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"We’re not afraid to say it." Elizabeth Warren rips bigots, misogynists, McConnell, and Trump

In the midst of increasingly tumultuous and uncertain times under the Trump administration, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren offered a sharp and resounding reminder that the Democratic Party can and will fight back in every way and for everyone at risk. Speaking during the opening plenary at the annual progressive political convention Netroots Nation, Warren gave […]

By Alison R. Parker - August 13, 2017
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at the 2017 Netroots Nation convention
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at the 2017 Netroots Nation convention

Speaking during the opening plenary at the annual progressive political convention Netroots Nation, Warren gave a characteristically full-throated rallying cry in support of Democratic ideals and values, putting them in stark contrast to the harmful and self-serving aims of Donald Trump and his Republican Party.

With the convention occurring this year in Atlanta, Warren opened with a shout-out to Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who “has taught us the importance of necessary trouble.”

And looking out at the audience, gathered in pursuit of progressive goals of social justice, Warren bestowed upon them the compliment of being “Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.”

She referenced a recent op-ed in the New York Times which called for Democrats to move “back to the center” and stop caring about “identity politics [and] waging class warfare” — and which specifically called her out as “the face of the problem.”

“But let’s be really clear here,” she continued. “The real power, the real threat — it’s not me. It’s you. All of you.”

And thus, she noted, op-eds like that won’t work to drag Democrats back to the old days “of welfare reform and the crime bill … of being lukewarm on choice,” or to the time when universal health care was only talked about and not actively fought for in office.

Instead, Democrats are looking forward, and are pushing harder and harder to champion and defend the kind of progressive values that have long been a staple of crowds like those at Netroots, because they are no longer merely a wing of the party, but are now “the heart and soul” of it.

She spoke movingly about the challenges faced by those standing up against the Trump administration, and conservatives in the GOP, and what motivates those in the fight.

On issues from economic justice to criminal justice reform, environmental protections to reproductive freedom, from voting rights to immigration reform to Black Lives Matter, “we need to see each other’s fights as our own,” Warren declared.

“Our government is supposed to be the one place where everybody gets the same fair shot no matter how powerful or powerless they might be,” she noted, but thanks to things like Citizens United and a GOP that continues to move further to the right year after year, that is simply not true anymore.

And that is where Democrats must step in and speak up, and must show the people “that things can change, and that we will fight to change them.”

She railed against the GOP’s priorities: cutting health care for millions of Americans; cutting taxes for corporations and billionaires; rolling back financial protections; tearing down environmental regulations; attacking Planned Parenthood; shunning immigrants; and trying to stamp out access to the ballot for minorities.

“And this week?” she continued, “Play a reckless game of chicken with a dangerous foreign power and threaten nuclear war.”

But she cautioned that pointing out the failures of the GOP is not enough; Democrats must also make their own agenda clear, and do it with “backbone.” They must speak loudly about being on the right side of all of these issues — the economy, workers’ rights, health care, aid for families, Social Security, criminal justice reform, women’s rights, LGBTQ equality, and so on.

And in particular, Warren was vehement and biting about standing up for immigrants against a White House that seeks to ostracize and demonize them.

It’s time to say that Democrats are on the side of American values, so we’re going to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, yeah. We’re going to say to every DREAMer in this country, ‘You are an American. This country is your home and we have your back.’ That’s what we’re gonna say. We’re going to fight to wipe the stain of Donald Trump’s Muslim ban off the books once and for all. And by the way, Mr. President, we’re never, ever going to build your stupid wall.

Warren also made sure to note which side Democrats are not on, like CEOs of big banks who break the law or corporations who try to wield their influences in the halls of Congress.

And she got even more pointed from there.

And let’s be really clear on this one, just in case anybody doubted it: We are not on the side of the bigots and misogynists, and unlike the so-called Republican leadership in Washington, we’re not afraid to say it to their faces. [cheers and applause]

And we are not on the side of foreign governments that hack our elections, or politicians whose fragile egos put our national security at risk.

And let’s be clear here: Folks, we don’t have to tiptoe anymore. We don’t have to hedge our bets. We don’t have to ask permission from the pundits or the corporate CEOs, and we sure don’t have to ask permission from Mitch McConnell. [cheers] Actually, that’s probably a pretty good thing, because he would probably tell me to sit down and shut up.

Nevertheless, I would persist. [standing ovation]

Indeed, she will. And from the response in the room, so will everyone else working to foster progressive values and protect the rights and ideals at the heart of our nation.

“When we are bold enough to stand up for our values … that is when we are powerful,” Warren declared.

“This fight is the fight Americans are counting on us to win,” she said.

And it is a fight everyone can join.


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