Memo 06.23.2020

Sen. Rubio remarks on civil society and race

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After Mr. Floyd’s horrific murder at the hands of a man sworn to uphold the law, our nation has seen justified anger. As I said here two weeks ago, it is a moment that calls for not just “police reform”; it calls for a full reckoning with racial inequities that still plague our nation.

There is nothing more un-American than racial discrimination. Our nation was founded on the revolutionary truth that every human being is created equal and that our rights do not come from our government, our leaders, or even our laws, but from our Creator.

It is true that the men who authored these words and the young nation it gave birth to didn’t fully live up to these principles.

But it is also true that every single great fight for equality in our history has come from direct appeals to these principles.

Slavery, segregation, and discriminatory impediments to voting all came to an end not out of appeals to overthrow our values, but demands that we fulfill them—for these evils could not exist in a nation built upon the idea that all people are created equal, with rights granted to us by God.


Slavery and racial discrimination are a tragic part of our history.

But the long, steady, and perpetual march toward equality is part of our heritage, as well.

And today, a new generation is reminding us that while we have traveled far on the quest for a more perfect union, the final miles of that journey still lie ahead.

The overwhelming and vast majority of these Americans on our streets peacefully reminding us that, yes, black lives matter are not asking that we destroy America; they are demanding that we be more American—that we more fully become a nation with “liberty and justice for all.”


But it is also clear that there are others with a different agenda who have taken to our streets as well.

They are the ones that argue because the men who wrote our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution were imperfect and in some cases racist, the nation their words gave birth to is beyond redemption—that America cannot be improved and therefore it must come to an end.


Now these radical views are not new.

From the crazy professor no one took seriously to the nut-job running for office with no chance of winning, they have operated on the fringes of our politics for decades.

The difference is that in recent years, they have begun to move out from the fringes. And now these radicals are capitalizing on a legitimate movement to force their madness even further into the mainstream.

Now, their violence, their vandalism, their anarchy are excused, tolerated, and sometimes even celebrated by some.

And their radical agenda is shielded from scrutiny by an emerging speech code that condemns as “hate speech” and “racism” any criticism of these anti-American radicals.

The self-proclaimed guardians of free speech in media now apologize for printing the opinions of a U.S. senator and actively cajole tech companies to censor conservative voices.

Social media companies, which owe their very existence to freedom of expression, now threaten to block the accounts of American politicians and publications here at home—while eagerly complying with the demands of totalitarian, racist regimes abroad.

Online mobs not only decide what is acceptable speech but are empowered to destroy the reputation and career of anyone they believe has violated their standards.

And celebrities and large corporations are so eager to proactively insure themselves, shield themselves from being cancelled, they raise money to bail out arsonists, but don’t raise a single cent to help the small business owners—oftentimes minorities themselves—whose lifework was looted and burned to the ground by the radicals.


This radicalism, this anarchy, it isn’t just annoying. It’s destructive, and it’s dangerous.

It’s destructive to bedrock institutions in our country and their legitimacy in the eyes of our people.

Why would people trust public health experts who told them they had to lose their job or their business, that their kids couldn’t have a graduation, and that their grandmother couldn’t have a funeral, but are afraid to say anything about crowds of people setting fires and looting businesses?

Why would people trust local leaders who will close your business for having too many customers or threaten to arrest you for going to a park or to church, but who stand by and do nothing when a mob vandalizes a monument, tears down a statue, or takes over an entire section of a city?

Why would people trust a media that will shame them for going to the beach, for not wearing a mask in public, but portrays a mob of white anarchists attacking African-American police officers as just frustrated racial justice activists?

And this radicalism is also dangerous.

Because if it’s OK for a violent mob to tear down a statue, then what’s to stop another violent mob from showing up to defend it?

If it’s OK to set a police car on fire, what’s going to stop someone upset at activist judges from burning down a courtroom?

And where does it end? It won’t, because there is no way to satisfy radicals who only seek destruction.

Just ask the clergy at the historical St. John’s Episcopal Church. Three weeks ago they expressed their support for and solidarity with the protesters even after some agitator tried to burn their church down. Then, last night, radicals vandalized their church, calling for a “Black House Autonomous Zone” here in Washington.

Just ask the Mayor of Seattle who, just a few days ago, said the so-called Autonomous Zone in her city would lead to a “summer of love.” Now, they’ve announced they are going to move in and retake the area after multiple people were shot over the weekend.

The anti-American radicals don’t care about racial equality. And they will not stop as long as everyone is afraid to call them out for who and for what they are—

And as long as we fail to point out that those seeking racial equality and these radicals are not the same people, the people committing this violence will continue to hide behind this important and legitimate movement.


It is time we start being unafraid to express the common sense of Americans of every race and every background.

Yes, we must address racial inequality. Yes, black lives must matter. But the vandalism, the arson, and the anarchy in our streets have nothing to do with this important cause.

Yes, some police departments need to be reformed, and bad police officers, they need to be fired. And if they committed crimes, they need to be arrested, and they need to be prosecuted.

But no, we are not going to abolish or defund the police departments.

Yes, racial disparities must be acknowledged, and they must be addressed—

But, not by giving in to a bunch of crazy radicals who hate and want to destroy this country of ours.

This is what the overwhelming majority of Americans of every race and background believe.

And this is what so many are afraid to say, for fear of being destroyed by an online mob and their accomplices.


For over 200 years, each generation of Americans has moved us ever closer to fulfilling the powerful truths upon which this nation was founded.

Now, it is our turn to do the same—

Not by destroying America, but by becoming more fully American.

Not by abandoning our founding principles, but by moving us closer to becoming the “One Nation, under God, with Liberty and Justice for all” we have pledged our allegiance to.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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