Two Americas

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In his December 29, 2003, speech at Creative Visions in Des Moines, Iowa, Senator John Edwards described what he saw as Two Americas. [1]

Four years ago, George Bush came here to Iowa as a candidate and promised to be a uniter, not a divider. But four years later, we are divided, not united.
Today, under George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not one: One America that does the work, another America that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks. One America that will do anything to leave its children a better life, another America that never has to do a thing because its children are already set for life. One America -- middle-class America - whose needs Washington has long forgotten, another America - narrow-interest America - whose every wish is Washington's command. One America that is struggling to get by, another America that can buy anything it wants, even a Congress and a President.
2004 is a make-or-break election because we need to create one America again. And that is the one thing George Bush will never do. Dividing us into two Americas - one privileged, the other burdened - has been his agenda all along....
What's more, by dividing us into two Americas, George Bush is hurting our economy, cheating our future, and undermining our very way of life....
If the current trend continues, one out of seven middle-class families with children will go bankrupt by the end of the decade. Think about what it means that 1 in 7 middle-class families could go bankrupt by the end of this decade. It means the middle-class-the foundation of our country-is sinking. Increasingly we are divided between those who live by the 1st and the 15th every month and those who don't ever look at the calendar when they write a check....
Next month, George Bush will roll out yet another set of new tax breaks for the wealth of the wealthy, to be paid for down the road by the children of the middle class. The President has a new name for this: he calls it the ownership society. After four years, we know what George Bush means by an ownership society: an America where those who own the most get the most, while those who work hardest own less and owe more.
We cannot go on as two nations, one favored, the other forgotten. It is wrong to reward those who don't have to work at the expense of those who do. If we want America to be a growing, thriving democracy, with the greatest work ethic and the strongest middle class on earth, we must choose a different path....

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External links


  • 20 January 2004: "Edwards Offers The State Of The Two Americas And Outlines Plan To Make America Work For All Of Us,"
  • 10 February 2004: "Trippi's Two Americas" by Steve Gillmor,
  • 20 February 2004: "Are There "Two Americas?" by Paul J. Cella, TechCentralStation.
  • 5 March 2004: "Steal This Speech" by E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: "What Edwards leaves behind is an argument -- an analysis of what ails our country and an approach to putting things right that will survive his campaign. ... Edwards talked everywhere about 'two Americas,' one for the privileged, one for the rest of us."