Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who died on New Year’s Day at age 82, was known for his public speaking abilities.
There’s no better moment that captures his oratorical abilities than the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.
His speech was delivered as a response to President Ronald Regan’s descriptions of the United States at the time.
“This nation is more a tale of two cities than it is just a shining city on a hill,” Cuomo said in the speech. “There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces you don’t see, in the places you don’t visit in your shining city.”
Cuomo served three terms as governor of New York. He was hospitalized recently for heart problems. The former governor is survived by his wife and six children, including current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
NPR has the transcript of his speech, which reads in part:
We believe — We believe as Democrats, that a society as blessed as ours, the most affluent democracy in the world’s history, one that can spend trillions on instruments of destruction, ought to be able to help the middle class in its struggle, ought to be able to find work for all who can do it, room at the table, shelter for the homeless, care for the elderly and infirm, and hope for the destitute. And we proclaim as loudly as we can the utter insanity of nuclear proliferation and the need for a nuclear freeze, if only to affirm the simple truth that peace is better than war because life is better than death.
We believe in firm — We believe in firm but fair law and order.
We believe proudly in the union movement.
We believe in a — We believe — We believe in privacy for people, openness by government.
We believe in civil rights, and we believe in human rights.
We believe in a single — We believe in a single fundamental idea that describes better than most textbooks and any speech that I could write what a proper government should be: the idea of family, mutuality, the sharing of benefits and burdens for the good of all, feeling one another’s pain, sharing one another’s blessings — reasonably, honestly, fairly, without respect to race, or sex, or geography, or political affiliation.