And then there were two.
With John Edwards dropping out of the Democratic presidential race, we are losing a fierce and committed voice for change and for justice. I, for one, feel that loss like an ache.
One of the signature issues of his campaign — one that is near and dear to my own heart — was Edwards’ commitment to giving voice to those who have none in our money-driven political process. The Democratic party has long been the champion of the downtrodden and folks in need. Although we have sadly forgotten that obligation to the least of these our bretheren the last few years, the message still resonates here in Appalachia and all over this nation where people are in need of hope, and a little dignity.
John Edwards candidacy has been a daily reminder to pick up the charge of the better angels of our nature, and to speak up against those injustices that too often get shoved to the side for more monied and powerful interests.
Who can forget the introduction of James Lowe (YouTube), who had no voice at all for the first 50 years of his life, living in rural Virginia with no access to adequate health care? Something that millions of Americans deal with every day in one of the richest nations in the world. John Edwards gave voice to their plight, and made certain that everyone who heard him understood that there but for the grace of God go us all.
Or his fight to give voice (YouTube) to those in the Gulf Coast who have been shoved aside or forgotten by those in power far too often?
Or his challenge to all of us (YouTube) to bring about the change that we wish to see in our communities…in our America. John Edwards is stepping out of the presidential race today, but that challenge remains for all of us. Because the heart of the Democratic party is in all of us. Each and every one.
The best honor that you can give to a fighter like John Edwards is to keep on fighting — for equality, for justice, for fairness, and for the little guy in all of us. Someone has to stand up for the folks who feel left behind, who need a hand back up and onto their feet, who need some encouragement to take that next step forward into a brighter future.
Your work, your help could make all the difference for someone in your community today. John Edwards’ legacy in this campaign will last so long as there are Democrats who keep fighting for a better tomorrow for all of us. I have a feeling that John and Elizabeth will keep on working to lessen the sting of poverty, to create opportunities for education for those who now have very little access, to give voice to those who cannot find one in the halls of power today.
What will be your legacy in working on these issues in your own community?
We are the heart of the Democratic party. We are the change we wish to see. But only if we continue to do the work to make that change possible. Each and every day. I wanted to take some time to thank John and Elizabeth Edwards for being such an inspiration. But it occurs to me that the best thanks that any of us can give them is to keep on doing the necessary work, for a better tomorrow, a better nation, for all of us…