Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden traveled to Kenosha, Wis. on Thursday, bringing his campaign to the current epicenter of the national debate on police brutality and racial justice, embracing the national reckoning and promising things will get better if he’s president.
Biden spoke at Grace Lutheran Church near looted downtown buildings, making some of his most direct comments yet on race, Washington Post reported. He talked about how the shock of George Floyd’s death by police in Minneapolis on May 25, and the shooting that paralyzed Jacob Blake in Kenosha on Aug. 23, provided a window for a national conversation about centuries-old problems.
“We’re finally now getting to the point where we’re going to address the original sin in this country . . . slavery, and all the vestiges of it,” Biden said. “I can’t guarantee you everything gets solved in four years. But I can guarantee you one thing, it will be a whole heck of a lot better, we’ll move a lot further down the road.”
Biden spoke to Blake by phone for 15 minutes during his visit to Kenosha and met with Blake’s family and community leaders. It was a contrast to Donald Trump’s Kenosha visit earlier in the week when the president toured buildings burned after protests, accompanied by a heavy police entourage.
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“We know your leadership is all about unity, not division,” Biden told the audience. “It’s about healing. So we thank you for being here today because we know your leadership is important in Kenosha and in our country.”
Biden opposed looting and violence but also sided with the street.
“We’re in a situation now where we cannot let up,” he said. “Violence in any form is wrong. The idea that this president continues to try to divide us, gives succor to the white supremacists, talks about how there’s really good people on both sides, talks in ways that are … not only incorrect but immoral. And the one concern I have is that people are going to be so frustrated, particularly in the communities that need the help the most (that they) are going to say, ‘It’s not worth it at all. I’m not going to vote.'”
The former vice president promised not to give up.
“I promise you, win or lose, I’m going to go down fighting … for racial equality, equity across the board,” Biden said. “The country’s ready — and if they’re not, it doesn’t matter, because there are certain things I ain’t going to change. There are certain things worth losing over. And this is something worth losing over if you have to. But we’re not going to lose.”
Biden discussed his conversation with Blake.
“He talked about how nothing was going to defeat him,” Biden said. “How whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up. We talked about … the 23rd Psalm. ‘May he raise you up with eagle’s wings and bury you on the breath of dawn … And keep you and hold you in the palm of his hand until we meet again.'”
Biden told the audience he can’t really know what it feel likes to send a son or daughter out the door “and worry about just because they’re Black, they may not come back. I can’t really — I can intellectually understand it, but I can’t — I can’t feel it.”
He talked about Jacob’s mother, whom he said told Biden, “‘I’m praying for Jacob, but I’m praying for the policemen as well. I’m praying that things change.'”
And Biden talked about how he thinks the country is ready to take responsibility for the original sin of slavery.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
“I think the country is much more primed to take responsibility because they now have seen what you see,” Biden said. “There are changes that are taking place in the country … Look, this is not about me. It’s really not about me. But if we have four more years (of Trump) we’re going to have four years of the exact same thing … And the public kind of understands that now. And I think they’re so ready to do so many things. They’re either fully unaware of or aware of but never registered with them before. Or they just have seen things that they hadn’t seen before.”
Addressing the original sin of the country can be achieved if there’s the will to do so, Biden said.
“When America set its mind to something, it’s never, never, never, never, never failed. When we put our minds to and we do it together. We’ve gone through wars and pestilence, plague. We’ve gone through a lot, and we’re finally now getting to the point where we’re going to address the original sin of this country,” he said.
You can read the full transcript of Biden’s speech in Kenosha here.