America is amid a national identity crisis, and the solution is not a “national divorce,” as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., called for, but a “national revival,” Vivek Ramaswamy said in his Friday speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.
“We have celebrated our diversity in our differences so much that we forgot all the ways we’re the same,” Ramaswamy said. “Diversity is not our strength. Our strength is what unifies us across our diversity.”
After the death of George Floyd, Ramaswamy—then CEO of Roivant Sciences—said he had to choose to “speak through the filter of corporate self-interest” by making a statement in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement or to speak freely as a citizen. Though prominent advisers in his company resigned, Ramaswamy decided not to make a statement in which he did not believe.
He wrote “Woke, Inc.” and “Nation of Victims” and began traveling the country to call out the “woke-industrial complex.” Ramaswamy co-founded Strive Asset Management as an alternative to BlackRock and the environmental, social, and governance movement.
But the biopharmaceutical entrepreneur said he is “not one of these people that’s running on a biography.”
“Just because I built successful businesses means I know how to run the country,” Ramaswamy told The Daily Signal in an interview Friday night. “That’s not a qualification to run the country.”
The 2024 hopeful said America has fallen to three secular religions—race theory, gender ideology, and climate alarmism. He criticized the notion that identity is based on skin color.
“It’s a really clever move in this religion, which is that if your race goes from being about your skin color to being about the content of the ideas you’re allowed to espouse, then any disagreement with those ideas automatically makes you a racist,” he said. “And there is no greater damnation in modern America than to be called a racist.”
He said the climate movement is more about power than the environment.
“It is about power, dominion, control, punishments, and apologizing for what we have achieved in this country in the modern West as we know it,” he said.
In light of these secular religions, Ramaswamy said America is searching for meaning.
“We’re hungry to be part of something bigger than ourselves, yet we cannot even answer the question of what it means to be an American today,” he said. “This is an opportunity for the conservative movement to rise to the occasion and fill that void with a vision of American national identity that runs so deep that it dilutes this woke poison to irrelevance.”
An “America-first conservative,” Ramaswamy promised to put America first by rediscovering what being an American means.
“It means you believe in merit, that you get ahead in this country, not on the color of your skin, but on the content of your character and your contributions,” he said.
As a result, the entrepreneur promised to eliminate affirmative action, which he called a “national cancer” on America’s soul. He also pledged to shut down the managerial state and the FBI, which he said hurts members of both political parties.
America needs to end its co-dependent relationship with China, Ramaswamy added.
“Being an American in 1776 means you believe in the Declaration of Independence,” he said. “The Declaration of Independence of today is our declaration of independence from China.”
“And I think it is finally time to say we are done with relying on an enemy to power our modern way of life,” he continued.
The unapologetic pursuit of excellence characterizes America, Ramaswamy said. He said ideals of merit, free speech, open debate, and self-governance are fundamental to what it means to be an American.
“We’re not gonna get national unity when somebody shows up with a proverbial bill, saying that ‘can’t we all hold hands … come along Kumbaya’—that ship has sailed a long time ago,” he said. “You get national security in this country by embracing the extremism, the radicalism of the ideals that set this nation into motion 250 years ago.”
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