The 1984 Democratic convention's keynote speech was by none other than New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. In it, he refuted a frequent assertion from President Ronald Reagan that America was a "shining city on a hill."
With it being a keynote for the Democratic Party's convention, it's clearly partisan. But what strikes me about it is that the societal problems that existed then have not disappeared. In fact, they've been made worse. Sometimes, much worse...
Here are some of the best quotes and those that the audience really responded to. Much of these are Cuomo talking about what Reagan might see if he looked at the real United States:
"Maybe if you went to Lackawanna (NY) where thousands of unemployed Steelworkers wonder why we subsidize foreign steel…"
This is still going on today — and still at the cost of tons of domestic jobs.
"Maybe, Mr. President, if you asked a woman who had been denied the help she needed to feed her children because you said you needed the money for a tax break for a millionaire or for a missile we couldn't afford to use..."
Hmmm … I see another parallel to today. You?
"President Reagan told us … make the rich richer, and what falls from the table will be enough for the middle class and those who are trying desperately to work their way into the middle class."
Again, trickle-down economics? Exactly what some modern-day politicians espouse, though it's been proven time and again to not work. At all.
"The problems of a retired schoolteacher in Duluth are OUR problems. That the future of the child in Buffalo is OUR future. That the struggle of a disabled man in Boston to survive and live decently is OUR struggle. That The hunger of a woman in Little Rock is OUR hunger. That the failure anywhere to provide what reasonably we might to avoid pain is OUR failure."
"This nation is more a 'Tale Of Two Cities' than a 'Shining City On The Hill.'"
Word, Mario Cuomo.
Rest in peace.