Sen. Cory Booker challenged liberal activists gathered Friday for the Netroots Nation Conference in New Orleans to fight against the “normalcy of injustice” in the United States and to “awaken the dream of this country again.”
“We are at a time where injustice has grown to become normal in our country and it is time for us to work together to get folk woke, to help people understand their power,” Mr. Booker said. “American history is a perpetual screaming testimony to the achievement of the impossible.
“The power of the people is greater than the people in power,” the New Jersey Democrat said. “What we are seeing in this country doesn’t reflect our spirit. What we are seeing in this country doesn’t reflect our potential. What we are seeing in this country is not as mighty as the love we have together.”
The annual Netroots Nation convention attracts thousands of liberal activists and this year is doubling as a chance for Democrats considering presidential runs to woo potential supporters.
In a keynote address, Mr. Booker said he has been fighting in the Senate to put people to work, legalize marijuana and expunging the records of those convicted, and provide Medicare for all. He said he is fighting to support public schoolteachers, protect gay and lesbian couples, and reduce the corrosive effect of corporate money in politics.
“We in this country have to start saying we reject the normalcy of injustice,” Mr. Booker said. “We were a nation that founded itself by saying we would be an abnormal nation in the most righteous of ways.
“Now I am not going to say that it was perfect,” he said. “Our founders wrote into our documents that Native Americans were savages, that blacks were fractions of human beings, women not mentioned at all, but we put forth into this universe the oldest constitutional democracy that we would be a nation always striving to set a higher and a better normal.”
Mr. Booker also said he is concerned that the Democratic Party is losing touch with the challenges confronting voters.
“I think a lot about the Democratic Party nationally and how it seems that that connection to people where they are, what their experiences are, their struggles, their hurts and their pain how we seem to have lost our way,” he said. “And how what you all are doing in this room, what we need to be doing, is reconnecting ourselves to folk where they are. I will tell you this. The Democrat Party is good for nothing if it is not standing up for the values and the issues.”
Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California are also scheduled to appear at the event.