The Corner

Politics & Policy

Senator Scott’s Home Run

Sen. Tim Scott speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, in 2014. (Brian Frank/Reuters)

I’d recommend that everyone read Senator Tim Scott’s rebuttal to President Biden’s address last night. A few highlights below.

Is America still upwardly mobile? Senator Scott’s own journey is an argument in favor.

Growing up, I never dreamed I would be standing here tonight. When I was a kid, my parents divorced. My mother, my brother and I moved in with my grandparents. Three of us, sharing one bedroom. I was disillusioned and angry, and I nearly failed out of school. But I was blessed.

First, with a praying momma. And let me say this: To the single mothers out there, who are working their tails off, working hard, trying to make ends meet, wondering if it’s worth it? You can bet it is. God bless your amazing effort on the part of your kids.

I was also blessed by a Chick-fil-A operator, John Moniz. And finally, with a string of opportunities that are only possible here in America.

Senator Scott offered a powerful argument for expanding school choice based on the terrible and damaging decisions of so many public schools to keep their doors closed for far too long during the pandemic.

Most of all, I’m saddened that millions of kids have lost a year of learning when they could not afford to lose a single day. Locking vulnerable kids out of the classroom is locking adults out of their future. Our public schools should have reopened months ago. Other countries’ did. Private and religious schools did.

Science has shown for months that schools are safe. But too often, powerful grown-ups set science aside. And kids like me were left behind. The clearest case I’ve seen for school choice in our lifetime is because we know that education is the closest thing to magic in America.

And the senator offered a powerful critique of the president’s family policies, arguing that they are designed to support parents who want to use commercial childcare, and offer much less for families who have decided other arrangements are best.

Tonight, we also heard about a so-called family plan. Even more taxing, even more spending, to put Washington even more in the middle of your life — from the cradle to college. The beauty of the American dream is that families get to define it for themselves.

We should be expanding opportunities and options for all families — not throwing money at certain issues because Democrats think they know best.

Senator Scott spent several paragraphs on the charged issue of race. That entire section is worth reading. It’s too long to quote here. But in these paragraphs he captures the way those of us who aren’t on the extremes of this debate feel: The U.S. still has a long way to go on race relations. “I know firsthand,” says Scott, “our healing is not finished.” At the same time:

When America comes together, we’ve made tremendous progress. But powerful forces want to pull us apart. A hundred years ago, kids in classrooms were taught the color of their skin was their most important characteristic. And if they looked a certain way, they were inferior.

Today, kids again are being taught that the color of their skin defines them, and if they look a certain way, they’re an oppressor. From colleges to corporations to our culture, people are making money and gaining power by pretending we haven’t made any progress at all, by doubling down on the divisions we’ve worked so hard to heal.

To be sure, this was a political speech. Parts were overly partisan for my taste, and I don’t agree with all the senator’s conclusions. But he showed real, unifying leadership on the national stage at a time when that is desperately needed from the political right. Bravo.


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