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Rising from the Ashes:
Towards Democratic Victories in 2002 and 2004

December 12, 2001
Great Hall at Cooper Union
Welcoming Speech
Bob Fertik

It's wonderful to see so many of you here tonight to speak out for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

My name is Bob Fertik, and I am co-founder of Democrats.com along with David Lytel, who sends his greetings from Syracuse. On Monday, David presented an outstanding forum with authors of books on Election 2000 in Washington DC - thank you and congratulations, David.

We are gathered today at the historic Great Hall at Cooper Union, where five individuals gave speeches that put them on the road to the Presidency - most importantly Abraham Lincoln, whose "Right Makes Might" speech discredited slavery and gave Lincoln the stature to win election and ultimately end it.

In this Great Hall, we are less than 10,000 feet from Ground Zero, where over 3,000 people were killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11. Please join me in a moment of silence for the victims and their loved ones.

Three months after September 11, we are still mourning the dead and bandaging the gaping wounds of our beloved city.

We are united in our resolve to help those whose families were shattered by the fuel-filled 767's that flew into the World Trade Center in order to kill some of us, and to fill the rest of us with fear.

We are also united in our resolve to defy the terrorists by rebuilding downtown New York as a proud monument to the people of the greatest city in the world.

And we are united in our resolve to help those who lost their jobs in the recession that was deepened by the crushing collapse of the Twin Towers .

But in Washington DC, the Bush Administration and the Republican Party have very different priorities.

Instead of helping New York rise from the ashes, they would rather let us dig our way out of the rubble, by ourselves.

Instead of assisting the many struggling families who need jobs, food and shelter, they would rather aid the fortunate few who own powerful corporations, oil fields, and mansions.

Instead of showing the world America's pride in our unmatched system of open justice, they would rather conduct secret trials with secret evidence collected with secret methods by secret agents.

My fellow New Yorkers, the Bush Administration and the Republican Party have their priorities wrong.

We are gathered here today as the Democratic majority of a proud city, a proud state, and a proud nation.

We have a positive vision for the future of New York and America - a vision of a people united, strong, prosperous, and free.

Tonight, we will talk about the different visions of the Democratic and Republican Parties.

We do so on this historic date, the first anniversary of Bush v. Gore - the infamous Supreme Court decision that substituted the will of 5 Republican Justices for that of over 100 million Americans who voted for President last November 7.

Which candidate received the most votes, both nationally and in Florida? Thanks to last month's media recount, we finally know the answer - and it is Al Gore. No matter how you count the votes, as long as every vote was counted, Al Gore won.

But Al Gore is not the President, leading us in our historic battle against terrorism. Why not? Because the partisan Republican majority on the Supreme Court wanted a Republican President. Their outrageous and infamous decision represents nothing less than the "Betrayal of America," as prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi has so powerfully written.

Tonight, we will discuss the past, but also the present, and most importantly, the future.

No doubt, we will be accused of attacking the Bush administration, undermining our national unity - and even aiding terrorists.

Our own Attorney General - who emphatically swore to uphold the Constitution - last week assaulted our precious First Amendment right to free speech by declaring:

"To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists - for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve."

Mr. Ashcroft, you are wrong! We are more united and resolute than ever!

It is those like you in the Bush administration who fear criticism and dissent - and issue executive orders to suppress the very freedoms we are fighting for - who give terrorists the victory they could never win, not even if they attacked the tallest buildings in every city in America.

Yesterday, George W. Bush said "Our enemies have made the mistake that America's enemies always make. They saw liberty and thought they saw weakness. And now, they see defeat." George W. Bush and his Attorney General need to heed Bush's OWN words, for our liberty - as guaranteed by our Constitution and our Bill of Rights - is indeed the source of our strength.

George W. Bush also said "the struggle of humanity against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting." And that is why we are here tonight. We must never forget the Stolen Election of 2000 - for the specter of tyranny looms at America's door.

Thank you for joining us tonight in our struggle to restore Democracy in America.