REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, NANCY PELOSI: Our founders envisioned a new America driven by optimism, opportunity, and strength. So confident were they in the America they were advancing, they put on the seal, the great seal of the United States, ‘novus ordo seclorum’ — a new order for the centuries. Centuries, they spoke of the centuries. They envisioned America as a just and good place, as a fair and efficient society, as a source of opportunity for all. This vision has sustained us for over 200 years, and it accounts for what is best in our great nation: liberty, opportunity, and justice. Now it is our responsibility to carry forth that vision of a new America into the 21st Century. A new America with a vibrant and strengthened middle class for whom college is affordable, health care is accessible, and retirement reliable. A new America that declares our energy independence, promotes domestic sources of renewable energy, and combats climate change. A new America that is strong, secure, and a respected leader among the community of nations. (Read the whole speech).
- This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all. So we want to open the gates to opportunity. But we’re also going to give all our people the help that they need to walk through those gates. — Lyndon Johnson
- Every child — not just children whose parents can afford it — should have the same chance to succeed and to fulfill his or her God-given potential. — Hillary Clinton
- A healthy environment is essential to a livable Oregon where our people are prosperous and our economy is strong. — Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski, Oregon
- What I believe is that the family you’re born into and the color of your skin in our America should never control your destiny. — John Edwards
- We have a moral obligation to provide affordable and high quality health care. Healthy children become healthy adults who then support the growth of communities and the economy. — Senator Carl Levin, Michigan
- Everybody has a stake in the country, we’re all in it together, and everybody’s got a shot at opportunity. — Barack Obama
- There is no more important goal to our nation’s future than ensuring that every child has the opportunity, through education, to reach his or her potential as an individual and a citizen. — Senator Chris Dodd, Connecticut
- We sometimes emphasize the danger in a crisis without focusing on the opportunities that are there. We should feel a great sense of urgency because it is the most dangerous crisis we have ever faced, by far. But it also provides us with opportunities to do a lot of things we ought to be doing for other reasons anyway. And to solve this crisis we can develop a shared sense of moral purpose. — Al Gore
- Making sure our children have access to quality health care will enable them to develop into healthy and productive citizens. — Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA
- People don’t expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. — Barack Obama
- With more routine health care, we know that kids have better health outcomes and perform better in schools. — Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont