The campaign to elect Joe Biden for president released a video which despite being all-of 97 seconds long, contained several glaring flaws and even more disturbing omissions.
Skipping over the first paragraph which mentions ‘God’ explicitly, Biden began with a quote from the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.
“Our country was founded on an idea, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
At that point, Biden stopped short, cutting the sentence off in the middle, failing to add the second half which notes that these “truths” come from “the Creator, or, in Thomas Jefferson’s words:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
It should be noted that the Declaration of Independence uses the word ‘God’ once, the word ‘Creator’ once, the word ‘Divine’ once, ‘Created’ once, and the word ‘divine’ once.
Biden went on to deride Jefferson who was a Founding Father of the United States and who like Biden, served as vice president and, unlike Biden, served two terms in the office Biden aspires to.
“We’ve never lived up to it. Jefferson himself didn’t,” Biden said. “He held slaves, women were excluded, but once proposed it was an idea that couldn’t be constrained.”
Though Biden’s statement may be factually accurate, it is disingenuous and misleading. It is correct that like many people around the world, Jefferson operated his farm by the use of slaves. This does not take into account that when he wrote this phrase, Congress deleted a quarter of the first draft of the Declaration including a passage criticizing the slave trade. Jefferson believed adding such a passage would dissolve the independence movement. In writing the declaration, Jefferson believed the phrase “all men are created equal” to be self-evident, and would ultimately resolve slavery.
And limiting the description of Jefferson to his ownership of slaves ignores many other significant aspects of an important figure in American history. Decades before the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson argued in court for the abolition of a slave.
In his annual message of December 1806, Jefferson denounced the “violations of human rights” attending the international slave trade, calling on the newly elected Congress to criminalize it immediately. In 1807, Congress passed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, which Jefferson signed. The act established severe punishment against the international slave trade, although it did not address the issue domestically.
Biden went on, focusing on aspects of US history connected with the civil rights of black people.
“It survived the ravages of the Civil War, the dogs of Bull Connor [an opponent of civil rights], the assassination of Martin Luther King and more than 200 years of systemic racism, and just weeks ago the murder of George Floyd. Through it all, these words have gnawed at our conscience and pulled us towards justice.”
It should be noted that Biden’s voting record on civil rights issues can, at best, be described as mixed. During a debate on November 15, 2007, Biden clarified the PATRIOT Act’s effect and his continued support for it and his opposition to racial profiling. In the 1970s, Biden was a vocal opponent of busing to racially integrate schools.
He also has a disturbing history of making racist remarks, most recently in May in an interview with “The Breakfast Club,” when he said, “I tell you if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
At a campaign event in Iowa in August 2019, Biden told supporters “poor kids are just as bright and talented as white kids.” He quickly corrected himself after some applause by adding: “Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids.”
There are many examples of Biden’s racist gaffes but perhaps the most bizarre was in February 2007 when he referred to his future boss, then-Senator Barack Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean.”
Biden continued his carefully scripted and pre-recorded speech.
“American history is no fairy tale. It’s been a constant push and pull between two parts of our character, the idea that all men and women, all people are created equal, and the racism that has torn us apart. We have a chance now to give the marginalized, the demonized, the isolated, the oppressed a full share of the American dream. We have a chance to rip the roots of systemic racism out of this country. We have a chance to live up to the words that have founded this nation. This Independence Day let’s not just celebrate the words, let’s celebrate that promise and commit to work, the work that we must do to fulfill that promise. We remain locked in the battle for the soul of this nation, but believe me, truly, it’s a battle we can and we will win if we act together. Happy Fourth.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted that Joe Biden’s brief Fourth of July video address “the most anti-American speech ever given by an American presidential candidate.”
Biden’s 245 word,97 second long Fourth of July statement may be the most anti-American speech ever given by an American presidential candidate. He omits the Creator in his shortened version of the Declaration of Independence.
— newtgingrich (@newtgingrich) July 5, 2020
In comparison, Gingrich praised President Trump’s fourth of July speech, saying, “It just might win him the reelection.”
Donald Trump’s Mt. Rushmore speech just might win him the reelection. “It was a magnificent speech that will, I predict, take an honored place in the library of great American political addresses.” @theamgreatness @rogerkimballhttps://t.co/xPSQ6MsapP
— newtgingrich (@newtgingrich) July 5, 2020
In contrast, President Trump mentioned ‘God’ six times, including a paraphrase of hte same section of the Declaration of Independence cited by Biden.
“Two hundred and forty-four years ago in Philadelphia, the 56 signers of our Declaration of Independence pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to boldly proclaim this eternal truth: that we are all made equal by God,” Trump said, to wild applause.
And again, in what is becoming his signature farewell: “God Bless you, God Bless our heroes, God bless America.”