Elizabeth Warren announced her candidacy for President of the United States in February in Lawrence, Massachusetts. This paragraph characterizes the central theme of her candidacy and serves to explain in common language what has happened to America.
It started very quietly. The richest and most powerful people in America – they were rich – I mean really rich – but they wanted to be even richer and they didn’t care who got hurt. So every year, bit by bit, they lobbied Washington and paid off politicians to tilt the system just a little more in their direction. And year by year, bit by bit, more of the wealth and opportunity went to the people at the very top. And that is how today in the richest country in the history of the world, tens of millions of people are struggling to get by.
Warren chose to open her speech with a nod to unions and workers and the story of the Lawrence, Massachusetts textile strike of 1912, also known as the Bread and Roses strike, a strike of immigrant workers led by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
“These women didn’t even have a common language… nevertheless, they persisted…These workers did more than improve their own lives. They changed America. Like the women of Lawrence, we are here to say enough is enough.”
This is a wonderful speech, packed with inspiration, information and loaded with sensible policy ideas. As I have watched her on the campaign trail she sticks to the themes presented here and it serves as the blueprint of her campaign.
This speech is wonky but not boring or preachy. Filled with inspirational, funny anecdotes that have served to define her, she displays her sense of humor and seemingly boundless energy as well as her ability and willingness to fight.
I stand before you today courtesy of three bags of M and Ms and a cooperative toddler. And since that day I’ve never let anyone tell me that anything is too hard. How they have tried…
The textile workers here in Lawrence more than 100 years ago won this fight because they refused to be divided. Today we gather on those same streets ready to be united again. This is our moment in history, the moment we are called to. The moment to dream big, fight hard and win.
Music: Aretha Franklin – RESPECT.