Sunday, December 17, 2006

2008: Edwards Will Run & He's No 'Ken Doll'

John Edwards stands with citizens in New Orleans on a trip meant to assist residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards took the trip with a group of college students who gave up their Spring Break to assist others in March, 2006.

The buzz is that Senator John Edwards will announce that he's running for President in 2008. The announcement will allegedly be made by Senator Edwards from the city of New Orleans, and it will allegedly happen before the end of this year. As my headline indicates, John Edwards aims to continue to show citizens who he is on the campaign trail - the person behind the handsome exterior that people see.

In politics, it's all to easy for voters to get caught up on vanity issues and the media focus on "looks" doesn't help. [How many times in 2004 did you hear that John Kerry "looked French"?] Senator Edwards wishes to get away from sterotypes and remain authentic on the campaign trail. In his words, "I'd rather be successful or unsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some plastic Ken doll." That sounds emotionally literate to me, and the way I see it, it will be an uphill battle since most of America really isn't all that emotionally literate. I think that, along with Edwards himself, his grassroots supporters will help to communicate that under that beautiful exterior lies a vision that is equally lovely for America.

I see greatness in this man, and I trust that the rest of the nation, if they don't already see it, will see it very soon.

I read a comment today at MyDD that sums up the contrast between Bush's agenda and Edwards' vision for America.

Imagine the contrast between Edwards and Bush in NOLA - Bush showed up in the middle of the night, had his people set up a lighted scene (in the middle of a city that had no power) and told a bunch of bald-faced lies about how he would help the people of New Orleans.

Contrast that with Edwards, in the middle of the day, with the still-devastated ruins of New Orleans behind him, speaking about those who have been forgotten, how the American people deserve better than this and how America, as a nation, will again prove itself to be better than this

When Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter's House in Dallas, Texas delivered an inspiring and healing sermon at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on the 2005 National Day of Prayer for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, he said:
"Restoration is more than observation." We can no longer be a nation of people who can pass the ghetto on our way to Mardi Gras, to pass Harlem on our way to Manhattan, or to pass Compton on our way to Rodeo Drive while ignoring the poverty of our fellow Americans.

I have written features for the One America Committee blog for over a year now. I was asked to write my first guest feature the week before Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. I realized, once Katrina had shockingly come and gone and left a mass of misery behind her, that Senator John Edwards held the most important message and vision for not only the future of New Orleans, but all of America. In one of my first guest features, September, 2005, I wrote that I believed that the tragedy surrounding Katrina had morally required and empowered all of us to change America. It had driven John Edwards’ “Two Americas” message front and center – and straight into our hearts and minds. Everything that has happened since the winds of Katrina blew back the curtain and exposed the face of poverty in America has only sealed the thoughts I'd had in 2005 about John Edwards' message. Brownie didn't do a heck of a job. Bush virtually ignored his own promises made in post Katrina New Orleans to act on the poverty he admitted that he finally saw, and God knows why he never saw it before Katrina. He was our President. He had no excuse. His abdication of responsibility to fulfill his promises to do something about poverty is reprehensible. Americans are sick of empty promises and the divisive leadership they've witnessed for so long. They seek moral leadership. They seek honesty, truth, and realistic and ethical thinking from a President. They want to be proud once again to say they are Americans.

Katrina Tragedy Heightens Awareness of John Edwards’ Two Americas Message
Jude Nagurney Camwell
Written September, 2005

Hurricane Katrina has moved the issue of poverty into the forefront of America's consciousness. I think that George Lakoff has best explained how it happened: "The Katrina tragedy should become a watershed in American politics. This was when the usually invisible people suddenly appeared in all the anguish of their lives -- the impoverished, the old, the infirm, the kids and the low-wage workers with no cars, TVs or credit cards. They showed up on America's doorsteps, entered the living rooms and stayed. Katrina will not go away soon, and she has the power to change America."

As we here at the One America blog know very well, John Edwards has faced economic adversity in his own lifetime and has waged war on both material poverty and the poverty of spirit. If you read what is being said in the media today, you will understand that this tragedy has brought about a heightened awareness of John Edwards’ “Two Americas” message.

"We can't keep ignoring poverty," Teresa Rugg of Snohomish, WA says in a letter to the editor of her local newspaper, "In my book, a 'developed country' is one that places all of its people first."

Eric Foner says, "Let's hope the country finally awakens to the consequences of years of trickle-down economics, tax cuts for the rich, privatization of public responsibilities and the demonization of both government and the poor."

NY Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof recognizes that Hurricane Katrina has underscored a much larger problem: "the growing number of Americans trapped in a never-ending cyclone of poverty. He uses Japan as an example of a nation which has tried hard to stitch all Japanese together into the nation's social fabric. Kristof says, "In contrast, the U.S. - particularly under the Bush administration - has systematically cut people out of the social fabric by redistributing wealth from the most vulnerable Americans to the most affluent. It's not just that funds may have gone to Iraq rather than to the levees in New Orleans; it's also that money went to tax cuts for the wealthiest rather than vaccinations for children."

Eugene Kane of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel expects that many of those effected by Katrina will be children, who are victims because they belonged to poor families either unwilling or incapable of evacuating areas in the path of the storm. He says, "children were the purest victims of poverty, the ones not expected to have jobs and paychecks, cars or food stocks or emergency provisions. Their parents were supposed to look out for them, but in some cases, the parents didn't have any of that, either. That's what living in poverty means."

E.J. Dionne skillfully exposes the "disconnect" between those who are wealthy and faring well and those who live from paycheck-to-paycheck, if they're lucky enough to have a job. He says, "Those faring well simply can't understand polls showing a majority of Americans unhappy with the current economy and President Bush's handling of it. This [US Census Bureau] report should reassure them of the sanity and intelligence of the American people. This recovery has not produced the sort of job or income growth that the economy of the 1990s created. Far from being fools, the Americans answering those polls are reflecting their actual circumstances."

I believe the tragedy surrounding Katrina has morally required and empowered all of us to change America. It has driven John Edwards’ “Two Americas” message front and center – and straight into our hearts and minds. America hears the call. What will we do?

In today's Toldeo Blade: Katrina's victims face a second Christmas without hope

Ask yourself what Bush and his Congress have done since that time and I'll show you their recipe for failure and abdication of duty to the American people. John Edwards' message stands today as the longstanding and defining message of reality, truth, and hope.

Documentaries to be Featured at One America Committee website

Newsweek is reporting that there will be a series of documentaries featured at the One America Committee website:
...maybe something is really changing inside the son of a millworker. This week he will launch a series of short documentaries on his Web site,, offering behind-the-scenes glimpses of life on the campaign trail. The Webisodes, previewed exclusively by NEWSWEEK, show Edwards struggling with how to show more authenticity on the campaign trail. "I'd rather be successful or unsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some plastic Ken doll," he says in one episode. "But ... we're so conditioned to say what's safe ... and it's hard to shed all that."

The documentaries—which show the former senator on trips to Iowa and Africa, and places in between—are a start

2008 President Edwards and First Lady Elizabeth?

Will John Edwards be the one who will make America proud again?