South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem on Wednesday spoke during on the third night of the 2020 Republican National Convention. She appealed to American exceptionalism and the foundational rights every American enjoys.
Noem argued that our founding principles are under attack.
Read the transcript below:
Good evening, I’m Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota.
I’m here tonight because I believe America is an exceptional nation founded on three principles – equality, freedom, and opportunity.
But today, our founding principles are under attack.
This year, the choice for Americans is between a man who values these ideals and all that can be built because of them / and a man who isn’t guided by these ideals and coincidentally, has built nothing.
Remember, America’s battle for independence and fight for self-governance was something that had never been done before. Men of great intellect and wisdom like James Madison / the Father of our Constitution / hoped our constitutional republic would last for ages, mitigate the problems that would naturally arise from political factions, and prevent tyranny.
Our Constitution gave only a few, narrowly defined powers to the federal government. Most powers were left to the states, so that those closest to the people could decide the laws that would govern their activities.
Madison also authored much of the Bill of Rights because he understood the natural tendency of government to increasingly encroach on the people’s consent and thus our freedom. He urged his colleagues to adopt these amendments to enshrine in our Constitution the ideals laid out in the Declaration of Independence:
- That all power comes from the people; and
- That government is created and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people.
Our Constitution guarantees:
- The right to speak, to assemble, and to worship;
- The right to arm ourselves as a counterbalance to a standing army; and
- The right to a fair and equitable criminal justice system.
We must fight to protect these foundational rights from government interference and indifference.
America is unique in the world. Government’s power at all levels is limited to the confines of our Constitution, which protects our God-given liberties and civil rights. We are not – and will not – be the subjects of an elite class of so-called experts. We the people are the government.
At times, our country has struggled to live up to our founding principles. Another great American, Abraham Lincoln, knew that struggle better than anybody.
When he was just 28 years old, Honest Abe saw wild and furious passions, “worse than savage mobs,” he said, taking the place of reasoned judgment. He was alarmed by the increasing disregard for the rule of law throughout the country.
He was concerned for the people who had seen their property destroyed, their families attacked, and their lives threatened or even taken away. These good people were becoming tired of, and disgusted with, a government that offered them no protection.
It took 244 years to build this great nation – flaws and all – but we stand to lose it in a tiny fraction of that time if we continue down the path taken by the Democrats and their radical supporters.
From Seattle and Portland to Washington and New York, Democrat-run cities across this country are being overrun by violent mobs. The violence is rampant. There’s looting, chaos, destruction, and murder. People that can afford to flee have fled. But the people that can’t – good, hard-working Americans – are left to fend for themselves.
The Republican Party’s commitment to individual rights and self-government is as necessary today as it was in 1860 when we won our first presidential election.
Our party respects individuals based on who they are. We don’t divide people based on their beliefs or their roots. We don’t shun people who think for themselves. We respect everyone equally under the Constitution and treat them as Martin Luther King, Jr. wished, according to the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
In just four years, President Trump has lifted people of all races and backgrounds out of poverty. He shrunk government and put money back into the pockets of hardworking, ordinary Americans. He has advanced religious liberty and protected the Second Amendment. You can look back 50 years, and you won’t find anyone that has surpassed President Trump’s success on these four issues alone.
President Trump places the American people, American liberty, American security, and the American Constitution before all else. He honors the fact that the American people provide the “consent of the governed” on which legitimate government depends.
History chooses its heroes for the time in which they live. At our founding, Madison was one of the chosen. When the nation’s very existence was challenged it was Lincoln’s turn. Thanks to these men, America is a land of hope. Their examples have been repeated in countless ways by simple Americans following their consciences. But, there is another American hero to be recognized. That is the common American. This is who President Trump is fighting for. He’s fighting for you.