Last night, Joni Woolf, who lived in Macon for more than forty years, received a Speaker Thomas Murphy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Democratic Party of Georgia. This was the first year the award named for Mr. Speaker was given, and one Georgia Democrat from each congressional district was chosen for this honor. Joni Woolf was selected because of her groundbreaking work both in politics and in the community. Let me just say that one day, I aspire to have a resume' like hers. She has been involved in founding and supporting organization after organization that lift people up-most often women and minorities.
The award was, of course public, but another drama played out behind the scenes on Tuesday. The Democratic Party of Georgia is not the only organization that recognized her talents. On Tuesday, the Edwards Campaign selected Joni Woolf to introduce the Senator at the JJ Dinner. Of course, that was when Edwards was still coming to JJ and still in the race for President. She wrote a powerful introduction that captures, better than I can, why so many of us spent the last year doing all we could to to help John and Elizabeth Edwards. Of course, this speech was never given, and I'm sad about that, but it says so much about her, and so much about him, I asked that she allow me to publish it here:
Sphere: Related Content
The first time I ever heard John Edwards speak—several years ago in Macon—he talked about growing up poor, and the hardships that his family endured as they struggled to put bread on the table, pay the rent, clothe the children. And I thought, “He’s one of us. He has been poor, and he knows how that feels to a child.” Like John, I grew up poor in rural South Georgia, where there was never quite enough of anything. But we were rich in promise: our parents assured us that life would be better for us, and they worked night and day to be sure that happened.
And it did. Their struggles, their sacrifices, their long days of sweat—and sometimes tears—guaranteed my generation a better life. And so we assumed, as our lives got slowly better, that OUR children would enjoy the prosperity that the United States was experiencing. It has not happened. Ever since the Reagan years, when greed became something to be proud of, the middle class has been in decline. My children—and YOURS—are struggling much as my parents’ generation did, just to keep food on the table. They are desperate for something, SOMEONE, to inspire hope in the future—not just their own—but the future of our beloved country which is becoming a country of the very rich, with a rapidly declining middle class—a country without a moral compass, without a president who has the integrity to face the harsh realities of our time, and to tell the truth.
Last fall, I took my granddaughter to see John Edwards when he spoke at Georgia Southwestern University in Americus. She came away believing that here was a candidate who cared about her and her dreams for the future, a candidate who had been where she and many of her friends are, a candidate who offers a better way…a way that promises attention will be paid to the millions of Americans who are hanging on by fragile threads, Americans who have been betrayed by a system that increasingly rewards the greedy. She will vote for the first time this November. And she will vote for the candidate who must be our party’s nominee--John Edwards--because she has studied his platform, and knows he is the candidate who has stayed focused on the issues, and whose vision for a better America will be fulfilled in our time.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am deeply honored to present the next President of our beloved country—JOHN EDWARDS!