McKinney: History train will keep rolling for justice

The following is an excerpt from Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s (D-Ga.) concession speech. McKinney, a 10-year incumbent and well-known voice for social justice and progressive causes, lost the Democratic primary to political newcomer Denise Majette. Majette was backed by a number of conservative, corporate and right-wing forces. A difficult defeat for all progressives, we reprint McKinney’s statement here because her determination to continue the fight for peace and justice, in the face of adversity, is an inspiration for all of us to work harder to defeat the ultra-right and corporate rule.



Quiet, please. Listen. Listen closely. That’s the history train – and it’s still rolling – no matter what happened today.

I rode the history train to Congress in 1992, and many of you rode the train with me. And many more of you joined me along the way.

And while the tracks got a little rough this campaign, I am proud to announce:

This train hasn’t stopped. This train hasn’t slowed down. We are going full-speed ahead.

I want to congratulate Denise Majette. I may not agree with the kind of campaign she ran, but she will need all our prayers to face the coming storm. I spoke to her moments ago and congratulated her personally. And assured her that I would not help the Republicans.

I wish her well.

In Congress, doing what is right is not always easy. Sometimes you are faced with a choice between doing what is politically safe or doing what is right.

Sometimes you have to stand up to seemingly unbeatable odds, speak the truth to the most powerful interests, to do what is right.

Sometimes you win. And sometimes you lose.

Tonight I have lost an election. But I maintain my spirit, my courage, my dignity and my commitment to the truth, to peace and to the future. And I want to assure you that:

I am not giving up, for the battle has yet to be won.

I am not beaten, for I will fight another day.

I am not sad, for I have made the world a better place.

But I am hopeful, because we are all here for a cause much, much greater than ourselves.

I am confident that we will continue to make a difference in our community, be a voice for the voiceless and speak truth to power.

I am optimistic that although I lost an election tonight I will continue to fight for truth, justice and the American way, and I will continue to stand up to anyone who seeks to rob us of our rights and deny us the opportunity to succeed.

I am proud to tell you tonight that I’m not getting off the history train just yet.

There is still work to be done.

Somewhere tonight, a man is making himself a bed of newspapers and cardboard on the sidewalks of the city.

Somewhere tonight, a child is too hungry to do his homework.

Somewhere tonight, an elderly couple must make the unfair choice between food and medicine.

Somewhere tonight, a woman lives in fear of domestic violence.

And somewhere tonight, men in powerful positions are taking the first steps toward sending our country into war.

Somewhere tonight, powerful interests are working to silence those that are a threat to their power.

Every day in Congress I kept those images in mind. Images of real people with real problems. And real abuses of real power.

Today, even in defeat, I have been lifted.

Lifted upon the shoulders of the people of Georgia.

I have been lifted – by Christians, Muslims and Jews.

I have been lifted on the wings of hope and justice and peace.

And for this position I have a clear view of the horizon.

And I see a better place.

I see a place where we’re going, friends and neighbors – and it may not be the Promised Land – but it is a place where America keeps her promises.

I see an America of opportunity for our young people, dignity for our workers and security for our seniors.

We are all on the train called History – and we are ringing the bell called Freedom.

Since I was first elected in 1992, I have been a voice for the voiceless, a champion for our children, a warrior for the weak and a challenger to the indifferent establishment.

And even though I won’t be in Congress for a couple of years, I will continue to be a voice, a champion, a warrior and a challenger. I will continue to speak truth to power and put what’s right, what’s true, what’s fair and what’s just over all else.

Someone once said that when one door closes, another door is opened.

Some doors have opened for me tonight.

I believe God has a plan. And I believe with His guidance I will continue to do what is right, and I look forward to continuing to ride the history train.

Thank you, and good night.