Shall We Watch Elizabeth Warren's Barnburning National Action Network Speech? Duh Of Course We Shall!
Elizabeth Warren gave a heck of a speech today at Al Sharpton's National Action Network conference (we hear Kamala Harris did, too!), outlining the case for her universal childcare proposal and also making the case for ending the filibuster in the Senate if Republicans get in the way of a Democratic president and Congress.
Elizabeth Warren's Powerful Speech On Childcare At The National Action Network www.youtube.com
Warren started with a familiar version of her life story, noting that she grew up in Oklahoma, "on the ragged edges of the middle class," and dreamed of becoming a teacher. She mentions that she would sometimes line up her dolls and teach them. "I was tough but fair." Her dream became a reality after finding a commuter college, but after a few years of teaching and starting a family, she decided to go to law school, and with a toddler not quite out of diapers, the issue of childcare suddenly became very real to her. The one place she and her husband could afford, with a week to go before classes started, required kids to be "reliably potty trained," or no thank you. After a pause, she told the audience, "I stand before you today courtesy of three bags of M&Ms; and a cooperative toddler."
Yr Wonkette is ALWAYS here for a good constipated babby story!
Warren repeated her story about her first job, at University of Houston, when she found herself at the end of her rope and considering just giving up and quitting (this time embellished with a tale of being covered in "baby snot and pee" -- she knows we're paying attention, doesn't she?) until her Aunt Bee came from Oklahoma and stayed for 16 years.
Warren moved from the personal to the political citing two "basic truths": Nobody makes it on their own, and "without childcare, millions and millions of families simply don't make it at all." And since not every family has an Aunt Bee, hey, how about we actually make that a reality? We've covered the basics of her plan here; in her speech today, tailored a bit for the audience of mostly African-American women, Warren noted that in more than half of states, a year of childcare is more expensive than a year at a public university, and that the childcare gap for black women is especially pernicious since it's the result of systemic racism, particularly since jobs held by mostly minority women -- housekeeping and food service, for instance -- have historically lacked the protections and benefits reserved for jobs held by whites and men.
That history has also led to crappy pay and benefits for childcare workers, who Warren reminded the crowd "are educators, not babysitters," and have also frequently been women of color. For that reason, her plan would pay childcare workers like teachers.
Warren rightly frames her childcare program in terms of a national investment in equality of opportunity, not just a nice thing for working ladies, saying "getting smarter should not be reserved only for the children of the rich." She also emphasized the opportunity cost of not providing universal childcare: People can't make use of their education and smarts if they can't afford their kid's care, so providing childcare means more people, and America as a whole, can thrive. She even framed the low pay of childcare workers as a matter of lost opportunity for all of us: How many excellent childcare providers have given up because the "pay is less than McDonalds"?
Then Warren shifted to political power, noting that the current crowd in Washington have blocked progress because hanging on to power is a lot easier if voting rights are squelched. Her invocation of the stolen election of Stacey Abrams sure made Twitchy mad, because of course Abrams lost, didn't she, so clearly there was no voter suppression, and Warren is just a crazy "Georgia truther."
Warren also laid out her case for ending the filibuster in the Senate, noting that the Senate finally passed, a little late, a federal law against lynching -- just 100 years since a similar measure was introduced. Warren noted that a federal anti-lynching law actually passed the House in 1922, but was killed in the Senate by a filibuster that year -- and more than 200 times after that. Warren noted that determined extremists can easily keep us from having nice things: "An entire century of obstruction because a small group of racists stopped this entire nation from doing what is right."
Then Warren turned to the current crop of Republicans and their bad behavior:
We all saw what they did to President Obama. I've watched the Republicans abuse the rules when they're out of power, and then turn around and blow off the rules when they're in power.
Applause, for goddamn sure. Noting Mitch McConnell's decision this week to change Senate rules once more to speed through the confirmations of Trump appointees, Warren promised, "We are done with two sets of rules -- one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats," and vowed to push to end the filibuster altogether if Republicans use it to block a Democratic president and Congress. Also, nice use of anaphora!
We can't sit around for a hundred years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and everyone else falls further and further behind. We can't sit around for a hundred years while climate change destroys this planet. We can't sit around for a hundred years while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington. And we can't sit around for a hundred years while too much of a child's fate in life still rests on the color of their skin.
Rhetoric! It's good for ya!
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