Memo re: inaugural speech

To: Greg Schultz, senior strategist, Biden campaign

From: Frank S. Robinson

Re: Inaugural address

Nov. 9, 2020

Hi Greg,

Don’t know if you’ll have any input on the inaugural speech, but here are two suggestions perhaps you could pass along.

1) Freedom of speech, and religious freedom, have become fraught issues. I propose something like this:

In the Holocaust, millions were put in concentration camps, and killed, because they were Jews. Others too. The world said “never again.” Yet such atrocities still happen. In China, a million Muslim Uighurs are in concentration camps for trying to practice their religion. Elsewhere, people are persecuted for not accepting the dominant religion. In some nations it’s a crime punishable by death. These countries are not our enemies, but we will work to end such assaults on human rights.

Our own Bill of Rights enshrines freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. This is central to our democracy, America’s heart and soul. In America, nobody can stop you from following your faith — or make you bend to someone else’s. But in a democracy, your rights are always balanced against the rights of others. Religious freedom does not mean you can impose your beliefs on other people, nor can it mean exemption from laws and norms that apply to everybody. In our system, government stays out of matters of faith. That’s how we’ve avoided the religious conflicts that have plagued other nations throughout history.

Likewise, freedom of speech means no one can stop you from expressing your opinion; and you cannot stop others from voicing theirs. No matter if you consider their viewpoints unacceptable or pernicious. As Jefferson said, the remedy for bad opinions is not to silence them, not to censor them, but to answer them, with better ones. That discourse and debate, in a free and open democratic society, is how we get to the truth, and progress.

2) The opening line, “My fellow Americans . . . ” I’d love to see end with, “. . . and our brothers and sisters throughout the world.”

Thanks for your consideration,

Frank

One Response to “Memo re: inaugural speech”

  1. Don Bronkema Says:

    Fearful ‘authoritans’ will never embrace tolerance: their views must be undermined from nursery thru post-doc. Nazis provolving on Mars should be threatened w/expulsion thru airlock [sodaspeke].

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