Today’s grand opening celebration had all the bells and whistles — a performance from former “Hamilton” cast member Sydney James Harcourt, a speech from ABC News and NPR political commentator Cokie Roberts and, of course, a keynote address by former Vice President (and Barack’s best friend) Joe Biden.
His speech was poignant and moving — covering the past, present and future of our country and how the Museum of the American Revolution serves as an important reminder that we need to “fight every damn day” for our democracy. Here are eight quotes to remember:
1. “I think it was about an idea, how to give life to a Renaissance idea that a country could actually be governed by its people, all of its people. Its wealthy people, its poor people, people who could read, couldn’t read, educated, uneducated … An idea that ordinary people could do extraordinary things given half a chance.”
2. “We initially asserted that our rights do not come from a government. They come from the mere fact we’re children of God. We exist therefore we have these rights. We need not ask anyone for any of the rights we possess.”
3. “You cannot define an American by race, religion, ethnicity. You can only define an American by an intuitive commitment to the notion that all men are created equal, endowed by their creator and guaranteed by that Constitution.”
4. “Our Constitution and our adherence to its principles are the reason why we remain the most respected, emulated, revered nation in the world, notwithstanding what you hear today from others.”
5. “Politics today is pulling us apart at the seams. It’s gotten worse. Politics has become too negative, too nasty, too petty, too personal. Partisans aren’t looked to as opponents but as enemies. We no longer just question the judgement of our opponents, we spend more time questioning their motive — a very presumptuous thing to do.”
6. “Out of one many is who the hell we are. We’re so different but so similar in our aspirations.”
7. “We lead the world by the power of our example. There’s nothing guaranteed about our democracy though. Nothing guaranteed about self-governance. There’s no guarantee that we’ll remain the greatest example of freedom and liberty and equality in the history of the world. No guarantee at all.”
8. “Folks, this is an important reminder that we need to fight every damn day to remind ourselves how we got to where we are. Don’t ever think that there is anything self-executed about democracy.”
For more information on the Museum of the American Revolution, visit: amrev.org.