Etched in marble above the chair you are sitting in is the Latin phrase ‘E Pluribus Unum,’ meaning ‘out of many, one.’ Despite our differences, the union among our respective states as a single nation expressed by this motto has endured for nearly 250 years. The principles of liberty and equality upon which our nation was conceived have not only survived but continue to flourish and expand from one generation to the next.
Many of us who are members of this body would not have been eligible to cast a vote, much less serve in Congress not so long ago. We stand here as real lies, proof that the American experiment in self-determination has been a success unlike any other in history. This triumph has been made possible by the institutions established by our founders to serve as guardrails to ensure liberty and maintain order while preventing tyranny.
Today, more than ever, those institutions are under attack by the intrusion of a woke counterculture that has taken over the Democratic Party. They condemn America as culpable rather than exceptional, and embrace socialism, a system in which government controls everything. Under the spell of these radical elements, the Democrats have unleashed a strange multiverse of madness in which reality no longer has meaning and the foundations upon which our nation was built are being turned upside down and inside out or destroyed altogether. The Left tell us to trust the science and to believe all women. Yet they can’t even define what a woman is, and that criminals are victims, and the law enforcement officers who risk their own lives every day to protect us are somehow the real perpetrators of injustice.
And now they want Washington to be the arbiter of truth. That’s right, folks. The Department of Homeland Security, which should be focused on securing our borders, is now trying to police what the Biden administration deems disinformation. Sounds like a novel idea. And by that I mean George Orwell’s novel 1984, in which the Ministry of Truth pushed state propaganda, which was the exact opposite of truth.
This attempt to control what you can and cannot say is not only an attack on our First Amendment, which guarantees the freedom of speech and the press, but an assault on truth itself. We don’t need anyone in Washington, especially Joe Biden, who is factually challenged himself, telling us how to think or what to say. That may be how things are run in socialist countries like Russia and China, but not in America: the land of the free. The Senate itself is a prime target of this effort to undermine America’s institutions by silencing opposing views. The Democrats are determined to end the Senate’s long tradition of unlimited debate that has long guaranteed all voices can be heard. Senator Schumer once said that eliminating the filibuster would be a doomsday for democracy. He then ignored his own apocalyptic warning by voting to nuke the filibuster for executive and judicial nominations.
In doing so, the Democrats minus Joe Manchin, threw away the only leverage the minority party in the Senate has to influence presidential appointments, including lifelong terms on the court. You would think they would have learned their lesson about how shortsighted that decision was, but they haven’t. Now, Senator Schumer is determined to do away with the legislative filibuster so he can push through the Democrats’ radical plan to remake America by giving Washington control of how voters select their representatives and stacking the Supreme Court with liberal justices who will legislate from the bench rather than interpret the law through the lens of the Constitution.
Democrats have long been working to discredit and undermine the independence and legitimacy of the Supreme Court. The Senate majority leader himself has publicly issued personal threats against specific justices warning that if they do not rule as he desired, they, ‘will pay the price’. And earlier this month, for the first time ever, a draft opinion of a pending case before the Supreme Court was leaked to the media.
Chief Justice John Roberts called the unprecedented breach of the court’s confidential deliberations a betrayal of the confidences of the court intended to undermine the integrity of our operations. And following the cues from the majority leader, radical activists are harassing Supreme Court justices in an effort to intimidate and influence their verdict. Folks, this madness has got to end. This woke crowd is living in an alternate universe that is devoid of reality, where our nation and those who founded it are now the enemy.
It’s all very strange because no serious study of history can look at the impact made by our great nation, especially in the last century and conclude that the world is not considerably better off as a result of the American Revolution. America led the world to end fascism, defeat communism, and counter terrorism. At home, we expanded the right to vote and ended segregation.
And there are countless brave men and women from all walks of life who have answered the call of our nation, who are stationed around the globe at this very moment, ready to sacrifice all to defend freedom and stop tyranny. Our system of self-government has lived up to and surpassed the promise of our founders to ‘form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.’
All of this will be lost if we give in to the demands of the angry, woke mob which seeks to destroy the foundations that have long guided us and held us together as one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
Editor’s note: This op/ed is adapted from U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, May 19, 2022 (watch above).