A few weeks ago, I spoke at Gettysburg about the requirement to unify our country. Today, here at Warm Springs, I want to talk about the requirement to recover our country.
Over these past couple of months there has actually been a lot discomfort, so much suffering, a lot loss in America. Over 225,000 people have lost their lives to a virus.
A lot of these lives lost in the cruelest method possible. Alone. Alone in a medical facility space. Alone in a nursing home. No household. No friends. No loved ones next to them in those last minutes.
It haunts a lot of the surviving households, households who were never ever given the chance to say goodbye. I know how it feels to lose somebody you enjoy. I understand that deep black hole that opens up in your chest.
The tragic fact of our time is that COVID has left a deep and lasting wound in this country.
Millions of Americans have actually lost their tasks. We see the empty store fronts and the shuttered services. The noticeable indications of lost hopes and damaged dreams.
However what we don’t see is all those moms and dads staring at the ceiling late at night, wondering how they’re going to pay the home mortgage – how they’re going to pay the rent – what are they going to do if among their kids gets ill now that they’ve lost their health insurance?
Growing up I enjoyed my dad struggle to discover work. He made what I call the longest walk any moms and dad can make: up a brief flight of stairs to inform their kid you can’t use that Little League team anymore. You can’t go back to your school. We can’t remain here in Scranton any longer. We need to move. There are excellent tasks in Delaware. And when I get one– I’ll come back for you and your sibling and your bro and your mom.
My dad always stated that a task is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your self-respect, your respect, your place in the community.
Today, on this autumn afternoon– millions of Americans all across this country feel they have lost all that. A season of protest has broken out all across the nation. A few of it is just senseless burning and looting and violence that can’t be tolerated, and it will not.
However much of it is a cry for justice from neighborhoods that have actually long had the knee of oppression on their neck. The names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake will not soon be forgotten. Not by me. Not by us. Not by this country. They’re going to influence a new age of justice in America.
These are all historical, unpleasant crises. The insidious infection. Economic distress. Systemic discrimination. Any one of them might have rocked a country. Yet we have actually been hit by all 3 simultaneously.
But if we’re truthful with ourselves, the discomfort striking at the heart of our country goes back not months, but years.
Our politics has for far too long been mean, bitter, and divisive. We’ve stopped seeing the self-respect in one another. We’ve stopped showing each other regard.
Too many among us invest more time shouting than listening. More time fighting than interacting. More time demonizing and denigrating others than raising them up. The departments in our nation are getting wider. Anger and suspicion are growing. Our wounds are getting deeper. And lots of marvel: has it gone too far? Have we passed the point of no return? Has the heart of this country been turned to stone?
I do not believe so. I decline to think it. I understand this nation. I know our individuals. And I know we can unify and recover this country.
Warm Springs is a good place to discuss hope and healing. This is where Franklin Roosevelt came ‘to utilize the restorative waters’ to rebuild himself.
Stricken by the polio infection in 1921, he suffered from paralysis. Like so many other Americans in those pre-vaccine years, FDR longed to live an independent life, a life that wasn’t defined by his health problem. To him, and to numerous others dealing with physical obstacles, Warm Springs used therapy for the body and for the soul.
However it used something else. FDR came trying to find a cure, however it was the lessons he found out here that he utilized to raise a country. Humility. Compassion. Guts. Optimism. This place represented a way forward. A method of restoration. Of durability. Of recovery.
In the years that followed, FDR would return to Warm Springs typically to think of how to heal the nation and the world. And that’s what he did. Raising us out of the Great Depression. Beating tyranny. Conserving democracy.
Then, it was here on April 12, 1945 that President Roosevelt passed away, a casualty of war as surely as any who fell in combat.
The Free World mourned. America’s leaders wept. Maybe even more vital was the reaction of the American people. Naval Chief Petty Officer Graham Jackson, a Black guy, wept as he played his accordion in tribute to FDR not far from here. And the story is informed that when FDR’s funeral procession passed, a guy collapsed in sorrow.
A neighbor asked him, ‘Did you know the president?’ ‘No,’ the guy said. ‘But he knew me.’ ‘But he understood me.’ Couple of words much better describe the kind of president our nation needs today.
A president who’s in it not for himself, however for others. A president who doesn’t divide us– however joins us. A president who appeals not to the worst in us– but to the very best. A president who cares less about his TV rankings– and more about the American people.A president who looks not to settle ratings– however to find options.
A president assisted not by wishful thinking– but by science, factor, and reality. That’s the sort of president I will be. I’m running as a happy Democrat. But I will govern as an American president. I will deal with Democrats and Republicans and I will work as hard for those who don’t support me when it comes to those who do. That’s the job of a president. It’s a responsibility of look after everyone.
This place, Warm Springs, is a tip that though broken, each people can be recovered. That as an individuals and a country, we can get rid of a disastrous infection. That we can recover a suffering world. That yes, we can restore our soul and save our nation.
In his last hours, President Roosevelt was at deal with a speech to be provided the next day. In it he was to say: ‘Today … we must cultivate the science of human relationships– the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to cohabit and collaborate in the exact same world at peace.’
To cohabit and collaborate. That’s how I see America. That’s how I see the presidency, and that’s how I see the future. I tell you this from my heart. I think in an America of hope, not fear. Of unity, not department. Of love, not dislike.
The presidency, however, is only one part of the American chorus. History isn’t only a story of the terrific and the well-known. No – our history is the story of We the People. Of everyone. Together.
I have long stated the story of America is the story of normal people doing remarkable things. Change in our country comes when the voices of the helpless reach the ears of the powerful. People whose names we’ll never ever understand, however who risked their lives to, in the words of Dr. King, flex the ‘arc of the ethical universe … towards justice.’
Flexing that arc is the work of our time. But it will take all of us. Red States and Blue States, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. And I believe we can do it. Why? Because we are the United States of America and there’s nothing– nothing– that the American people can’t do when we put our minds to it.
When news of FDR’s death went out on the wires, an editor in Chicago turned to his associates and said, ‘Clear the decks for action.’ So– I state to you today: If you give me the honor of serving as your President, clear the decks for action, for we will act.
We will act on the very first day of my presidency to get COVID under control. We will act to pass my financial plan that will finally reward work– not wealth– in this nation. We will act to pass my healthcare strategy to provide budget friendly, accessible healthcare to every American.
We will act to pass the Biden climate strategy, satisfying the challenge of the climate crisis while developing countless brand-new, high-paying union jobs. We will act to attend to systemic racism in our country. We will act to offer working individuals a fair shot once again in this country.
And we will act to restore our faith in democracy and in each other.
Today we are dealing with a public health crisis of historic proportions, and with winter season at hand, it’s becoming worse. Simply last Friday, 83,000 cases nationwide. Saturday– another 83,000 cases. Almost 1,000 people a day are dying. Another 200,000 deaths are anticipated over the next couple of months.
And the president keeps informing us not to worry. He keeps telling us ‘we’re turning the corner’. It’s as gotten rid of from reality and as offensive as when he told us the virus ‘impacts essentially no one.’ Simply the elderly as if they do not matter. Or when he said in response to the variety of deaths in the country, ‘it is what it is’.
Well, it is what it is since he is who he is. In the spring the President stated that as leader in chief he was going to wage war on the infection. Rather, he’s shrugged. He’s swaggered. And he’s surrendered. And then his Chief of Personnel makes a stunning admission. Saying, quote, ‘we’re not going to control the pandemic.’ ‘We’re not going to control the pandemic’.
It’s a capitulation– a waving of the white flag. And it’s a window into a shocking reality about this White House. They never ever even tried.
Consider all the front-line health experts who have actually risked their lives for 9 months in this pandemic. Consider all the very first responders. Consider all the grocery store workers and delivery truck motorists and instructors and parents with their kids home from school. Think of all those who have lost their jobs. Think of all those who have actually been infected by this infection. Think about all those who have passed away. They were giving their all while their president was quiting.
Well, I’m here to tell you we can and will get control of this virus. As president, I will never wave the white flag of surrender. Just think of where we would be today with a president who had embraced wearing a mask rather of mocking it?
Envision where we would be with a president who practiced social distancing rather of holding incredibly spreader occasions? Picture where we would be with a detailed system for testing and tracing?
I first advanced an in-depth plan on how to handle the infection in March. This administration ignored it. Then I launched a number of more detailed plans in the months that followed. The most recent just recently. This administration has yet to provide a single plan. It’s just one factor that one of the most distinguished medical journals worldwide, the New England Journal of Medicine, called this president ‘alarmingly inexperienced’– stating he had turned a crisis into a catastrophe.
I’m all set to act. We know what to do. And starting on The first day of my presidency, we will do it. I have actually discussed the battle for the soul of America because the very beginning of this campaign. And I want to be very clear in these closing days about what I imply. And about what I plan to do in the fight to ensure that our much better angels dominate our worst instincts.
I believe this election has to do with who we are as a country, what we believe– and maybe most importantly– who we wish to be. It has to do with our essence. It’s about what makes us Americans. It’s that essential.
Time and once again throughout our history, we have actually seen the Charlatans, the Con-Men, the bogus Populists– who have sought to play to our worries, interest our worst appetites, and select at the oldest scabs we have for their own political gain. They appear when the nation has been struck the hardest and we’re at our most vulnerable. Never to resolve anything. Constantly to benefit themselves.
In his current encyclical Pope Francis warns us against this fake populism that appeals to the ‘basest and most self-centered’ instincts. Then he states this: ‘Politics is something more worthy than posturing, marketing and media spin. These plant nothing however department, dispute and a bleak cynicism …’ For those who look for to lead, ‘we do well to ask ourselves’: ‘Why I am doing this?’ ‘What is my genuine objective?’
Pope Francis has actually asked questions that anybody who seeks to lead this excellent nation ought to answer. And my answer is this: To unite this nation. To recover this nation. The Bible tells us that there is a time to break down, and a time to build up. And a time to heal. This is that time.
God and history have actually called us to this moment and to this objective: With our voices and our votes, we need to release ourselves from the forces of darkness, from the forces of division, and from the forces of yesterday– from the forces that pull us apart, hold us down, and hold us back. And if we do so, we will again turn into one nation, under God, indivisible.
A country united. A country strengthened. A country healed. That is my goal. That is what we should do. Thank you. May God bless America. May God protect our soldiers.