My Fellow Americans: The Speech America Longs For

Posted: June 1, 2020 in Uncategorized

My Fellow Americans:

It would trivialize our present course of events to say that America is passing through difficult times. Of course, we are. But difficult times are not the same for everyone. For many Americans these difficult times are not new; they have repeated over and over again throughout time. The death of this one black man beneath the knee of white authority in Minneapolis is, however terrible, not unique. His death is part of a repeating story, a moral abomination that began with slavery, continued with Jim Crow and segregation, and has been enforced by unequal laws and regular vigilante violence through our history. Sadly, the hard won successes of the Civil Rights movement have only been partially achieved. Our work is not over and we are compelled to move toward a more perfect union.

America is indeed passing through difficult times, more difficult for some than others. Together, the pandemic with its death, grief and loss of employment, and the suffering and death of George Floyd and others before him have left us shaken and sad. We so feel the depth of this injustice and loss. And most importantly, people of good will everywhere want to remedy it.

There will be no peace without justice, and we know that. People should be expressing their outrage and grief and many have taken to the streets to demonstrate the seriousness of this cause all across our nation. This right to free expression is safe guarded under our Constitution. But more than that, we know that this is a moral issue. The ones who have transgressed will be held accountable. Every police department everywhere will need to reexamine its own culture in relationship to the community, especially communities of color. We also know that the destructive actions of some in law enforcement in no way represents the majority of these public servants.

We thank all leaders who are counseling safe, orderly and peaceful marches. We also know that the extremist groups that want to tear us apart with their hateful rhetoric and destructive actions do not represent the majority of our citizens. Violence undermines the strong message of justice that needs to be heard and acted upon.

As we go about the hard work of healing the painful wounds of our people in their many dimensions, I call upon all Americans to join together as we move together:

Join together to honestly address the most difficult aspects of our common life.

Join together to find a better way forward.

Join together to support all those who feel the weight of loss.

Join together to overcome any of the remnants of hate and discrimination.

This is not the American way and we will overcome it.

Though simple words can neither correct all error nor make the way forward clear, I trust that we will make it through as we encourage one another to call upon our higher angels, to draw upon our best inclinations and not the worst, to reach toward the original and never-fulfilled vision that our land will be one of justice and liberty for all.

This is our solemn hope and fervent prayer.

God bless us all as we strive for exactly that.

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