On Wednesday night, in his first address to Congress, President Joe Biden repeated his claim that the United States of America, the country he was elected to lead, is guilty of “systemic racism.”
He said it twice, for emphasis.
A few minutes later, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) delivered the official Republican response. “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.”
It was a powerful statement — and the left hated it, twisting his words to claim that Scott had said there is no racism in America.
The opposite was true: Scott specifically talked about his own experiences of racism — including racism from people on the left who would not tolerate a black conservative.
But he declared that our flaws do not determine who we are: “Original sin is never the end of the story. Not in our souls, and not for our nation. The real story is always redemption.”
Normally, the opposition’s response to the president’s address to Congress is ignored.
But Scott’s speech was so powerful that Democrats continued to attack it well into the weekend.
And when President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were asked — directly — about Scott’s speech, and whether they thought America was a racist country, both of them said no.
They conceded the point.
Biden, when asked about Scott’s speech on NBC’s Today show, said:
“No, I don’t think the American people are racist, but I think after 400 years, African-Americans have been left in a position where they’re so far behind the eight ball in terms of education, health, in terms of opportunity. I don’t think America is racist, but I think the overhang from all of the Jim Crow and before that slavery have had a cost and we have to deal with it.”
When Harris was asked about Scott’s speech by George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ Good Morning America, she said: “No, I don’t think America is a racist country. But we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today.”
Both of them said that America is not a racist country, and that Americans are not racist. With one declarative, courageous statement — “America is not a racist country” — Sen. Scott forced them to admit that “systemic racism” is, at its core, a lie.
Of course, they both pointed out that our country has a history of racism, which left a legacy that still challenges us today.
Scott does not dispute that.
He told CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday that racism “absolutely” left a “lingering effect.” But, Scott argued, we cannot address that legacy with new forms of racism: “Fighting bigotry with bigotry is hypocrisy.”
Scott pointed out on Sunday, and in his response to Biden, that the Republican approach has been to expand opportunity, not to “take from some to give to others.” That approach works.
Tim Scott won the debate over whether America is racist, or “systemically racist.” The next step is to win the debate over solutions to lingering inequality.
Scott shows: it can be done.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.