President Bill Clinton connected Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I have a dream” speech to the struggles still facing the nation during a speech on Wednesday commemorating the 50th anniversary of the historic address.
“I would respectfully suggest that Martin Luther King did not live and die to hear his heirs whine about political gridlock,” Clinton argued. “It is time to stop complaining and put our shoulders against the stubborn gates holding the american people back,” he said, laying out five ways Americans can improve the country:
Ensure equal access to education. “We cannot be disheartened by the forces of resistance to building modern economy of good jobs and rising incomes or to rebuilding our education system to give all our children a common core of knowledge necessary to ensure success. Or to give Americans of all ages access to affordable college and training programs. And we thank the president for his efforts in those regards.”
Implement Obamacare. “We cannot relax in our efforts to implement health care reform in a way that ends discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, one of which is inadequate income to pay for rising health care. A health care reform that will lower cost and lengthen lives.”
Invest in science. “Nor can we stop investing in science and technology to train our young people of all races for the jobs of tomorrow and to act on what we learn about our bodies, our businesses, and our climate.”
Protect the vote. “We cannot be discouraged by a Supreme Court decision that said we don’t need this critical provision of the Voting Rights Act because look at the states. It made it harder for African-Americans and Hispanics and students and the elderly and the infirm and poor working folks to vote. What do you know? They showed up, stood in line for hours, and voted anyway, so obviously we don’t need any kind of law.”
Expand gun safety. “But a great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon.”
“America is always becoming, always on a journey, and we all, every single citizen among us, have to run our lap. god bless them and god bless America,” he concluded.