- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2000

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

The people I'm honored to represent in Missouri and all over the country want leaders to address their kitchen table everyday problems.
This election presents them with a clear choice, a clear choice with consequences.
We can pass laws that help people or we can continue to frustrate the hopes and dreams of working families.
I believe with all my heart that Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will make the right choices for all Americans.
Jane and I have been friends with Al and Tipper Gore for almost twenty?five years.
Al Gore is a good man. He is a decent, caring man. He listens to his heart and his head. He loves his family. He loves this country. He could be the best President this country will ever have.
He knows that making the right decisions requires more than a President.
It requires a majority in Congress that will also make the right decisions for America's families-a Congress that will put families first.
The present leadership in Congress has been totally unwilling to consider??much less decide-issues that are very important to millions of people.
They have been unwilling to do a Patients' Bill of Rights, a Medicare prescription benefit, reducing class size, campaign reform, and gun safety.
Every day in every way the Republican leadership has been one-sided—intolerant of other views??unbending to compromise and consensus.
When I was majority leader, we met with the Republican leadership almost daily-to communicate, to find consensus, to overcome our disagreements so we could actually do something.
In the last 6 years??with them in the majority??we've met maybe once a year to discuss important issues.
They don't communicate. They dictate.
Democracy deserves better.
When we were in the majority, we made some errors.
But we have learned from the past-learned that while we have strong beliefs we aren't always right-we do not have the answer to every problem.
I promise you that if we win a majority we will be humble about our beliefs and listen to the beliefs of others.
We will work with the Republicans to try to find consensus and bring all Americans along-together. Hear me: We will replace 'my way or the highway' with 'our way together.'
We will lead the country to be more tolerant, more open, more inclusive.
The House Democratic caucus-the most diverse caucus in the House-not only looks like America-it can lead America toward the power of human respect and tolerance.
Some say it can't be done-that our political well is too poisoned, the partisan rift—too great.
Don't believe them.
A few months ago I traveled to South Africa, a nation struggling to overcome years of oppression.
I had the honor to meet Nelson Mandela, and I heard him explain his forgiveness of his captors of 27 years by saying hatred and bitterness is destructive??the power is in love and forgiveness.
The next day I met Peter and Linda Biehl.
Peter told me that his daughter Amy had graduated from Stanford and went to South Africa as a Fulbright Scholar to help with healing and reconciliation.
One day Amy was driving down a street in a township in Capetown.
Some young people had just come from a political rally. They were on the street.
They saw Amy in her car. They stopped her, pulled her out, beat her, and, with a knife through her heart, they killed her.
Peter and Linda wanted to see where their daughter had been killed, and they went to Capetown and saw the conditions Amy was trying to change.
They decided that the best way to make meaning of their daughter's death was to establish the Amy Biehl Foundation to provide people with a better way-a non-violent way-with the prospect of hope, a job, nutrition, better health.
Later—Peter and Linda—who are here tonight with their daughters Kim and Molly—were asked if they wanted to meet the young people who had killed Amy.
They got to know them, forgave them, and helped them after they were released from jail.
As I was listening to Peter and Linda all I could think of was my children.
I asked Peter: how could you do this? How could you have the emotional power to do this?
He said, hatred is destructive—the power of healing in love and forgiveness is the positive force in our world.
Later we were in a distribution center for Amy's Bread-'the bread of hope and peace.'
We were talking to a young South African who's running the company. He's bursting with enthusiasm, mindful of the ideals that inspired it, and telling us about the Foundation. The bread they're selling. The money they're putting towards violence prevention.
As he's talking I look over and see Peter. Tears are streaming down his face. He is crying.
And Peter looks at me and says simply: 'Amy's in the room.'
America is a great country.
We are so wealthy.
But our one remaining challenge is to fulfill the potential of all our people.
And the only way we can do that is to try to bring everybody together to a higher place.
Humbly: give us this opportunity, and it will be done.

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