Clinton/Gore '96


United Center
Chicago, Illinois
August 27, 1996

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Cheers, applause continue.) Thank you very much.

Hi, Tennessee! (Laughs.) Hi, there -- my family. (Cheers, applause continue.) Thank you. Please, thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Hello, everybody! (Shouts of greeting from the audience.) It's great to see you -- (chuckling) -- great to see you. Mr. Chairman and delegates, and fellow Democrats and fellow Americans, tonight I would like to talk with you about a civil society, the kind of society that I want my four children to live in, the kind of society that you and I are working to build. A civil society is built by the smallest, simplest gestures, things that we do every day without thinking twice about them.

Seventy-six years ago, Mrs. Byrne, from the -- east Tennessee, did such a thing. Women's suffrage had come down to one vote, and her son, Harry, a 24-year-old Tennessee state representative, was expected to vote no. But then Mrs. Byrne wrote a letter. It said, "Be a good boy, Harry, and do the right thing." (Cheers, applause.) Yes. He switched. He switched from no to yes, and that's how the 19th Amendment was ratified to give women the right to vote. Right. (Cheers, applause.)

So to Mrs. Byrne, and all Americans who teach their children to do the right thing, thank you. You are the cornerstones of a civil society, the pillars of strong communities, the models of personal responsibility and the bridge-builders to a brighter future.

You will find no better champions than President Clinton and my husband, Al Gore -- (cheers, applause) -- because they, they are working every day to give you better tools to raise your children and create a more civil society. As you know, I began a difficult fight, long before it became fashionable, to give parents the tools to protect their children from violence and obscenity and the degradation of women. We won voluntary labeling of records and CDs. And today, parents have a more powerful tool to ensure that their values will not be undermined. Then, the battle was music.

But now, thanks to President Clinton and to Vice President Gore, parents will have even more powerful tools -- the V-chip, that gives the TV controls back to families -- (applause) -- voluntary ratings and three hours of children's educational programming a week on the networks. That's -- (applause) -- that's one way in which President Clinton and Vice President Gore are shifting the balance of power back to America's families.

And here's another way that this administration considers the impact of the policy decisions on the American family. For too long, diseases of the brain have had second-class status. But President Clinton has fought alongside compassionate members of Congress for equal insurance coverage for mental health. And to change -- (applause) -- and he's worked to change the lives and the outlook of families living with mental illness.

I'm proud to be a Democrat, because our party fights, not just for families but also for children. Parents and children need strong communities, strong congregations, strong schools and strong neighborhoods. And I'm proud to be a Democrat, because our party has always sought to create a civil society, not only in the policies that we promote, but in the politics that we practice. (Applause.)

I really believe, as I know that you believe, that it is our responsibility to America's voters to eliminate viciousness from our political discourse, to choose language that unites rather than divides, to disagree with decency and dignity and to keep our sense of humor.

Civil discourse advances the Democratic party's vision of a society that embodies Mrs. Burns simple advice to do the right thing. So let us pledge tonight that we will continue building a future that is more caring, more humane, more civil, more tolerant and more virtuous for America's parents, for America's families and for the American community. (Applause.)

And now, now it is my honor and privilege to introduce a woman who has devoted her life to building a more civil society for all of America's families. A woman who has had the courage to blaze new trails, who has the gift of a great mind and the blessing of a compassionate heart. A woman who is a strong and unwavering voice for those who haven't yet found their voices, our children. And a woman who always maintains her grace, dignity and humor even while being subjected to the most unimaginable incivility. (Applause, cheers.)

She's a woman I am proud to call a dear and loyal friend, a woman parents and children are proud to call their champion and a woman America is proud to call our first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton! (Applause, cheers.)

Paid for by Clinton/Gore ’96 General Committee, Inc.