Thinking about the future.  

I’m the past.  So his Waxman, Pelosi, Wrangle and Reid.  We are all 65.  We grew up in the 50s, came to political consciousness in the Civil Rights era of the pre-Vietnam 60s, suffered through Vietnam, either over there or virtually, lived through Nixon, came to power in some way under Carter, lost in under Reagan, regained it in our maturity under Clinton, and saw all our dreams and ideals crushed by Bush.  I look at my life, and outside my personal achievements I see a wasteland that we let happen because we thought it would never happen.

I come from an FDR family.  I am old enough to remember watching my parents sob at his death, and I saw Harry Truman come to my town, and I saw Jack Kennedy do a stump speech from a train in Springfield Ohio.  And I was calling a taxi to catch a plane for Austin to spend the weekend at Lyndon Johnson’s ranch with the President when Jack Kennedy was assassinated.

Waxman and Reid and Pelosi are as old as I am.  We won’t be around much longer.  What we know will disappear.  We have seven or eight years to give to all of you what we learned from what we suffered.  

Tonight is an important night for my generation.  It is our last chance to make a difference.  Don’t expect us to carry this burden forever.  :You have to pick it up and carry on.  It’s something I learned from people who had lived through the labor movment of the 1930s.  It’s a calling.

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