement. We experienced the beauty of The Roaring twenties, the nightmare of the Great Depression and the beauty of returning to economic power overcoming that Depression in a number of years.
When I think about these stories, big or small, there is one theme that reoccurs.
This theme is that, America is a place that defeats nightmares and restores dreams, The American Dream.
Despite what others want us to believe, America is Progress.
The American Dream is real. It’s the freedom to hope for better days ahead of us. Those who have sacrificed and died during monumental moments of our history died and sacrificed for a dream and a hope. They believed in America. Pastors like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in America with a dream, Presidents like President Calvin Coolidge believed in America with resilient hope. Women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton believed in America with a dream. Abolitionist like Fredrick Douglass believed in America with a new patriotic hope. War heroes like Sen. Daniel Inouye and General Richard Cavazo believed in America with a dream through service.
You too have the opportunity to believe in America.
You have the opportunity to continue to fight for economic opportunity and educational freedom.
You have the opportunity to get involved to ensure that the people’s party is heard.
Yes, I so happen to believe that the Republican Party is the people’s party.
We were founded as the party to free people, the party to protect civil rights, the party to fight for human life and the party to fight for educational rights.
The people’s party is the party that believes in empowering individuals and communities. Not giving more power to the government. When we give more power to the people, we see businesses sprout and living conditions improve. When we give more power to the government, children are trapped in schools based on their zip codes. When we give more power to the people, minority and women owned businesses will be able to flourish again without excessive government regulations that put them at a disadvantage. When we give more power to the government, they sell communities out for bigger businesses and larger tax payer paid stadiums relocating churches and displacing community residents.
The people’s party does not support low taxes just for the heck of it or because we want to bankrupt the government. We support lower taxes, for everyone, because people deserve to keep more of their hard earned money than to turn it over to a government who has no respect to spend it responsibly.
The people’s party does not support school choice and vouchers because we want to see public schools fail. No, we want all educational avenues to succeed but we want parents to have the right and opportunity to decide the best way for their child to flourish, not a teacher union.
The people’s party does not support immigration reform or border security because we are heartless, want to lock everyone up or send them back to their home countries. No, we support immigration reform because those who come to America seeking to live the dream should also be protected as an American, if and when they apply to become a citizen according to the law. We also must make sure our borders are safe, not to exclude us from the world but to protect our families, our dreams.
The people’s party doesn’t support business friendly policies because we just love businesses, love the rich or want to fill our pockets with money. No, we support them because these polices can be an engine for prosperity by encouraging businesses to stay here in America and create jobs for all Americans. Yes we support businesses creating jobs for people. If you think there is anything wrong with that then you haven’t met the average unemployed American citizen or better yet the 20% underemployed African Americans in our nation. These people want, need and deserve jobs.
Join us as we empower people. Join us as we dream again. The Grand Ole Party must become the Great, Opportunity, for People Party.