Earlier today several people have sent us e-mails telling us both to “eat crow.” “Eat crow” for what? The election has turned out as a smashing success for the American political system and, frankly quite profitable for all of us. I spoke to President Bush, and offered him and Laura our congratulations on their victory. I tried to get Mike on the phone to say “Sorry” to the president, but he wouldn’t do it. Time is a great healer; perhaps tomorrow. We had a good conversation, and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need, the desperate need, for unity for finding the common ground, coming together. Today, I hope that we can begin the healing.
In America, it is vital that every vote counts, and even more vital that good folks like yourselves stand up and make yourselves be counted by giving your hard-earned cash to either the Democrats or to the Republicans of your choice. It is in this way, and only in this way, that we can continue this political process. But the outcome should not be decided by voters, it should be decided by a protracted legal process. I would not give up this fight if there was a chance that we would prevail. But it is now clear that even with your continued financial support and even if all the provisional ballots were counted, which they won’t be, there won’t be enough outstanding votes for our campaign to be able to win California and Florida. And therefore, we cannot afford to pay for the lawyers to handle this case and to vacation for a full seven weeks in the Bahamas at the Regent Hilton. Which, I might add, is exceptionally beautiful this time of year. Both Theresa and I have been looking forward to this vacation which we had to make reservations for as far back as January as the hotel is quite full of dignitaries this time of year.
It was a privilege and a gift for two years traveling this country on other peoples money, coming to know so many of my friends even better. I wish I could just wrap you in my arms and embrace each and every one of your bank accounts and bankers individually all across this nation. I thank you from the bottom of my wallet; which is a very deep one, when it comes to your money. Thank you.
To all of you, my volunteers and online supporters, all across this country who gave so much of themselves, thank you. Thanks especially to my good friend Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers for the personal donation of $3,500 of which I spent on a necktie for the first of our televised debates. Mike, as you all know, is a professional and said that my light blue neckties made me look “wimpy” so I should buy a red or Paisley necktie in order to win the debates. I took his advice and won that debate handily, thanks to Mike’s advice (and the $3,500). Also thanks to Terence Jones, a seven-year-old who collected $980, a quarter and a dollar at a time selling bracelets from Mexico during the summer to help change America. Thanks to David Burns from North Carolina who I spied in a rope line holding a container of money. It turned out he raided his brothers piggy bank and wanted to contribute – he should make a fine politician someday. And thanks to George Williams, who at 10 years old started Kids for Kerry. I hope in the very near future I can work to get more children involved with the American political process and to just give us their money – even though they have no right to vote. But, let’s not kid ourselves here, you do have the right to vote, and to be taxed, even though your votes mean nothing.
I thank all of you, who took time to travel, time off from work, and their own vacation time to work in states far and wide, you saved me from having to pay for someone to actually do this for real. You braved the hot days of summer and the cold days of the fall and the winter to knock on doors because you were determined to open the doors of opportunity to all Americans. You worked your hearts out, and I say, don’t lose faith. What you did made no difference, and building on itself, we will go on to make no difference another day. I promise you, that time is here — the election may come someday when your work and your ballots will change the world, and the day may come to when hell freezes over.
I’m proud of what we stood for in this campaign, and of what we accomplished. When we began, no one thought it was possible to even make this a close race, but we stood for real pocket change, not just pennies and nickels. But real change, half-dollars, dollars, and may I say it? Even $20 to $100 dollar bills that immediately went to the DNC for new curtains and carpeting. Carpeting that may change the world and make a real difference in the life of our nation, the lives of our families, and we defined that choice to America. I’ll never forget the wonderful people who actually paid to come to our rallies, who stood in our rope lines carrying signs as TV props, who put their hopes in our hands, who invested in each and every one of us. I saw in them the truth that America is not only great, but it is good.
So here — with a grateful heart, I leave this campaign with a prayer that has even greater meaning to me now that I’ve come to know our vast country so much better and that prayer is very simple: God bless America and God bless the American way.
John F. Kerry Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers
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