What Dr. King and Roy Wilkins understood is that it matters little if you have the right to sit at the front of the bus if you can’t afford the bus fare; it matters little if you have the right to sit at the lunch counter if you can’t afford the lunch. What they understood is that so long as Americans are denied the decent wages, and good benefits, and fair treatment they deserve, the dream for which so many gave so much will remain out of reach; that to live up to our founding promise of equality for all, we have to make sure that opportunity is open to all Americans.
That is what I’ve been fighting to do throughout my over 20 years in public service. That’s why I’ve fought in the Senate to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that create good jobs here in America. That’s why I brought Democrats and Republicans together in Illinois to put $100 million in tax cuts into the pockets of hardworking families, to expand health care to 150,000 children and parents, and to end the outrage of black women making just 62 cents for every dollar that many of their male coworkers make.
And here’s what else we’ll do - we’ll make sure that every child in this country gets a world-class education from the day they’re born until the day they graduate from college. Now, I understand that Senator McCain is going to be coming here in a couple of days and talking about education, and I’m glad to hear it. But the fact is, what he’s offering amounts to little more than the same tired rhetoric about vouchers. Well, I believe we need to move beyond the same debate we’ve been having for the past 30 years when we haven’t gotten anything done. We need to fix and improve our public schools, not throw our hands up and walk away from them. We need to uphold the ideal of public education, but we also need reform.
That’s why I’ve introduced a comprehensive strategy to recruit an army of new qualified teachers to our communities - and to pay them more and give them more support. And we’ll invest in early childhood education programs so that our kids don’t begin the race of life behind the starting line and offer a $4,000 tax credit to make college affordable for anyone who wants to go. Because as the NAACP knows better than anyone, the fight for social justice and economic justice begins in the classroom.
Let's hope he remains committed, let's hope he achieves the Presidency and then is enabled to work on the issues he's claimed like health care and education, and taking money out of wars and into rebuilding the civilian structure so essential to life, and hope that his foreign policies will not be so militaristic and heavy-handed. Surely McCain has assured us he will provide typical Republican military-first, civilians-second leadership, and continue adventurism until we go bankrupt.