Joe Biden

Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Souls to the Polls Event

November 01, 2020

[As prepared for delivery]


It's great to see everyone.

And I want to thank Bishop Reed and Sharon Baptist Church for letting us borrow your parking lot.

Thank you DNC Vice Chair Blake for all that you do, for our party and to get out the vote.

And thank you to Congressman Evans for coming out and speaking today, and for all you do to fight for the people of Philadelphia every single day in Congress.

You know, one of the things that I enjoyed most about being back on the campaign trail was meeting with all the Black faith leaders and all churches I got to visit during the primaries.

Almost every Sunday, I'd get to sit in the pews and get inspired.

I'd talk to people, hear what was on their minds, pray with them. It was renewing for me and for our entire family.

And even though a lot of this campaign has been unlike any other campaign in history, there's still one thing that remains the same.

We have to earn our democracy. We have to get out and vote.

As our late friend John Lewis reminded us, "Freedom is not a state; it is an act."

We have to defend it. We have to vote.

And this is the most important election of any of our lifetimes, so we have to vote like never before.

Every day is a new reminder how high the stakes are — and how far the other side will go to try to suppress turnout, especially here in Philadelphia.

President Trump is terrified of what will happen in Pennsylvania.

He knows if the people of Philadelphia get to have their say, if YOU have your say, he doesn't stand a chance.

But the American people will not be silenced. Over 90 million have already voted. They've had enough.

There's too much on the line to sit out.

But we only have two more days.

In two days we can put an end to a presidency that has divided this nation.

In two days we can put an end to a presidency that has failed to protect this nation.

In two days we can put an end to a presidency that has fanned the flames of hate all across this nation.

Millions of Americans have already voted. Millions more will vote in the days ahead.

But there are still a lot of Pennsylvanians who haven't voted yet, and we need every single one of you to get out and vote on Tuesday.

My message to you is simple: Pennsylvania is critical in this election.

Last time, Donald Trump won by just 44,000 votes. Every single vote will matter.

The power to change this country is in your hands.

I don't care how hard Donald Trump tries.

There is nothing — NOTHING — that is going to stop the people of this nation from voting.

And when America votes, America will be heard.

And when America is heard, I believe the message is going to be loud and clear.

It's time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home.

We're done with the chaos. The tweets. The anger. The hate. The failure. The irresponsibility.

We've got a lot of work to do.

And if I'm elected your president, we're going to do it. We're going to act.

We're going to act to get COVID-19 under control.

On Day One of my presidency, we will put into action the plan I have been talking about for months: Masking. Social distancing. Testing. Tracing.

A plan for the full and fair and free distribution of therapeutics and the vaccine when we get one, a plan to address the disproportionate way this virus is hitting the Black community.

We're seeing race-based disparities across every aspect of this virus — higher infection rates,but lower access to testing, and a harder time quarantining safely. Lower access to quality treatment when you become infected, and tragically, higher mortality rates.

One in 1,000 Black Americans have died from COVID-19. It could be 1 in 500 by the end of the pandemic.

It's a mass casualty event in the Black community.

My public health plan will ensure that the needs of the communities that are being hit the hardest by this virus are a priority, not an afterthought.

And we're going to have a plan to get our economy back on track. Not to just get back to where we were, but to build back better.

To make sure everyone is dealt in on a full share of the American dream, to address systemic racism and build real economic opportunity and equity for the Black community.

To make it easier to start a business, or buy your first home, or to pursue education after high school without being burdened by debt.

To invest in our HBCUs that do so much to mold the Black leaders of today and tomorrow.

And we will act to deliver racial justice in America.

I see in all the protests here in Philadelphia and across the country a cry for justice.

Protesting is not burning and looting, and violence must never be tolerated. And it won't.

But the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake and Walter Wallace Jr. will not soon be forgotten.

Not by me and not by you.

They will inspire a new wave of justice in America.

And we all know this country has to come together.

We can't afford four more years of the anger and hate and division that we've seen under the President.

So I'm running as a proud Democrat — but I will govern as an American president.

I will work as hard for those who don't support me as for those who do.

Because that's the job of a president. It's a duty to care for everyone.

Our faith in our country is being tested, and our faith in God is helping us through — because of you.

Thank you for your commitment to the greatest commandment: to love our neighbors as ourselves — and for your dedication, to never grow weary of doing good.

Being with you reminds me of the Gospel hymn that inspires so many of us: "I don't feel no ways tired — I've come too far from where I started from. Nobody told me that the road would be easy; I don't believe He brought me this far to leave me."

We are not tired. The road hasn't been easy, but we've come too far to stop now.

So — please vote. And get everyone you know to vote too. We need to get every soul in Philadelphia to the polls.

Your vote is your voice. And it matters. Your voice deserves to be heard.

If you still have your absentee ballot, get it to a drop box as soon as you can.

Or you can vote on Election Day.

Just make a plan and help get out the vote. Visit "I-Will-Vote-dot-com slash PA."

I'll never forget what President Kennedy said when he promised to send us to the moon.

He said he "refused to postpone."

I refuse to postpone the incredible opportunities available to the American people.

There's nothing beyond our capacity. There's no limit to America's future.

The only thing that can tear America apart is America itself.

And that's exactly what Donald Trump has been doing from the beginning of his campaign. Dividing America.

Pitting Americans against one another based on race, gender, ethnicity, national origin. That's wrong.

That's not who we are.

Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Let's keep showing them who we are.

We choose hope over fear. Unity over division. Science over fiction. And yes, truth over lies.

So it's time to stand up and take back our democracy.

We can do this. We can be better than what we've been. We can be who we are at our best. The United States of America.

May God bless you all. May God protect our troops.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Souls to the Polls Event Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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