Joe Biden calls for unity and racial justice at Gettysburg speech

The Democratic presidential nominee says there could be both support for racial justice and law enforcement in his Gettysburg address.

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Joe Biden gave a speech in Gettysburg today, underscoring the need for unity and decried the false choice between affirming the lives of Black people and supporting law enforcement.

The Democratic nominee gave his speech in the swing state of Pennsylvania and from the Gettysburg battlefield which was the turning point of the Civil War. That was “a battle for a soul of the nation,” Biden declared of the war fought 150 years ago. He tied that moment in time to the current turbulent ones.

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“There’s no more fitting place than here today in Gettysburg to talk about the cost of division,” Biden said. “And how much it has cost America, in the past, but how much it is costing us now. And about why I believe at this moment, we must come together as a nation.”

“Today once again we are a house divided,” Biden continued, recalling the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War. “But that, my friends, can no longer be. We are facing too many crises, we have too much work to do, we have too bright a future to have it shipwrecked on the shoals of anger and hate and division.”

He called upon Americans to come together as one nation.

“We need to revive the spirit of bipartisanship in this country,” he said.

He also welcomed disagreement if it meant finding a way past the current divisions.

“You don’t have to agree with me on everything, or even on most things, to see that we’re experiencing today is neither good nor normal,” he said.

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During the 22-minute speech, the former vice president denounced white supremacy and assured that he’d “provide for the common good” if elected. He maintained there is “no place for hate in America.”

Biden even invoked the words of NBA basketball coach Doc Rivers who mused “It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back,” over the summer.

“I believe in law and order. I have never supported defunding of police but I also believe injustice is real. It’s a product of a history that goes back 400 years, the moment when Black men, women, and children were first brought here in chains. I do not believe we have to choose between law and order and racial justice in America. We can have both,” Biden said.

“This is a nation strong enough to both honestly face systemic racism and strong enough to provide safe streets for our families and small businesses that too often bear the brunt of this looting and burning. We have no need for armed militias roaming the streets, and we should have no tolerance for extremist white supremacy groups menacing our communities. If you say we should trust America’s law enforcement authorities to do the job, as I do, then let them do their job without extremist groups acting as vigilantes.”

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