October 17, 2009
Nevada Senator Harry Reid is recognized for his leadership in fighting hate crimes and anti-Semitism by the Anti-Defamation League.
Las Vegas, NV- -Nevada Senator Harry Reid attended the Anti-Defamation League’s American Heritage Dinner Saturday, where he was honored for his leadership in fighting discrimination, anti-Semitism and hate crimes. Sen. Reid was instrumental in passing new laws to help law enforcement fight and prosecute hate crimes as well as pushing for a resolution denouncing all forms of anti-Semitism.
Below are Reid’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“This is a profound honor, and I thank you sincerely for it. But I want to especially thank you and honor you for your accomplishments and your achievements. It is your dedication, persistence and commitment – much more than any of ours with you tonight – that shines a light on discrimination and inequality everywhere it hides.
“One has to look no further than the new hate crimes law to see it in action. The ADL created the model for hate crime legislation in nearly every state. But you were not satisfied and you refused to stop there. You fought side-by-side with us to make the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Prevention Act the law of the land.
‘I am proud that we passed a strong new law that says without equivocation and without fear that hate crimes embody a unique brand of evil. We will now be able to bring justice to those who target others because of their religion or their race, their ethnicity or their sexual orientation, or the country where their parents were born.
“We were not afraid to admit that though a violent act may physically hurt just a single victim and cause grief for loved ones, hate crimes do more: They distress entire communities, entire groups of people, and our entire country. For the last decade, Matthew Shepard’s name has been associated with hate crimes. Because of your courage, his name will hereafter be associated with justice.
“I also want to thank you for your leadership on an issue particularly visible in my everyday life in politics, and in the Senate. Your efforts to restore civility to the public debate in America is among the most honorable tasks you pursue.
“What patriot could be proud of their fellow citizens who cheer America’s defeat in its pursuit of the Olympic Games? What patriot could be proud of their fellow citizens who jeer America’s President in his recognition by the Nobel committee? What patriot could be proud of those who wish for their leaders to fail, or hope an effort to make it easier to live a healthy life in America becomes our President’s Waterloo?
“These are only some of the tamest examples we have seen in the past year.We all have a right to be frustrated by such fury and hate; some may understandably be disheartened or discouraged to participate. But we must remember, as Bob Dole lamented last week, “Sometimes people fight you just to fight you.”
“America is better than that, and it is our job to fulfill that promise. I agree with my Republican friend, Bob Dole. He held the position I now hold, when party his was in the majority and mine was in the minority. We’ve both seen it from both sides. And we both have come to the same conclusion that it is no way to govern.
“Instead, we must recognize that legislating is the art of compromise. The revolutionary document Congress adopted on July 4, 1776, declared that power derives from the consent of the governed. In the 233 years since that day, we have also learned that we must govern by consensus.
“As we discuss and debate, we must never disagree that finding common ground is in our common interest. We must never forget that the governed – you who have given us the incomparable honor of serving – benefit most when we work with each other, not against each other.”
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