Aug. 17-20: Recap of a great convention
Third Albany rally held in support of Postal Service
(Updated Aug. 26)
Rallies in support of the U.S. Postal Service continued Tuesday in Albany and around the county.
Fifteen people, one dog and a bicycle were on hand for the Day of Action at all four corners of the intersection of Second Avenue and Washington Street near the Albany Post Office. That included the northwest corner of the intersection where rally attendees had to share the sidewalk with Recall Kate Brown petition gatherers. There were no incidents between the two groups, although one rally attendee quickly wrote, "Don't Recall Kate" on the back of one of his signs.
The rally was part of a nationwide Day of Action, organized by the US Mail Not for Sale. a worker-led campaign sponsored by the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers.
About 50 sign-carrying people also gathered Saturday at the same intersection to show their support for the USPS.
Passing motorists honked their horns and one bicyclist rang his bell in appreciation. The rally attendees clapped every time a postal carrier stopped to make a turn at the intersection.
“While Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has announced the suspension of his policies to undermine the postal service, he refuses to commit to repairing the damage that has been done,” says Bernadette Niederer, a Linn County Democrat and member of Albany Regional Indivisible who organized Saturday’s rally.
Rallies were held at Post Offices around the country Saturday.
DeJoy testified at a Senate hearing on Friday and a House hearing on Monday (see videos below).
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act, on Saturday. It is not expected to pass or be taken up in the Senate.
The Aug; 22 rally by the Albany Post Office marked the second straight Saturday that people came out to support the Postal Service. A smaller rally was held Aug. 15 on Ellsworth Street in downtown Albany.
Another way to show support for the Postal Service is to email one or all of the the members of the USPS Board of Governors with your concerns. They are:
Transcript of Michelle Obama's convention speech
(Aug. 17, CNN)
Read former first lady Michelle Obama's speech from the 2020 Democratic National Convention, as prepared for delivery:
Good evening, everyone. It's a hard time, and everyone's feeling it in different ways. And I know a lot of folks are reluctant to tune into a political convention right now or to politics in general. Believe me, I get that. But I am here tonight because I love this country with all my heart, and it pains me to see so many people hurting.
I've met so many of you. I've heard your stories. And through you, I have seen this country's promise. And thanks to so many who came before me, thanks to their toil and sweat and blood, I've been able to live that promise myself.That's the story of America. All those folks who sacrificed and overcame so much in their own times because they wanted something more, something better for their kids.
There's a lot of beauty in that story. There's a lot of pain in it, too, a lot of struggle and injustice and work left to do. And who we choose as our president in this election will determine whether or not we honor that struggle and chip away at that injustice and keep alive the very possibility of finishing that work.
I am one of a handful of people living today who have seen firsthand the immense weight and awesome power of the presidency. And let me once again tell you this: the job is hard. It requires clear-headed judgment, a mastery of complex and competing issues, a devotion to facts and history, a moral compass, and an ability to listen—and an abiding belief that each of the 330,000,000 lives in this country has meaning and worth.
A president's words have the power to move markets. They can start wars or broker peace. They can summon our better angels or awaken our worst instincts. You simply cannot fake your way through this job.
As I've said before, being president doesn't change who you are; it reveals who you are. Well, a presidential election can reveal who we are, too. And four years ago, too many people chose to believe that their votes didn't matter. Maybe they were fed up. Maybe they thought the outcome wouldn't be close. Maybe the barriers felt too steep. Whatever the reason, in the end, those choices sent someone to the Oval Office who lost the national popular vote by nearly 3,000,000 votes.
In one of the states that determined the outcome, the winning margin averaged out to just two votes per precinct—two votes. And we've all been living with the consequences.
When my husband left office with Joe Biden at his side, we had a record-breaking stretch of job creation. We'd secured the right to health care for 20,000,000 people. We were respected around the world, rallying our allies to confront climate change. And our leaders had worked hand-in-hand with scientists to help prevent an Ebola outbreak from becoming a global pandemic.
Four years later, the state of this nation is very different. More than 150,000 people have died, and our economy is in shambles because of a virus that this president downplayed for too long. It has left millions of people jobless. Too many have lost their health care; too many are struggling to take care of basic necessities like food and rent; too many communities have been left in the lurch to grapple with whether and how to open our schools safely. Internationally, we've turned our back, not just on agreements forged by my husband, but on alliances championed by presidents like Reagan and Eisenhower.
And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matters is still met with derision from the nation's highest office.
Because whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy.
Empathy: that's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. The ability to walk in someone else's shoes; the recognition that someone else's experience has value, too. Most of us practice this without a second thought. If we see someone suffering or struggling, we don't stand in judgment. We reach out because, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." It is not a hard concept to grasp. It's what we teach our children.
And like so many of you, Barack and I have tried our best to instill in our girls a strong moral foundation to carry forward the values that our parents and grandparents poured into us. But right now, kids in this country are seeing what happens when we stop requiring empathy of one another. They're looking around wondering if we've been lying to them this whole time about who we are and what we truly value.
They see people shouting in grocery stores, unwilling to wear a mask to keep us all safe. They see people calling the police on folks minding their own business just because of the color of their skin. They see an entitlement that says only certain people belong here, that greed is good, and winning is everything because as long as you come out on top, it doesn't matter what happens to everyone else. And they see what happens when that lack of empathy is ginned up into outright disdain.
They see our leaders labeling fellow citizens enemies of the state while emboldening torch-bearing white supremacists. They watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages, and pepper spray and rubber bullets are used on peaceful protestors for a photo-op.
Sadly, this is the America that is on display for the next generation. A nation that's underperforming not simply on matters of policy but on matters of character. And that's not just disappointing; it's downright infuriating, because I know the goodness and the grace that is out there in households and neighborhoods all across this nation.
And I know that regardless of our race, age, religion, or politics, when we close out the noise and the fear and truly open our hearts, we know that what's going on in this country is just not right. This is not who we want to be.
So what do we do now? What's our strategy? Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, "When others are going so low, does going high still really work?" My answer: going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that's drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight.
But let's be clear: going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we've got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences.
And going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold hard truth.
So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.
Now, I understand that my message won't be heard by some people. We live in a nation that is deeply divided, and I am a Black woman speaking at the Democratic Convention. But enough of you know me by now. You know that I tell you exactly what I'm feeling. You know I hate politics. But you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children.
So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don't make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.
I know Joe. He is a profoundly decent man, guided by faith. He was a terrific vice president. He knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic, and lead our country. And he listens. He will tell the truth and trust science. He will make smart plans and manage a good team. And he will govern as someone who's lived a life that the rest of us can recognize.
When he was a kid, Joe's father lost his job. When he was a young senator, Joe lost his wife and his baby daughter. And when he was vice president, he lost his beloved son. So Joe knows the anguish of sitting at a table with an empty chair, which is why he gives his time so freely to grieving parents. Joe knows what it's like to struggle, which is why he gives his personal phone number to kids overcoming a stutter of their own.
His life is a testament to getting back up, and he is going to channel that same grit and passion to pick us all up, to help us heal and guide us forward.
Now, Joe is not perfect. And he'd be the first to tell you that. But there is no perfect candidate, no perfect president. And his ability to learn and grow—we find in that the kind of humility and maturity that so many of us yearn for right now. Because Joe Biden has served this nation his entire life without ever losing sight of who he is; but more than that, he has never lost sight of who we are, all of us.
Joe Biden wants all of our kids to go to a good school, see a doctor when they're sick, live on a healthy planet. And he's got plans to make all of that happen. Joe Biden wants all of our kids, no matter what they look like, to be able to walk out the door without worrying about being harassed or arrested or killed. He wants all of our kids to be able to go to a movie or a math class without being afraid of getting shot. He wants all our kids to grow up with leaders who won't just serve themselves and their wealthy peers but will provide a safety net for people facing hard times.
And if we want a chance to pursue any of these goals, any of these most basic requirements for a functioning society, we have to vote for Joe Biden in numbers that cannot be ignored. Because right now, folks who know they cannot win fair and square at the ballot box are doing everything they can to stop us from voting. They're closing down polling places in minority neighborhoods. They're purging voter rolls. They're sending people out to intimidate voters, and they're lying about the security of our ballots. These tactics are not new.
But this is not the time to withhold our votes in protest or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning. We have got to vote like we did in 2008 and 2012. We've got to show up with the same level of passion and hope for Joe Biden. We've got to vote early, in person if we can. We've got to request our mail-in ballots right now, tonight, and send them back immediately and follow-up to make sure they're received. And then, make sure our friends and families do the same.
We have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown bag dinner and maybe breakfast too, because we've got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to.
Look, we have already sacrificed so much this year. So many of you are already going that extra mile. Even when you're exhausted, you're mustering up unimaginable courage to put on those scrubs and give our loved ones a fighting chance. Even when you're anxious, you're delivering those packages, stocking those shelves, and doing all that essential work so that all of us can keep moving forward.
Even when it all feels so overwhelming, working parents are somehow piecing it all together without child care. Teachers are getting creative so that our kids can still learn and grow. Our young people are desperately fighting to pursue their dreams.
And when the horrors of systemic racism shook our country and our consciences, millions of Americans of every age, every background rose up to march for each other, crying out for justice and progress.
This is who we still are: compassionate, resilient, decent people whose fortunes are bound up with one another. And it is well past time for our leaders to once again reflect our truth.
So, it is up to us to add our voices and our votes to the course of history, echoing heroes like John Lewis who said, "When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something." That is the truest form of empathy: not just feeling, but doing; not just for ourselves or our kids, but for everyone, for all our kids.
Biden picks Harris as his running mate
Joe Biden's statement on Facebook (Aug. 11, 2020)
You make a lot of important decisions as president. But the first one is who you select to be your Vice President. I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021.
These aren’t normal times. For the first time in our history, we’re facing three historic crises -- all at the same time. We’re facing the worst pandemic in 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The most powerful calls for racial justice in a generation. And we have a president who has both failed to lead on the virus -- costing lives and decimating our economy -- and fanned the flames of hate and division.
I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead. Kamala is that person.
I need someone who understands the pain that so many people in our nation are suffering. Whether they’ve lost their job, their business, a loved one to this virus. This president says he “doesn’t want to be distracted by it”. He doesn’t understand that taking care of the people of this nation -- all the people -- isn’t a distraction -- it’s the job. Kamala understands that.
I need someone who understands that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. And that if we’re going to get through these crises -- we need to come together and unite for a better America. Kamala gets that.
If I’m President, I’m committed to making things better -- not just in the short term, but sustainably, structurally, and permanently. We won’t have time to delay. I need a partner who can help deliver on those promises, and quickly.
I was privileged to serve this nation for two terms as Vice President alongside President Obama, a man of extraordinary character who I believe will go down in history as one of our great presidents. So, I know a thing or two about being Vice President. More than anything, I know it can’t be a political decision. It has to be a governing decision. If the people of this nation entrust me and Kamala with the office of President and Vice President for the next four years, we’re going to inherit a nation in crisis, a nation divided, and a world in disarray. We won’t have a minute to waste.
That’s what led me to Kamala Harris.
As a United States Senator from California, Kamala represents the biggest state in the union. She’s been one of the toughest and most effective Senators on two of the most important committees in the Senate -- Intelligence and Judiciary. Two committees that have directly dealt with some of the most important issues facing this nation at home and around the world.
She sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where she deals with the nation’s most sensitive threats.
We’ve all watched her hold the Trump administration accountable for its corruption, stand up to a Justice Department that’s run amok, and be a powerful voice against their extreme nominations.
She’s been a leader on criminal justice and marriage equality. And she has focused like a laser on the racial disparities as a result of the coronavirus.
As California’s Attorney General, she led one of the biggest legal departments in the nation -- where she was a powerful advocate for people in taking on the big banks and protecting women and kids from abuse. She’s delivered billions in settlement money to consumers, taking on companies for fraud, pollution and abuse.
I first met Kamala through my son Beau. They were both Attorneys General at the same time. He had enormous respect for her and her work. I thought a lot about that as I made this decision. There is no one’s opinion I valued more than Beau’s and I’m proud to have Kamala standing with me on this campaign.
Her record of accomplishment -- fighting tooth and nail for what’s right -- is why I’m choosing her. There is no door Kamala won’t knock on, no stone she’ll leave unturned, if it means making life better -- for the people.
So join me today in welcoming Kamala Harris to our team.
She will wake up every day -- like I will -- thinking about how to make life better for people. How to rebuild our country back better. How to make it more just. How to win the next fight in the battle for the soul of this nation.
Because that’s what the Presidency -- and the Vice Presidency -- is. It’s a duty to care: for you, for all of us. This will be the fight of our administration, and there’s no better partner that I could have asked for.
Video: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris deliver remarks in Wilmington
Remembering the legacy of civil rights champion John Lewis
John Lewis at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Photo by Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
July 17-30, 2020
John Robert Lewis, civil rights legend and longtime Congressman from Georgia, died July 17 after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80. "Today, America mourns the loss of one of the greatest heroes of American history: Congressman John Lewis, the Conscience of the Congress," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement announcing his death. Click here to read more.
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