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Al Sharpton on Principles & Values

Reverend; Civil Rights Activist; Democratic Candidate for President


Living up to the promise of America is not a partisan issue

The promise of America says we will guarantee quality education for all children and not spend more money on metal detectors than computers in our schools. The promise of America guarantees health care for all of its citizens and doesn’t force seniors to go to Canada to buy prescription drugs they can’t afford here at home. The promise of America provides that those who work in our health care system can afford to be hospitalized in the very beds they clean up every day. The promise of America is that government does not seek to regulate your behavior in the bedroom, but to guarantee your right to provide food in the kitchen. The promise of America that we stand for human rights, whether it’s fighting against slavery in the Sudan; AIDS in Lesotho; or police misconduct in this country. The promise of America is one immigration policy for all who seek to enter our shores.
Source: Primetime speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 28, 2004

Family values are not just car garages and a retirement plan

Family values are not just those with two-car garages and a retirement plan. Retirement plans are good. But family values also are those who had to make nothing stretch into something happening, who had to make ends meet. I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put a cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride the subways in Brooklyn so I would have food on the table. But she taught me as I walked her to the subway that life is about not where you start, but where you’re going. That’s family values. And I wanted somebody in my community - I wanted to show that example. As I ran for president, I hoped that one child would come out of the ghetto like I did, could look at me walk across the stage with governors and senators and know they didn’t have to be a drug dealer, they didn’t have to be a hoodlum, they didn’t have to be a gangster, they could stand up from a broken home, on welfare, and they could run for president of the United States.
Source: Primetime speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 28, 2004

Top Ten: Raise issues that would otherwise be overlooked

Rev. Al Sharpton’s Top Ten
Source: Campaign website, sharpton2004.org Mar 19, 2004

Hosts Saturday Night Live: “I hope America laughed together”

Al Sharpton busted some James Brown moves on his Saturday Night Live debut, but many viewers didn’t get the chance to see them. Several NBC affiliates refused to carry SNL with Sharpton as host for fear it would activate federal “equal time provisions” and compel them to offer air time to the eight other Democrats running for president. All four NBC affiliates in Iowa didn’t air the show. NBC’s Boston station, seen in much of New Hampshire, also didn’t show it.

SNL frequently has political content, but this is the first time in memory stations bailed out for this reason. Given that the job of an SNL host requires a week’s worth of rehearsal time, it’s unlikely any of the other Democrats would accept if offered.

Sharpton portrayed lawyer Johnnie Cochran, Michael Jackson’s father, and one of the three wise men searching for Jesus [he was pulled over by a traffic cop]. “I hope tonight America laughed together,” Sharpton said at the night’s conclusion. “Maybe we can learn how to live together.”

Source: The Associated Press on ABCnews.com Dec 7, 2003

His activism is all about equal opportunity under the law

Q: With your history of social activism, how would you translate your personal views into a single viewpoint that would unite this country?

A: I think that my history of activism makes it easier for me to do so than anyone. I am fighting for equal opportunity and protection under the law. That has been the sum total of my activism and I think that is what unites everyone. A candidate and president that has proven -- even with self sacrifice -- that he is committed to that can unite everyone.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 5, 2003

Practice religion personally and practice governing publicly

Q: As a minister, how will you reconcile the Constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state with your spiritual duties should you be elected, and how will you avoid the appearance of promoting any one religion over others?

A: The same way those who are practicing Christians, Jews and Muslims who hold office do now. I will practice my religion personally and practice the law of governing publicly.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 5, 2003

Most important in VP is shared vision and policy agreement

Q: What criteria would you use to select the Vice President who will run with you?

A: First it would have to be someone who shares my vision and agrees with my policies generally, both foreign and domestic. A Vice President must be prepared to take over if the President cannot continue in office for whatever reason. If that is the case, under my presidency I want to make sure that he or she can move government in a direction I believe in and can continue my work.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 5, 2003

Galvanize the Dem base by registering urban blacks

Q: Do you believe enough is being done to increase turnout among urban voters?

A: I do not. We have not had a concerted effort on the ground to mobilize and register urban voters. I have been launching voter registration crusades to remedy that. For example in South Carolina the Republicans won the governor’s race by 40,000 votes, and there are 208,000 unregistered blacks according to the census. We ought to be registering and galvanizing our natural base. That is where our victory lies.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 5, 2003

Better to be a new Democrat than an old GOP-like Democrat

As the only New Yorker, I want to welcome General Clark to New York and I want to welcome him to our list of candidates. And don’t be defensive about just joining the party. Welcome to the party. It’s better to be a new Democrat that’s a real Democrat, than a lot of old Democrats up here that have been acting like Republicans all along.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Favorite song: “Talking Loud, Saying Nothing” about GOP

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

We need a new director and a new direction

I’m running for president because we not only need a new director, we need a new direction. And this party must go back to representing the interests of people, working people. I think it is important that we have a return to the principles that made us a party.
Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

We’re in a civil war over rejection of votes, from FL to CA

I’m running because a lot is at stake. We are witnessing a nonmilitary civil war. It started with the recount in Florida, it went to the redistricting in Texas, now it’s the recount in California. From the recounting of the votes to the redistricting to the recall, it’s a rejection of the American people. We need to fight back. I’m a man of action. And unlike Schwarzenegger, I never had a stunt man do my hard work.
Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

On black vote: turn people on, then turn people out

Do you truly believe the Democratic Party is ready to earn the black vote?

SHARPTON: I think that they must. I think that if we do not, we cannot win in 2004. If Michael Dukakis had gotten the same black vote that Walter Mondale got in ‘84, he would have been president. What people don’t understand is, before you can turn people out, you have to turn people on. And the only way you’re going to turn people on is you must address their interests and address their issues. We have to deal in these primaries and in the convention with those of us that feel that segments of the party has turned on labor and turned on minorities and turned on women. We’ve got to deal with the fact that when this Congressional Black Caucus went to the Senate about the vote in Florida, we couldn’t get a Democratic Senator to allow them to be heard. We need to correct the party so then we can beat Bush as one expanded party.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

I want to privatize only one thing: privatize George Bush

If this president can argue that we can spend billions of dollars to take care of Iraq because we must occupy it, what about the 50 states we already occupy? I’m running for president against a man who believes in privatizing Social Security, privatizing Medicaid, privatizing education. Al Sharpton only wants to privatize one thing. I want to privatize George Bush and make him a private citizen in 2004.
Source: AFSCME union debate in Iowa May 17, 2003

His newly registered voters help other Dems

Q: Democrats worry that every vote for you in the primaries and caucuses is going to cost the Democratic nominee votes in November.

SHARPTON: That that’s the same charge that they gave Jesse Jackson 20 years ago, and Jesse Jackson proved that he registered so many voters that we were able to regain the Senate in ‘86. I think that any time a person of color particularly comes out of a movement fighting for justice that we are forcibly charged with that.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

We don’t just need a new director; we need a new direction

Next year we will elect a new president. I will hope that we elect a new president from the Democratic Party because it is mandatory that we save this nation from where it is and where it is headed under George Bush.

We don’t just need a new director; we need a new direction. We need to deal with an America that is open and that is promising for all of its citizens. I’m running for president to give basic guaranteed rights of every American, not just new programs, but the constitutional right to vote, the constitutional right to health care, the constitutional right to quality education. But the only way we can win this election is if we bring in the majority of Americans that are not even voting at all. I know those Americans. I’ve worked with them all my life; the disaffected, the seniors, the young people, the hip-hop generation.

We can’t beat George Bush with a traditional clubhouse strategy. We need a movement, and I’m the candidate that can put that movement together.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

Will tackle real issues like economy

I think that America is more ready than people think for the kind of leadership that would deal with the economy, the unemployment, the big business deregulation, people that are going to talk to real issues.
Source: Interview on FOX Mar 6, 2003

Represents progressive wing of Democratic Party

There is something to continuing the tradition of those that come with a progressive agenda that will challenge those that have moved the party to the right. So in line with Reverend Jackson’s tradition, I see myself there.
Source: Interview on WNCV-TV in NYC Feb 2, 2003

Focused on listening to marginalized people

One of the things that we’ve been doing more than any of the candidates is really talking to people. I think that part of what’s wrong with politics is that we are too poll driven rather than pulse driven, really talking, really trying to deal with the people that I think are the majority of the country that have been marginalized.
Source: NBC Meet the Press Jan 12, 2003

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Al Sharpton on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010