Sherrod Brown’s 2018 Victory Speech

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Sherrod Brown’s 2018 Victory Speech

U.S Senator Sherrod Brown
Election Night Victory Speech
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
*As Prepared for Delivery*

Thank you, Ohio!

When you love this country, you fight for the people who make it work.

And today, the hardworking women and men of Ohio voted to continue our fight together.

You showed the country that progressives can win – and win decisively – in the heartland.

Tonight, Ohio, you showed the country that by putting people first and by honoring the dignity of work, we can carry a state Donald Trump won by nearly 10 points.

And you showed that we do it without compromising on women’s rights or civil rights or LGBTQ rights. We do it without caving to Wall Street or the drug companies or the gun lobby.

As progressives, we know a number of things. We know how to get things done, to bend the arc of history towards justice.

As progressives, we know you build the economy from the middle out, by putting people first, by rewarding their work, not by cutting taxes for the rich.

And we celebrate the dignity of all work: let me quote from one of the great moral leaders and wordsmiths of our time, Martin Luther King – who as we know was martyred while advocating for sanitation workers in Memphis.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”

When we fight for workers, we fight for all people, whether they punch a clock or swipe a badge, earn a salary or make tips. Whether they are raising children or caring for an aging parent.

And as we celebrate the dignity of work, we unify. We do not divide.

Populists are not racists. Populists are not anti-Semitic.

We do not appeal to some by pushing down others. We do not lie. We do not engage in hate speech. And we do not rip babies from their families at the border.

This is our America: we will never give up the hallowed ground of patriotism to the extremists. I repeat. We will never ever give up the hallowed ground of patriotism to the extremists — at the Statehouse and in the White House.

We love this country. We fight for the people who make it work. And we will – thanks to all of you – continue that fight for another six years.

I want to talk about our family on stage with me this evening.

Connie Schultz showed courage, grace and toughness in the face of one of the most vitriolic campaigns in Ohio history. Every day, I watch her and our family and I see her fulfilling the Margaret Mead truism that, “wisdom and knowledge and kindness are passed from grandparent to grandchild.” For that, and so much more, I love you.

Our daughters – public servants all – Emily, Elizabeth, Caitlin – you inspire me as daughters, mothers, wives and activists.

My brothers, Bob and Charlie, and sister-in-law Catherine – who always step up, in so many ways, when their little brother needs help.

Our sons-in-law and our six grandchildren, all born during my second term in the Senate, and one grandson and his parents, who couldn’t be here tonight.

Justin Barasky and an amazing campaign staff for staying on course and working so hard, in the face of withering attacks, and teaching each other – and showing the country – how to win overwhelmingly in a state that most pundits considered just too difficult for a progressive Democrat.

And they couldn’t have done it without the help of thousands of dedicated, steadfast volunteers. So many of you stepped up over the last two years because you love your country. Thank you, true patriots.

The law enforcement officers who have kept us safe tonight – and so many nights, thank you for your public service.

And the servers here at the Hyatt; as progressives we always celebrate hourly wage earners.

One other group: members of the media – newspapers, television, radio, social media. You keep our country free and strong and safe.

When I was a kid at Mansfield’s St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, my mother taught Bob and Charlie and me about the role of the church in our community. It’s the same role journalists play in a free society: comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. To us, you have never been, you never will be, enemies of the people.

I drive a Jeep made by union workers in Toledo. On my suit – my sometimes rumpled suit — made by union workers less than ten miles from our home in Cleveland, is a pin depicting a canary in a birdcage.

It was given to me two decades ago by a Lorain steelworker at a Workers Memorial Day rally. I wear the canary instead of the official Senate pin because it represents all of us in Ohio.

It represents the role of government to support the middle class, and those who aspire to the middle class. It represents the progress we have made – and the society we continue to fight for every day.

In the early days of the 20th century – you know the story – coal miners took a canary down into the mines with them to warn them of poisonous gases. Those workers didn’t have a union strong enough or a government that cared enough to protect them.

Through the 20th century, we changed that. We passed worker safety laws and overtime pay. We banned child labor. We passed clean air and safe drinking water laws. We enacted Social Security and Medicare, and workers’ rights and women’s rights and civil rights.

But progress didn’t happen on its own. It happened because your parents and your grandparents stood up and demanded their government work for them. It was citizens and workers. In union halls and church basements, it was civil rights activists and child advocates who took on powerful special interests and changed this country for the better.

When we see a White House that looks like a retreat for Wall Street executives, we know that our fight is far from over. We have so much left to do to raise wages, lower healthcare costs and make sure everyone who works hard can retire with the dignity that they have earned.

Let me dig a bit deeper to explain how I see the world and the sisterhood and brotherhood of humanity. At gatherings like this, we Democrats seldom talk about our faith.

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us, “When I was hungry you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me. What you did for the least of these – Wait.

I’ve always had a hard time believing that Jesus would have talked about, “the least of these,” – or that Mohammed or Moses would have said that someone is worth less than someone else – or that Buddha or Gandhi would have judged some people to be more valuable than others.

Our minister, Dr. Kate Matthews, gave me a different translation, the Poverty and Justice Bible. Here’s what Jesus said, “When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me. What you did for those who seemed less important, you did for me.”

Let our country – our nation’s citizens, our Democratic Party, my fellow elected officials all over the country – let them all cast their eyes toward the heartland, to the industrial Midwest, to our Great Lakes state.

Let them hear what we say.

Let them see what we do.

And we will show America how we celebrate Organized Labor and all workers – the waitress in Dayton, the office worker in Toledo, the nurse in Columbus, the mineworker in Coshocton.

That is the message coming out of Ohio in 2018, and that is the blueprint for our nation in 2020.