'The New American Century'
3:41 PM, Jun 14, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Earlier today, freshman Florida senator Marco Rubio delivered his maiden address on the floor of the Senate. Here's the entire text, as prepared for delivery:
THE AMERICAN CENTURY
Mr./Madame President, I have the honor of representing the people of the great state of Florida here in the Senate. And today I speak here from this floor on their behalf for the first time.
This Senate is both literally and figuratively a long way from where I come from.
I come from a hard-working and humble family. One that was neither wealthy nor connected. Yet I consider myself a child of privilege. I grew up blessed in two important ways.
I was blessed to be raised in a strong and stable family.
And I was blessed to be born here in the United States of America.
America began from a powerful truth – that our rights do not come from our government. Our rights, they come from God.
Government’s job, is to protect our God-given rights. And here this Republic has done that better than any other government ever.
America is not perfect. It took a bloody civil war to free over 4 million African Americans who lived enslaved. And it would take another hundred years after that before they found true equality under the law.
But since her earliest days, America has inspired people all over the world. It gave them hope that one day their own countries would be a place like this.
But many decided they could not wait. And from everywhere, they came here to pursue their dreams and work to leave their children better off than themselves. The result was the American miracle.
Where a 16-year-old boy from Sweden, who spoke no English and had only five dollars in his pocket, was able to save and open a shoe store. Today, that store, Nordstrom is a multi-billion dollar global retail giant.
Where a young couple with no money and no business experience decided to start a toy business out of the garage of their home. Today, that company, Mattel, is one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers.
Where the French-born son of Iranian parents created a website called AuctionWeb in the living room of his home. Today, that website now called eBay stands as a testament to the familiar phrase, “Only in America”.
These are but three examples of Americans whose extraordinary success began with nothing but an idea.
But the American dream was never just about how much money you made. It is also about something that typifies my home state of Florida: the desire of every parent to leave their children with a better life.
It is a dream lived by countless people whose stories will never be told. Americans that never made a million dollars, never owned a yacht, a plane or even a second home. And yet, they too lived the American dream – because their hard work opened doors for their children that had been closed to them.
It is the story of the people who cleaned our office last night. They work hard, so they can send their kids to college.
It is the story of the people who served your lunch today. They work hard so that one day their children will have the chance to own a business.
It is the story of a bartender and a maid in Florida, whose son now serves here in this Senate, and who proudly gives his testimony as a firsthand witness of the greatness of this land.
Becoming a world power was never America’s plan. But that is exactly what the American economic miracle made her.
Most great powers have used their strength to conquer other nations. But America is different.
For us, power also came with a sense that to those that much is given, much is expected. A sense that with the blessings God bestowed upon our land, came the responsibility to make the world a better place.
In the 20th century, that is exactly what America did.
Politically, it led in two world wars so that others could be free.
And it led in a Cold War to stop the spread of communism, and ultimately to defeat it.
While our military and foreign policy contributions helped to save the world, it was our economic and cultural innovations that have transformed it.
The fruits of the American miracle can be found in the daily lives of people everywhere.