President Biden made sure to remember how we stand on the shoulders of giants, telling the audience that passing a federal voting rights act would be a way to “restore the strength of the voting rights act of ’65, the one President Johnson signed after John Lewis was beaten, nearly killed, on Bloody Sunday.” Even more importantly, passing and restoring the voting rights act to its full power would head off “discriminatory laws before they go into effect.”
Biden made sure to save up some of his anger and frustration to call out the absolute cowardice on the part of Republicans in both the Senate and the House. “I was vice president for eight years. I’ve never seen a circumstance where not one single Republican has a voice that’s ready to speak for justice.”
But Biden was strongest in talking about the institution he was a member of for almost 40 years—specifically, the abuse of the filibuster by GOP senators (as well as Democratic Sens. Sinema and Manchin). “Sadly, the United States Senate, designed to be the world’s greatest deliberative body, has been rendered a shell of its former self,” he said. And Biden knows that his words, although unlikely to change most of the corrupt and intransigent senators’ minds, may find a target in the fearful and cowardly senators who know goddamn well what is at stake.
Appealing to the basic levels of our democratic process, Biden was firm: “I believe the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills. Debate them. Vote. Let the majority prevail. And if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.”
You can watch a couple of clips from Biden’s speech below.