2022 Election Cycle « Sept. 1, 2022 President Biden Speech "The Continued Battle for the Soul of the Nation"


President Joe Biden

Remarks on the Continued Battle for the Soul of the Nation

Independence National Historical Park

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

September 1, 2022


8:03 P.M. EDT
 
THE PRESIDENT:  My fellow Americans, please, if you have a seat, take it.  I speak to you tonight from sacred ground in America: Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
This is where America made its Declaration of Independence to the world more than two centuries ago with an idea, unique among nations, that in America, we’re all created equal.
 
This is where the United States Constitution was written and debated.
 
This is where we set in motion the most extraordinary experiment of self-government the world has ever known with three simple words: “We, the People.”  “We, the People.”
 
These two documents and the ideas they embody — equality and democracy — are the rock upon which this nation is built.  They are how we became the greatest nation on Earth.  They are why, for more than two centuries, America has been a beacon to the world.
 
But as I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault.  We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise.
 
So tonight, I have come this place where it all began to speak as plainly as I can to the nation about the threats we face, about the power we have in our own hands to meet these threats, and about the incredible future that lies in front of us if only we choose it.
 
We must never forget: We, the people, are the true heirs of the American experiment that began more than two centuries ago.
 
We, the people, have burning inside each of us the flame of liberty that was lit here at Independence Hall — a flame that lit our way through abolition, the Civil War, Suffrage, the Great Depression, world wars, Civil Rights.
 
That sacred flame still burns now in our time as we build an America that is more prosperous, free, and just.
 
That is the work of my presidency, a mission I believe in with my whole soul.
 
But first, we must be honest with each other and with ourselves.
 
Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal.
 
Donald Trump and the Sierra Club Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.
 
Now, I want to be very clear — (applause) — very clear up front: Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans.  Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.
 
I know because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans.
 
But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.
 
These are hard things.
 
But I’m an American President — not the President of red America or blue America, but of all America.
 
And I believe it is my duty — my duty to level with you, to tell the truth no matter how difficult, no matter how painful.
 
And here, in my view, is what is true: MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution.  They do not believe in the rule of law.  They do not recognize the will of the people.
 
They refuse to accept the results of a free election.  And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.
 
MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.
 
They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.
 
They look at the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th — brutally attacking law enforcement — not as insurrectionists who placed a dagger to the throat of our democracy, but they look at them as patriots.
 
And they see their MAGA failure to stop a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election as preparation for the 2022 and 2024 elections.
 
They tried everything last time to nullify the votes of 81 million people.  This time, they’re determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people.
 
That’s why respected conservatives, like Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Luttig, has called Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans, quote, a “clear and present danger” to our democracy.
 
But while the threat to American democracy is real, I want to say as clearly as we can: We are not powerless in the face of these threats.  We are not bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy.
 
There are far more Americans — far more Americans from every — from every background and belief who reject the extreme MAGA ideology than those that accept it.  (Applause.)
 
And, folks, it is within our power, it’s in our hands — yours and mine — to stop the assault on American democracy.
 
I believe America is at an inflection point — one of those moments that determine the shape of everything that’s to come after.
 
And now America must choose: to move forward or to move backwards?  To build the future or obsess about the past?  To be a nation of hope and unity and optimism, or a nation of fear, division, and of darkness?
 
MAGA Republicans have made their choice.  They embrace anger.  They thrive on chaos.  They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.
 
But together — together, we can choose a different path.  We can choose a better path.  Forward, to the future.  A future of possibility.  A future to build and dream and hope.
 
And we’re on that path, moving ahead.
 
I know this nation.  I know you, the American people.  I know your courage.  I know your hearts.  And I know our history.
 
This is a nation that honors our Constitution.  We do not reject it.  (Applause.)
 
This is a nation that believes in the rule of law.  We do not repudiate it.  (Applause.)
 
This is a nation that respects free and fair elections.  We honor the will of the people.  We do not deny it.  (Applause.)
 
And this is a nation that rejects violence as a political tool.  We do not encourage violence.
 
We are still an America that believes in honesty and decency and respect for others, patriotism, liberty, justice for all, hope, possibilities.
 
We are still, at our core, a democracy.  (Applause.)

And yet history tells us that blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy.
 
For a long time, we’ve told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed, but it’s not.
 
We have to defend it, protect it, stand up for it — each and every one of us.

That’s why tonight I’m asking our nation to come together, unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy regardless of your ideology.  (Applause.)

We’re all called, by duty and conscience, to confront extremists who will put their own pursuit of power above all else.
 
Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans: We must be stronger, more determined, and more committed to saving American democracy than MAGA Republicans are to — to destroying American democracy.
 
We, the people, will not let anyone or anything tear us apart.  Today, there are dangers around us we cannot allow to prevail.   We hear — you’ve heard it — more and more talk about violence as an acceptable political tool in this country.  It’s not.  It can never be an acceptable tool.
 
So I want to say this plain and simple: There is no place for political violence in America.  Period.  None.  Ever.  (Applause.)

We saw law enforcement brutally attacked on January the 6th.  We’ve seen election officials, poll workers — many of them volunteers of both parties — subjected to intimidation and death threats.  And — can you believe it? — FBI agents just doing their job as directed, facing threats to their own lives from their own fellow citizens.
 
On top of that, there are public figures — today, yesterday, and the day before — predicting and all but calling for mass violence and rioting in the streets.

This is inflammatory.  It’s dangerous.  It’s against the rule of law.  And we, the people, must say: This is not who we are.  (Applause.)
 
Ladies and gentlemen, we can’t be pro-ex- — pro-ex- — pro-insurrectionist and pro-American.  They’re incompatible.  (Applause.)

We can’t allow violence to be normalized in this country.  It’s wrong.  We each have to reject political violence with — with all the moral clarity and conviction this nation can muster.  Now.
 
We can’t let the integrity of our elections be undermined, for that is a path to chaos.
 
Look, I know poli- — politics can be fierce and mean and nasty in America.  I get it.  I believe in the give-and-take of politics, in disagreement and debate and dissent.
 
We’re a big, complicated country.  But democracy endures only if we, the people, respect the guardrails of the republic.  Only if we, the people, accept the results of free and fair elections.  (Applause.)  Only if we, the people, see politics not as total war but mediation of our differences.
 
Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election: either they win or they were cheated.  And that’s where MAGA Republicans are today.  (Applause.)
 
They don’t understand what every patriotic American knows: You can’t love your country only when you win.  (Applause.)  It’s fundamental.
 
American democracy only works only if we choose to respect the rule of law and the institutions that were set up in this chamber behind me, only if we respect our legitimate political differences. 
 
I will not stand by and watch — I will not — the will of the American people be overturned by wild conspiracy theories and baseless, evidence-free claims of fraud.
 
I will not stand by and watch elections in this country stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost.  (Applause.)
 
I will not stand by and watch the most fundamental freedom in this country — the freedom to vote and have your vote counted — and — be taken from you and the American people.  (Applause.)
 
Look, as your President, I will defend our democracy with every fiber of my being, and I’m asking every American to join me.  (Applause.)
 
(A protestor disruption can be heard.)
 
Throughout our history, America has often made the greatest progress coming out of some of our darkest moments, like you’re hearing in that bullhorn.
 
I believe we can and we must do that again, and we are.
 
MAGA Republicans look at America and see carnage and darkness and despair.  They spread fear and lies –- lies told for profit and power.
 
But I see a very different America — an America with an unlimited future, an America that is about to take off.  I hope you see it as well.  Just look around.
 
I believed we could lift America from the depths of COVID, so we passed the largest economic recovery package since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  And today, America’s economy is faster, stronger than any other advanced nation in the world.  (Applause.)  We have more to go.
 
I believed we could build a better America, so we passed the biggest infrastructure investment since President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  And we’ve now embarked on a decade of rebuilding
the nation’s roads, bridges, highways, ports, water systems, high-speed Internet, railroads.  (Applause.)
 
I believed we could make America safer, so we passed the most significant gun safety law since President Clinton.  (Applause.)
 
I believed we could go from being the highest cost of prescriptions in the world to making prescription drugs and healthcare more affordable, so we passed the most significant healthcare reforms since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)
 
And I believed we could create — we could create a clean energy future and save the planet, so we passed the most important climate initiative ever, ever, ever.  (Applause.)
 
The cynics and the critics tell us nothing can get done, but they are wrong.  There is not a single thing America cannot do — not a single thing beyond our capacity if we do it together.
 
It’s never easy.  But we’re proving that in America, no matter how long the road, progress does come.  (Applause.)
 
Look, I know the last year — few years have been tough.  But today, COVID no longer controls our lives.  More Americans are working than ever.  Businesses are growing.  Our schools are open.  Millions of Americans have been lifted out of poverty.  Millions of veterans once exposed to toxic burn pits will now get what they deserve for their families and the compa- — compensation.  (Applause.)
 
American manufacturing has come alive across the Heartland, and the future will be made in America — (applause) — no matter what the white supremacists and the extremists say.
 
I made a bet on you, the American people, and that bet is paying off.  Proving that from darkness — the darkness of Charlottesville, of COVID, of gun violence, of insurrection — we can see the light.  Light is now visible.  (Applause.)
 
Light that will guide us forward not only in words, but in actions — actions for you, for your children, for your grandchildren, for America.
 
Even in this moment, with all the challenges we face, I give you my word as a Biden: I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future.  Not because of me, but because of who you are.
 
We’re going to end cancer as we know it.  Mark my words.  (Applause.)
 
We are going to create millions of new jobs in a clean energy economy.
 
We’re going to think big.  We’re going to make the 21st century another American century because the world needs us to.  (Applause.)
 
That’s where we need to focus our energy — not in the past, not on divisive culture wars, not on the politics of grievance, but on a future we can build together.
 
The MAGA Republicans believe that for them to succeed, everyone else has to fail.  They believe America — not like I believe about America.
 
I believe America is big enough for all of us to succeed, and that is the nation we’re building: a nation where no one is left behind.
 
I ran for President because I believed we were in a battle for the soul of this nation.  I still believe that to be true.  I believe the soul is the breath, the life, and the essence of who we are.  The soul is what makes us “us.”
 
The soul of America is defined by the sacred proposition that all are created equal in the image of God.  That all are entitled to be treated with decency, dignity, and respect.  That all deserve justice and a shot at lives of prosperity and consequence.  And that democracy — democracy must be defended, for democracy makes all these things possible.  (Applause.)  Folks, and it’s up to us.
 
Democracy begins and will be preserved in we, the people’s, habits of heart, in our character: optimism that is tested
yet endures, courage that digs deep when we need it, empathy that fuels democracy, the willingness to see each other not as enemies but as fellow Americans.

Look, our democracy is imperfect.  It always has been.
 
Notwithstanding those folks you hear on the other side there.  They’re entitled to be outrageous.  This is a democracy.  But history and common sense — (applause) — good manners is nothing they’ve ever suffered from.
 
But history and common sense tell us that opportunity, liberty, and justice for all are most likely to come to pass in a democracy.
 
We have never fully realized the aspirations of our founding, but every generation has opened those doors a little wider to include more people who have been excluded before.
 
My fellow Americans, America is an idea — the most powerful idea in the history of the world.  And it beats in the hearts of the people of this country.  It beats in all of our hearts.  It unites America.  It is the American creed.
 
The idea that America guarantees that everyone be treated with dignity.  It gives hate no safe harbor.  It installs in everyone the belief that no matter where you start in life, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.
 
That’s who we are.  That’s what we stand for.  That’s what we believe.  And that is precisely what we are doing: opening doors, creating new possibilities, focusing on the future.  And we’re only just beginning.  (Applause.)
 
Our task is to make our nation free and fair, just and strong, noble and whole.
 
And this work is the work of democracy — the work of this generation.  It is the work of our time, for all time.
 
We can’t afford to have — leave anyone on the sidelines.  We need everyone to do their part.  So speak up.  Speak out.  Get engaged.  Vote, vote, vote.  (Applause.)

And if we all do our duty — if we do our duty in 2022 and beyond, then ages still to come will say we — all of us here — we kept the faith.  We preserved democracy.  (Applause.)  We heeded our wor- — we — we heeded not our worst instincts but our better angels.  And we proved that, for all its imperfections, America is still the beacon to the world, an ideal to be realized, a promise to be kept.
 
There is nothing more important, nothing more sacred, nothing more American.  That’s our soul.  That’s who we truly are.  And that’s who must — we must always be.
 
And I have no doubt — none –– that this is who we will be and that we’ll come together as a nation.  That we’ll secure our democracy.  That for the next 200 years, we’ll have what we had the past 200 years: the greatest nation on the face of the Earth.
 
We just need to remember who we are.  We are the United States of America.  The United States of America.  (Applause.)
 
And may God protect our nation.  And may God protect all those who stand watch over our democracy.  God bless you all.  (Applause.)  Democracy.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

8:27 P.M. EDT


RESPONSES
Sierra Club
September 1, 2022

Serra Club Statement on President Biden’s Democracy Remarks

PHILADELPHIA -- This evening, President Biden addressed the ongoing threats to our democracy, including the “Big Lie” perpetuated by Donald Trump about the 2020 election results that has eroded public trust in our elections and democracy. President Biden’s prime-time address comes at a time when threats to democracy rank at the top of Americans’ concerns, according to recent polling.

The public’s concern and distrust are not unfounded. According to the Brennan Center, since the beginning of 2022, nine states have enacted election interference laws which predominantly target voters in low income and communities of color. These laws are on top of the well over 400 anti-democracy bills proposed by nearly every state in 2021.

Congress is currently considering two bills -- the Electoral Count Reform Act of 2022, which will close loopholes in the original Electoral Count Act of 1887 which Donald Trump tried to exploit on January 6, and the DISCLOSE Act, which will shine a brighter light on dark and currently-undisclosed money and its influence on our elections. While it is important that both pieces of legislation pass, neither would fully address the current threats to our democracy, which is why we still call on Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and fully restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

 

In response, Sierra Club’s Democracy Campaign Representative Tishan Weerasooriya issued the following statement:

 

“The Sierra Club applauds President Biden for continuing to identify and denounce threats to our democracy, and for laying out a path forward to ensure that this country honors the will of the people by protecting free and fair elections.  Since the January 6 insurrection, an unprecedented number of anti-voter and anti-democracy bills have been filed in nearly every state, rolling back common-sense voting protections and blocking everyday people from the ballot box.

We know that our ability to tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and protect frontline communities from pollution all depend on a strong, well-functioning democracy where every eligible person has fair and equitable access to the ballot box. That’s why we need strong action now. With so much on the line, there is no time to waste.

“We call on both the House and Senate to take action to pass the legislation before them now -- the Electoral Count Reform Act of 2022 and the DISCLOSE Act. We must also not lose sight nor give up the fight to pass stronger legislation in the future, such as the Freedom to Vote Act and fully restoring the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Such action is critical to solidify the right of every voter to have their voice heard at the ballot box, regardless of their race, political affiliation, or zip code.  We also call on President Biden to use every tool at his disposal, including signing additional executive orders, to help protect voting rights and our democracy.”

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Republican Party of Iowa
September 1, 2022

Iowa GOP Statement on Joe Biden's Authoritarian Speech

DES MOINES -- Republican party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann released the following statement in response to Joe Biden's authoritarian speech: 

"What Americans saw from Joe Biden tonight is a tactic used by authoritarian regimes. Thesitting president is trying to turn his political opponents into an enemy of the state. Joe Biden told voters he wanted to bring the country together, but all he's done is consistently divide our nation further. The Democrat Party continually claims to be 'protecting' our democracy, yet they consistently vilify their opposition to keep power. It's why they should no longer have it."

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Americans for Limited Government
By Rick Manning
September 2, 2022

Biden’s war on dissent is undemocratic and un-American

Joe Biden went to the holiest secular setting in America, Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was penned by Thomas Jefferson, and declared war on former President Donald Trump and those who support him. He did so in terms that serve as a full-speed ahead order for his weaponized Department of Justice to crush all dissent by those who disagree with his far-left policies and seek to defeat them in the 2022 elections.

Biden had the audacity to claim opposition to political violence, when it was his supporters who surrounded the White House when President Trump accepted the Republican Party nomination in 2022, attacking a U.S. Senator and his wife along with many others who attempted to leave 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I was in the group of people attempting to walk a block from the White House to my vehicle. I along with many, many others was instead put on a bus and shuttled to a ‘safe haven’ until 3 am when the Metropolitan Police deemed it safe to go to my car. The silence from candidate Biden was deafening.

When those same nihilists set fire to a church, breached the Secret Service perimeter to the White House three times, and defaced buildings all around D.C., Biden and his allies did not reprimand or express their outrage. They created Black Lives Matter Plaza a short walk from the White House to give a safe space for those who engaged in violence against those whom they disagreed.

Earlier when Biden was Vice President, candidate Donald Trump had to cancel a political rally in Chicago because the safety of attendees could not be guaranteed from attacks by extremists of the left. Joe Biden and his puppet master, a Chicago community organizer, President Barack Obama were silent.

When candidate Donald Trump spoke to the Republican Party of California in San Jose, he was not allowed to go through the front doors because it was unsafe and instead had to traverse through a dirt field and over a dirt barrier to enter through a back entrance. Again silence from the currently outraged Biden.

When violent anarchists of the left attacked the federal courthouse in Portland night after night in 2020, putting federal officers at risk, Biden was missing in action, and his running mate, Kamala Harris’ staff was donating to a group to pay for the release of those arrested in attacks against the state.

And when leftist thugs camped out at the private homes of Supreme Court Justices just a few months ago, it was Joe Biden’s Justice Department that refused to follow the law to protect those Justices against illegal intimidation. Fortunately, tragedy was averted when a psychopath who travelled across country to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh turned himself in while standing outside the Justice’s home after midnight. If Biden urged calm and ordered his Justice Department to assist in protecting the Justices, I am unaware of it as it would have been at best a too little too late whisper.

So, President Biden, you have no legitimacy whatsoever when you decry political violence. Americans for Limited Government condemned the violence on January 6th in real time. We also condemned and experienced the violence of the left.

And if President Trump can be attacked by Biden supporters for language which they, without evidence, claim insighted January 6th, then certainly Joe Biden and his minions on the left should be held accountable for the violence they have fomented by their constant equating of Donald Trump’s policies that expanded freedom and wealth for all Americans with Hitler and Nazism.

The National Socialist Party in Germany unleashed brownshirts to terrorize and intimidate opponents of their regime. Tonight Joe Biden blew his dog whistle long and hard in the hopes of putting a moral justification for continued intimidation and violence against those who oppose his agenda in one of the most despicable moments in American history.

The walls of Independence Hall have been in the presence of greatness, men who put liberty above government and dedicated their lives and fortunes to create this great nation. Tonight, those walls heard the words of the demagogue, who waved a banner of democracy while denying the right to legitimate dissent for those who oppose his regime’s policies.

One thing he said was true however. The soul of America is at stake in November of 2022 and then again in November of 2024. While Biden called for assaulting those who disagree with his flawed big government vision, I call on every American to join together in voting to restore individual liberty, energy independence, and the right to protect your children from sexual abuse in the schools without fear of being targeted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

America does need to unite. Unite in favor of individual choices, not federal government mandates and around the idea that political violence is wrong, even when it is perpetrated by the left.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.