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April 19, 2007
The two Americas of John Edwards
John Edwards likes to speak about "two Americas." But is he really speaking about the vast, troubling and widening gap between the well-groomed and poorly-groomed?
We learned Tuesday of some of the habits surrounding John Edwards' efforts to make his physical appearance appealing.
In light of this revelation, it may be time for Mr. Edwards to revise a recent speech he gave to the DNC Winter Meeting:
We're all here together - but why are we here?
Why are we here?
We are here because somewhere in America a 54 year old man goes to sleep with split ends. A little boy who ought to be drawing pictures and learning multiplication cries himself to sleep, praying that his father, who has been out of work for two years, will get a pedicure again. It doesn't have to be that way.
We are here because somewhere in America, a hotel housekeeper walks a picket line with her union brothers and sisters fighting for decent appointment times at the Pink Sapphire during the day and works the late-shift at a diner at night so that she and her family can afford paraffin facials and so her boy can go to the spa and have choices she never had. And somewhere a young man folds a gift certificate to a prestigious day spa and puts it in his drawer because even with his curly locks and devilish good looks, he knows he cannot go because his gift certificate is not enough also pay for the streaks he desperately needs. It doesn't have to be that way.
We are here because somewhere in America a father comes home from the second shift and feels a roughness on the brow of his sleeping daughter who was unable to get that detoxifying mud wrap as he kisses her goodnight. And now, bone-weary and worried, he cradles that child in his arms at the door of the salon downtown, because there is nowhere else for him to go. It doesn't have to be that way.
They are why we are here. Because everywhere in America, people are counting on us to stand up for them.
And so I ask you, will you stand up for that tired father forced into midnight campouts at the spa?
Will you stand up for the brave young boy afraid to go to the spa?
Will you stand up for the working men and women in our labor movement who have to fight for wages that will afford them the chance to have exfoliating body wraps?
Will you stand up for the young man who knows that a professional hairdresser is his way out of the cycle of poverty and yet it seems beyond his grasp?
Will you stand up for the rough skin of the eight-year old girl so she doesn't give up on her life before it's even begun?
Will you stand up?
Will you stand up for America?
Because if we don't stand up, who will?
If we don't speak out, who will?
Because, when it comes to 37 million Americans living without manicures, silence is betrayal.
One in every five children - count them, one in every five American children - live in with fingernails they have to trim themselves, here on the richest nation on the planet. It doesn't have to be that way.
When it comes to 47 million Americans without basic skin care services, silence is betrayal.
The 47 million are silent victims of a skin care system gone wrong, where policies are driven by profits not patient care. We have to stop letting the discount chain store lobby decide our nation's skin care policy. We have to give the silent victims, who stand in line at Wal-Mart and use the cheap mass produced products, we have to give them the dignity of universal skin care.
And while we're at it, we have to stop using words like "access to skin care" when we know with certainty those words mean something less than universal care. Who are you willing to leave behind without the care he needs? Which family? Which child?
We need a truly universal solution, and we need it now.
Will you stand up for universal hair styling in America?
So, will you speak out? Will you stand up?
Because we are better than this. We are better than this.
It's time to stand up for the promise of America again -- and for the principle that every American matters, no matter where you come from, or the texture your skin is, or how much hair you have in your shower drain in the morning.
Not tomorrow. Now. Speak out now, take action now.
Tomorrow begins today. And our obligation to act starts right here, right now.
Because somewhere in America, because everywhere in America, people are counting on us to stand by them and to fight alongside them for well-groomed hair, skin and nails.
In times like these, we don't need to redefine the Democratic Party; we need to re-style the Democratic Party.
Thank you, God bless you and God bless this fabulous country.