The Speech I Wanted President Biden to Give Last Night


In The United States House of Representatives
Sergeant at Arms:

Madam Speaker: the President of the United States

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.:

Speaker Pelosi, Vice-President Harris, Members of the Supreme Court, Senators, Representatives and guests, we’re here tonight for an accounting of the condition of the United States of America – something of a report card for our nation. It is well and fitting that we should do so after the most turbulent transfer of power in the history of our nation.

While we are gathered here in the presence of officials and luminaries, tonight I’m speaking directly the American people – all 331,400,000 of us – because you know the truth, that we are in a fix of our own making, putting us in peril.

On December 1, 1862 Abraham Lincoln sent a message to Congress in those dark days of Americans fighting and killing Americans. Our nation was being ripped apart as he spoke a truth they all knew:

“We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of Earth.”

These times are not so different in spirit and this is our peril. There is a rise of autocracy around the world. It is the very enemy of democracy and we are not so exceptional that we are immune to that danger. Indeed, it has set foot on our doorstep.

I love this country just as you do, so it’s time that we put all the cards on the table, time that we stop withholding the gritty truth so that we might begin to heal ourselves and meet our challenges – so that we save this last best hope of Earth.

Surely, you remember the comments of the last president about the events in Charlottesville that culminated in the murder of Heather Heyer. He said that there were “very fine people on both sides.”

But you know that there weren’t.

Because one side was made of people chanting hateful things, people who wore the emblems of Nazis, the enemy we fought and defeated at the cost of hundreds of thousands of American lives. Nazis like and want autocracy – dictatorship – not democracy. They are an enemy that wants to bring down our country. So, no, those were not fine people.

Here’s more gritty truth: Congress is not unlike that.

We have people in Congress who promoted insurrection, violence against our country and our countrymen and women. We have people here in Congress who know full well that Trump’s Big Lie about the election having been stolen is pure fiction. They know that claims of hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes are pure fiction. They know that there is absolutely no evidence of fraud in our last election, which is why over 60 of Trump’s lawsuits were laughed out of court. They know that these are just another set of self-serving Trump lies. They will acknowledge that in the cloakrooms of the House and Senate and in other private places. They know the truth.

But in public, when it counts, they cower in fear of the megalomaniac and they toe the corrupt line for Trump and their party bosses. They mouth the Big Lie. When they do that they weaken our nation.

The Electoral College votes of all 50 states were certified, but 147 senators and representatives challenged some state counts and voted to overturn the election, even though they had no evidence of any election wrongdoing, nor any other factual reason to object. They were blindly promoting the Big Lie, even as they knew the truth, and they undermined our democracy. You elected them to be leaders, not followers, but they caved to party pressure. Here’s what that means to you:

They stand in opposition to any and every plan to make your life better and safer.

For decades they have voted against nearly every piece of legislation that would have had benefit for you. They voted in goose stepping unison to oppose the American Rescue Plan, our program that has led to the vaccination of over 200 million Americans, put money in your pocket and created hundreds of thousands of jobs. I say again: they voted against that. And they offer nothing to make things better for you.

They stand in unison against the proposed American Jobs Plan (the infrastructure bill), the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill and every other action proposed by Democrats designed to be of service to the American people. They stand against universal background checks before the transfer of firearms, even though 90% of Americans want that protection. They have no policy proposals and stand only for obstruction. They give no thought to you.

In short, they have sold you out.

That’s why I’m speaking directly to you. Because if you want anything good to happen, if you want government to work for you, you have to pressure your senators and congressperson to vote in favor of you. You have to tell them to stop the un-American, self-serving dance they do that focuses solely on themselves. Tell them to start working for you. Tell them to shape up or you will ship them out.

We are at a crossroads where we must decide which way to turn. One way leads to continuing division and anger and despair. It encourages more extremist violence like the awful attack on our nation on January 6. It has already generated state laws that dramatically attack your freedoms. It promises greater wealth for people who don’t need it and increasing poverty for everyone else.

A turn the other way leads to a better America – that shining city on the hill. It leads to greater prosperity for all Americans and keeps us the envy of the world. It restores our place among nations. It keeps faith with the Founders of our nation and the vision they gave to us of what we can be. It tells us that the American Dream is alive and well and it’s there for all of us, if only we have the courage to make the right choices and grab it.

So, call or write to your legislators both in Washington and in your own state. Tell them you want an end to their jiggering our country just to serve themselves. Tell them that you have a long memory when you’re double-crossed and you’ll surely remember their selling you out if they don’t start doing the right job for We the People, the job they were elected to do.

Look, there will be time to talk about programs we have developed and will be proposing. Right now what you need to know is that your voice is the one that must be heard if the self-serving obstructionists are to be stopped, so your job is to speak up. I’ll do my job of finding solutions that will work. Together we’ll get past our decades of self-defeat and restore our country to the path where we know it belongs.

May God bless America and may God protect our troops.

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Be sure to read Heather Cox Richardson’s take on this in today’s Letters From an American. And subscribe to her brilliant writings.

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
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JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
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