Warning: This post contains spoilers from Sunday’s Madam Secretary premiere.
When is President Dalton done with his term again? Because we’re ready to vote Madam Secretary‘s Elizabeth McCord into the Oval Office right now.
The Secretary of State had to address her country in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on the White House that took place in Sunday’s Season 5 premiere. So she consulted with three of her predecessors — Gen. Colin Powell, Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton — about what she should say. And then, armed with their sage counsel, she gave a speech that both decried nationalism as “a perversion of patriotism” and asked Americans to “find the beauty in our differences instead of the fear.”
Elizabeth’s remarks were inspiring. They were motivating. And they were so kickass, we thought you might like to see them again.
Below is the text of the scene, which involved dignitaries from India and Pakistan signing a memorandum of understanding regarding nuclear weapons. Beneath it is the video of the moment itself, which CBS released Monday via social media. Scroll down and press PLAY to get a dose of smart, serious speechwriting, then hit the comments with your thoughts.
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ELIZABETH: “Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you Prime Minister Khatri, Prime Minister Wadeyla. Your courage and determination have made humankind safer from the second-greatest threat it faces. What is an even greater threat than nuclear weapons? That which makes the use of them possible: hate. Specifically, the blind hatred one group or nation can have for another. That is why I am convinced that nationalism is the existential threat of our time.
“Now I want to be clear. Nationalism is not the same as patriotism. It’s a perversion of patriotism. Nationalism, the belief system held by those who attacked us, promotes the idea that inclusion and diversity represent weakness, that the only way to succeed is to give blind allegiance to the supremacy of one race over all others. Nothing could be less American. Patriotism, on the other hand, is about building each other up and embracing our diversity as the source of our nation’s strength. “We the people” means all the people. America’s heroes didn’t die for race or region. They died for the ideals enshrined in our Constitution. Above all, freedom from tyranny, which requires our unwavering support of a free press; freedom of religion, all religions; the right to vote, and making sure nothing infringes on any of those rights, which belong to us all. Look where isolationism has gotten us in the past. Two world wars. Seventy million dead. Never again can we go back to those dark times when fear and hatred, like a contagion, infected the world. That, as much as ending the threat of nuclear war, is what today is about.
“And it is why we must never lose sight of our common humanity, our common values and our common decency. I was reminded recently of our nation’s founding motto, E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. Thirteen disparate colonies became one country. One people. And today, we call on all Americans and people everywhere to reject the scourge of nationalism. Because governments can’t legislate tolerance or eradicate hate. That’s why each one of us has to find the beauty in our differences instead of the fear. Listen instead of reacting. Reach out instead of recoiling. It’s up to us. All of us. Thank you.”