I hope that if you haven’t already seen or heard it, you’ll watch President Biden’s significant speech to the Buffalo community mourning the deaths of ten of its members who were murdered at a grocery store by an 18-year-old white supremacist.
At times like these that are happening too often, the politicians who oppose Biden like to talk only about mental illness–even as they increasingly demonstrate their comfort with white supremacy.
In sharp, defining contrast, the President spoke about the “poison…running through our body politic.”
I’m including what struck me as the most important passages, which he preceded by the also important and comforting task of naming and briefly describing the ten people murdered and the three who were injured. The complete transcript can be found here.
What happened here is simple and straightforward: terrorism. Terrorism. Domestic terrorism. Violence inflicted in the service of hate and the vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group. A hate that, through the media and politics, the internet, has radicalized angry, alienated and lost individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced. That’s the word. Replaced by the other. By people who don’t look like them.
I and all of you reject the lie. I call on all Americans to reject the lie, and I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain and for profit.
The venom of the haters and their weapons of war, of violence in the words and deeds of the — that stalk our streets, our stores, our schools. This venom, this violence cannot be the story of our time. We cannot allow that to happen.
I’m not naïve. I know tragedy will come again. It cannot be forever overcome. It cannot be fully understood either. But there are certain things we can do. We can keep assault weapons off our streets. We’ve done it before. I did it when I passed the crime bill last time, and violence went down, shootings went down. We can’t prevent people from being radicalized to violence, but we can address the relentless exploitation of the internet to recruit and mobilize terrorism. We just need to have the courage to do that, to stand up.
Look, the American experiment in democracy is in a danger like it hasn’t been in my lifetime. It’s in danger this hour. Hate and fear are being given too much oxygen by those who pretend to love America, but who don’t understand America. To confront the ideology of hate requires caring about all people…
This is work that requires all of us. Presidents, politicians, commentators, citizens. None of us can stay on the sidelines. We have to resolve that here in Buffalo, that from the tragedy, this tragedy, will come hope and light and life. It has to.
And that on our watch, the sacred cause of America will never bow, never break, never bend. And the America we love, the one we love will endure. So to the families, from your pain, may we find purpose to live life worthy of the loved ones you lost.
This president has been vilified and written off for his alleged “failed presidency.” I continue to believe that his is the voice of compassion and conviction that we need in this deeply troubled and troubling time. I hope we’ll hear more about “those who spread the lie for power, political gain and for profit.”