HJ - Cory Booker in Shenandoah

Democrat New Jersey Senator and candidate for president Cory Booker speaks to the audience Jan. 1 in Shenandoah as part of a campaign tour in southwest Iowa. (photo by Heidi Hertensen/Shenandoah Valley News)

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker brought his message of unity and the need to raise the moral conscience of this country during a stop in Shenandoah on New Year’s Day.

Booker said the outcome of this election is going to determine the course of humanity on some of the most significant issues.

“Given all at stake, I am so grateful that so many people are here right now,” said Booker. “You all inspire me and encourage me more than you know.”

As the former mayor of Newark, the New Jersey senator said he was a guy who had the lead in crisis.

“I was the mayor of New Jersey’s largest city,” said Booker. “In the middle of recession, I learned as a leader what you do. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. You have to make sure you bring the smart people around you to help solve problems.”

Booker said this is a moral moment and not about right or left or right or wrong.

“This election is not a referendum on one guy in one office,” said Booker.” It’s a referendum on who we are and who were going to be to each other. If we as a party define ourselves about just what we are against and not the bigger things were for we’re going to lose. “

Booker said the ultimate call of the Democratic party is not to beat Republicans. It’s to unite Americans in common cause and common purpose.

“We as Democrats, the call of our party in this moral moment is not to try to beat Trump with more Trumpitiness,” said Booker. “Not to divide this country more. The 60 million people that voted for Donald Trump are not our enemy; they are our countrymen and women.”

Booker called to the moral imagination of this country by reminding us that the lines that divide us are nowhere near as strong as the ties that bind us.

“We are here as the good Americans who stood up and did great things to put more indivisible into this one nation under God,” said Booker.

Booker quoted an old saying.

“If you want go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,” said Booker.

Booker said this election is not about the candidate who can yell the loudest or puts forth the best policy ideas.

“This election is a moral moment about who are we going to be, what spirit are we going to bring,” said Booker. “You cannot love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen and women.”

Booker called for a revival of civic grace in our country.

“We’ve got to have the ignition of a more courageous empathy for one each other,” said Booker. “Because right now we›re suffering from a severed sense of belonging. More and more Americans are feeling isolated and alone feeling like they’re not a part of something bigger than themselves and were hurting because of it.  Will we heal this severed sense of belonging,” said Booker.” Will we come back where our values of this nation are reflected in the policies of our nation. Will we take a time where we are confronted with hate and not fall into subduction to hate as well. “

Booker explains the strategy that is best to win is inspiring people to get off the sidelines and to understand that democracy is not a spectators sport.

“You know what kind of nominee we need is, the one that’s going to inspire engagement and activism like the great people from our past,” said Booker.

Booker said while thinking about our decisions to also think about who is going to inspire people to get out and vote.

“Let me tell you I know policy issues do that,” said Booker, “but what really energizes people in every generation of Americans is when we are called to the ideals that are greater than us as individuals. Collectively that’s when we show this world. That’s when we become the light unto nations.”

Booker said the power of the people is always greater than people in power.

“It›s about us,” said Booker. “It’s not about me. It’s about a we. I’m warning you right now, again these are rare things you will hear from a presidential candidate, but I’m leaving you a warning on my presidential campaign. If you make me the president, I’m going to ask more from you than any president asked from you in your lifetime. We›re not solving climate change or we’re not solving gun violence. We’re not solving these big problems unless all of us do more than we›re doing now. And I’m saying that to a room of obvious activists. We have to ignite the moral imagination,” said Booker.” We have to create a movement. A campaign that goes beyond election day because we›re not fighting just to beat Donald Trump. Beating Donald Trump is the floor; it’s not the ceiling. I›m telling you right now if America hasn’t broken your heart, you don’t love her enough.”

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