Failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams prepared the Democrats' response to President Trump's State of the Union address. Going into it, none of us really knew what to expect but honestly, the bar wasn't set too high. Abrams never conceded to Brian Kemp and she's continually pushed the idea that "voter suppression" (not the people's voice) is what kept her from winning her bid for governor of Georgia.
Although the Democrats might not have known exactly what President Trump was going to address on Tuesday night, whoever wrote her speech cast a really, really wide net. She mentioned issues Trump didn't even touch on, like gun control and climate change. Not only that, but the response was focused on Abrams personal story. And while she tried to use her own anecdotal experiences to deliver a message, it came off as selfish and rather narcissistic.
Here are some highlights from her speech (emphasis mine):
Our power and strength as Americans lives in our hard work and our belief in more. My family understood firsthand that while success is not guaranteed, we live in a nation where opportunity is possible. But we do not succeed alone -- in these United States, when times are tough, we can persevere because our friends and neighbors will come for us. Our first responders will come for us.
It is this mantra - this uncommon grace of community - that has driven me to become an attorney, a small business owner, a writer, and most recently, the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia. My reason for running for governor was simple: I love our country and its promise of opportunity for all, and I stand here tonight because I hold fast to my father's credo -- together, we are coming for America, for a better America.
Is this her way of hinting that Americans should always help others? Specifically, is she referring to Democrats' desire to help illegal aliens?
What's so wrong with Americans standing up and deciding that we must help our own people before we help other nations. We're so busy fighting everyone's battles for them that we fail to address our own crises here at home, in America. President Trump has made it his personal mission to make sure we put America first. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Just a few weeks ago, I joined volunteers to distribute meals to furloughed federal workers. They waited in line for a box of food and a sliver of hope since they hadn't received a paycheck in weeks. Making their livelihoods a pawn for political games is a disgrace. The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people - but our values.
President Trump warned Democrats. He told them he wanted a border wall. It shouldn't come as a surprise. He campaigned on building a wall years ago. He specifically told Democrats last year, when he signed the budget, that next year he wanted border wall funding or a shutdown would happen. They called his bluff and guess who came out looking like the fool? The Dems.
This wasn't a "stunt" that abandoned people. This was a promise he was fulfilling to the American people. Democrats are the ones who refused to compromise with him. He was willing to extend protections for DREAMers and what was Speaker Pelosi's response? "We won't give one dollar for the border wall."
If you want to point the finger at anyone, look at madam speaker.
For seven years, I led the Democratic Party in the Georgia House of Representatives. I didn't always agree with the Republican Speaker or Governor, but I understood that our constituents didn't care about our political parties -- they cared about their lives. So, when we had to negotiate criminal justice reform or transportation or foster care improvements, the leaders of our state didn't shut down -- we came together. And we kept our word.
Great. You had an accomplishment. What does this have to do with Trump's vision? Oh, right. Nothing.
Our most urgent work is to realize Americans' dreams of today and tomorrow. To carve a path to independence and prosperity that can last a lifetime. Children deserve an excellent education from cradle to career. We owe them safe schools and the highest standards, regardless of zip code.
Yet this White House responds timidly while first graders practice active shooter drills and the price of higher education grows ever steeper. From now on, our leaders must be willing to tackle gun safety measures and the crippling effect of educational loans; to support educators and invest what is necessary to unleash the power of America's greatest minds.
As a nation, we've agreed to educate our kids from kindergarten through 12th grade. Anything beyond that is up to the individual. Part of having the "equality of opportunity" aspect has to end somewhere. If we made sure every single person was walked through life, from education to career, we'd have people complaining that they were discriminated against if they became a plumber while their friend became a lawyer. People would still not be happy. At some point, we have to take responsibility for our future and make our own decisions. When the government has their hand in every single aspect of our lives, we're one step closer to living in a tyrannical society, the one thing our founding fathers worried about.
In Georgia and around the country, people are striving for a middle class where a salary truly equals economic security. But instead, families' hopes are being crushed by Republican leadership that ignores real life or just doesn't understand it. Under the current administration, far too many hard-working Americans are falling behind, living paycheck to paycheck, most without labor unions to protect them from even worse harm.
The Republican tax bill rigged the system against working people. Rather than bringing back jobs, plants are closing, layoffs are looming and wages struggle to keep pace with the actual cost of living.
She must be referring to GM's massive layoffs. She must not know that the company decided to restructure so they could free up capital for the future. Trump and various members of Congress tried to save those jobs to no avail.
We know bi-partisanship could craft a 21st century immigration plan, but this administration chooses to cage children and tear families apart. Compassionate treatment at the border is not the same as open borders. President Reagan understood this. President Obama understood this. Americans understand this. And Democrats stand ready to effectively secure our ports and borders. But we must all embrace that from agriculture to healthcare to entrepreneurship, America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants - not walls.
1) No one is "caging children." As retired Border Patrol agent Hector Regalado told me, families are separated from the general population. If Border Patrol suspects the adult is pretending to be the child's parents, they seek greater intel. And guess what? This isn't new. It's something that happened under President Obama's leadership as well.
2) If Democrats were willing to secure the border, why did Nancy say not even one dollar would go toward building a wall? "Securing our ports and borders" means putting up a wall. Not giving money to a wall is not securing the border. Plain and simple
3) Trump didn't say immigrants aren't welcome. He said legal immigrants are welcome and we need to keep people from dangerously crossing the desert to come to America.
Rather than suing to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, as Republican Attorneys General have, our leaders must protect the progress we've made and commit to expanding health care and lowering costs for everyone.
We were also told we could keep our doctors and that our payments would go down. Remember those talking points? They're not the case for the majority of Americans.
We can do so much more: Take action on climate change. Defend individual liberties with fair-minded judges. But none of these ambitions are possible without the bedrock guarantee of our right to vote. Let's be clear: voter suppression is real. From making it harder to register and stay on the rolls to moving and closing polling places to rejecting lawful ballots, we can no longer ignore these threats to democracy.
While I acknowledged the results of the 2018 election here in Georgia -- I did not and we cannot accept efforts to undermine our right to vote. That's why I started a nonpartisan organization called Fair Fight to advocate for voting rights.
"Fair-minded judges" mean people who are progressive and share their ideals. Everyone else is tipping the scale.
And when did Abrams accept the results? That's news in itself.
This is the next battle for our democracy, one where all eligible citizens can have their say about the vision we want for our country. We must reject the cynicism that says allowing every eligible vote to be cast and counted is a "power grab." Americans understand that these are the values our brave men and women in uniform and our veterans risk their lives to defend. The foundation of our moral leadership around the globe is free and fair elections, where voters pick their leaders -- not where politicians pick their voters.
Translation: It's okay for illegal aliens to vote in our elections as long as Democrat wins. If a Dem doesn't win then there's "voter suppression."
Guess that means Disney characters should be allowed to vote too, right?
America achieved a measure of reproductive justice in Roe v. Wade, but we must never forget it is immoral to allow politicians to harm women and families to advance a political agenda. We affirmed marriage equality, and yet, the LGBTQ community remains under attack.
Are you freaking kidding me? Democrats are still defending infanticide. Still. Harming women and families is bad but murdering babies is okay? Talk about sick, twisted logic.
So even as I am very disappointed by the President's approach to our problems -- I still don't want him to fail. But we need him to tell the truth, and to respect his duties and the extraordinary diversity that defines America.
The Democrats say they don't want President Trump to fail but if he succeeds that means their policies are crap. That means they'd have to reevaluate their stance on positions they've clung to. And you know they don't want that.