Kamala Harris photo

Remarks by the Vice President at a Campaign Reception in Los Angeles, California

April 16, 2024

THE VICE PRESIDENT: (Inaudible.) Everyone, sit down. Sit down. Hi. Hi.

Oh, this feels so formal. (Laughter.) I'm just going to stand here.

Sybil and Matthew, I — first of all, I just want to thank you guys for hosting us, but for everything that you do for our country and our world, really. And I just — I so enjoy speaking with you about a range of topics. And now we're going to talk about high-speed Internet also. (Laughter.)

High-speed Internet is really — it's a big deal. It's actually a big deal. And I'm going to get into other issues. But, you know, I think that the pandemic in so many ways was obviously something that caused an extraordinary amount of suffering — right? — extraordinary loss of life; people lost their jobs; they lost their sense of normalcy; children lost, you know, very significant phases of their education. And the pandemic in — in some ways was also an accelerator around some things we do need to get on with and do and embrace, including technology. Right?

So — but what it did is it highlighted those — the number of people who don't have access to critical technology. And it also facilitated the use of technology for those who had it in a way that we had been encouraging, such as telemedicine.

But, I'll — you know, I — when I — back in the day, I was campaigning in South Carolina — in rural South Carolina. It was back in 2019. And I was — I'll never forget. It was a day after I went to church with all these ladies, and then we did an event and everyone was in their finery. And it was in a rural area of South Carolina, and I was talking about education — something that I know we all care about and have talked about.

And I talked about the upside-down school day — this new way of doing education where we give kids a tablet to take home for the relatively passive part of the education, which is hearing the lecture from the teacher, and then we send them to sch- — the class the next day to do homework with the teacher, which, of course, can then address issues like a parent who's working two or three jobs and can't do homework with their kids or a parent who may not have graduated high school even or English is a second language, but why should that kid suffer — right? — because the resources aren't there? Upside-down school day.

And I'm very excited about it, and I've been talking about it for years. And I'm in rural South Carolina talking about it — and blank stares, like nothing. I'm getting nothing from anybody in this room. (Laughter.) And then I realized — and I could have just — I was so upset with myself — they don't have high-speed Internet out there.

So, this idea — this smart idea I'm coming in with — (laughter) — right? — about the tablet and the upside-down school day, it doesn't connect with their reality.

And so, what we have done is — one of the things of our accomplishments is that we are now on track to establish for every family in America that they will have access to and be able to afford high-speed Internet, and it's going to be a game changer, whether it be telemedicine, whether it be —

You know, one of the things that we've been talking a lot about — and I've been spending a lot of time with young people, particularly Gen Z, who I love. I — I — you know, I know if you have them in your life, it's complicated. (Laughter.) But — but about mental health, you know, this younger generation really will talk about mental health.

But one of the great things about telemedicine and mental health treatment is this isn't — nobody has to see you walk into the "crazy house" to get treatment. Right? You don't have to run into this person at the grocery store. This can be somebody who lives 3,000 miles away, and technology will facilitate that kind of treatment that otherwise people did not have access to.

So, high-speed Internet: one of our biggest accomplishments that may be invisible to a lot of people, but for a lot of people, it's going to be a game changer.

You know, my husband, Doug — he's so very funny. He's like, "Honey, you know, the problem that we have in this reelect is that our list of accomplishments — like a CVS receipt." (Laughter.) You know, the thing just goes on and on and on. And we have to condense it and bring it, you know, down to maybe three or five things that people can process, but there's so much.

But with that, I'll just say this. We're going to win this election. We are going to win this election. We've got a ton of good material, in terms of accomplishments, that directly impact real people in a very significant way, in a way that they feel as well as understand.

And the stakes could not be higher. You know, we all have been a part of these campaigns. Every four — we're perennials, right? And every time, we said, "This is the most important election of our lifetime." This is the most important election of our lifetime.

I mean, we literally are at a point where we are making a decision about what the trajectory of our country will be for generations to come.

We were talking about — I was sharing with these guys that I recently saw, at the state dinner, the Prime Minister of — of Japan, Kishida. And now, as Vice President, I have met with, my team tells me, over 150 world leaders — presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings.

My last three international trips were Munich Security Conference, Dubai for COP28, and the UK. Rishi Sunak invited me to come, and I presented on the future of the safety of AI.

In any event, having now met many of these world leaders multiple times to the point that we are on a first-name basis, these last three trips, to a one, they came up to me, "Kamala, I hope you guys are going to be okay." And when they present that point, it is purely out of self-interest.

You know, sometimes I think about and — and hope that we, as the American people, fully understand the significance of our country to the world. You know, we do, in terms of a sense of patriotism about the flag and about — you know, there's a certain righteous bravado that we have about who we are. But I really do hope we fully understand how significant we are to the world — flawed though we may be, imperfect though we certainly are.

But the outcome of this election will have implications that are, without any question, global and — and profound. And we are going to win. And everything is at stake.

And one of the things that I think we all know and you all know, which is why you keep just doing what you are doing to be so supportive and actively supportive and engaged is — you know, when we talk about fighting for our democracy — and when I am traveling, which I'm traveling practically every day and will be through November — 203 days to go, if anyone wants to know — (laughter) — I talk about our democracy, and usually, the language I use is more about freedoms.

But on the subject of our democracy, you know, there's a duality to the nature of democracy, I think. On the one hand, incredible strength when a democracy is intact — what it does to uplift and defend and protect the rights of its people — right? — the freedoms, the liberty of its people, what — incredible strength. And it is very fragile. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it.

And so, fight we must. And fight we do. And when we fight, we win. And that's it. (Applause.)

Kamala Harris, Remarks by the Vice President at a Campaign Reception in Los Angeles, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/371253

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