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Cory Booker: “America, We Will Rise!”

Journal Staff Report | 7/26/2016, 1:36 p.m.
Here is the text of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker's address to the Democratic National Convention here Monday, as prepared for ...
Senator Cory Booker speaks at the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Monday night.

Here is the text of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker's address to the Democratic National Convention here Monday, as prepared for delivery.

Two hundred 40 years ago, our forefathers gathered in this city and declared before the world that we would be a free and independent nation. Today, we gather here again, in challenging times, in this City of Brotherly Love, to reaffirm our values, before our nation and the world.

Our purpose is not to start a great nation, but to ensure that we continue in the best of our traditions, and with humble homage to generations of patriots before, we put forth two great Americans – our nominees for president and vice president: Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine!

Our founding documents were genius. But not because they were perfect. They were saddled with the imperfections and even the bigotry of the past. Native Americans were referred to as savages, black Americans were referred to as fractions of human beings, and women were not mentioned at all.

But those facts and other ugly parts of our history don't detract from our nation's greatness. In fact, I believe we are an even greater nation, not because we started perfect, but because every generation has successfully labored to make us a more perfect union. Generations of heroic Americans have made America more inclusive, more expansive, and more just.

Our nation was not founded because we all looked alike, or prayed alike, or descended from the same family tree. But our founders, in their genius, in this, the oldest constitutional democracy, put forth on this earth the idea that all are created equal; that we all have inalienable rights.

And upon this faithful foundation we built a great nation, and today, no matter who you are – rich or poor, Asian or white, man or woman, gay or straight, any religion or none at all – you are entitled to the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship,

In this city, our founders put forth a Declaration of Independence, but also made a historic declaration of interdependence. They knew that if this country was to survive, we had to make an unusual and extraordinary commitment to one another.

I respect and value the ideals of rugged individualism and self-reliance. But rugged individualism didn't defeat the British, it didn't get us to the moon, build our nation's highways, or map the human genome. We did that together.

This is the high call of patriotism. Patriotism is love of country. But you can't love your country without loving your countrymen and countrywomen. We don't always have to agree, but we must empower each other, we must find the common ground, we must build bridges across our differences to pursue the common good.

We can't devolve into a nation where our highest aspiration is that we just tolerate each other. We are not called to be a nation of tolerance. We are called to be a nation of love. Tolerance says I am just going to stomach your right to be different. That if you disappear from the face of the earth, I am no better or worse off.