by Kathie England

Our Greatest Existential Threat

The Season 5 Premier of Madam Secretary concluded with an amazing speech by Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord played by Téa Leoni.
I share excerpts from her speech for this month’s blog.
“…What is an even greater threat than nuclear weapons? That which makes the use of them possible: hate. Specifically, the blind hatred one group or nation can have for another. That is why I am convinced that nationalism is the existential threat of our time.”
“… Nationalism is not the same as patriotism. It’s a perversion of patriotism. Nationalism… promotes the idea that inclusion and diversity represent weakness, that the only way to succeed is to give blind allegiance to the supremacy of one race over all others. Nothing could be less American.”
“…Patriotism…is about building each other up and embracing our diversity as the source of our nation’s strength. ‘We the people’ means all the people. America’s heroes didn’t die for race or region. They died for the ideals enshrined in our Constitution:

Above all, freedom from tyranny, which requires our unwavering support of a free press; freedom of religion, all religions; the right to vote, and making sure nothing infringes on any of those rights, which belong to us all.”

“Look where isolationism has gotten us in the past. Two world wars. Seventy million dead. Never again can we go back to those dark times when fear and hatred, like a contagion, infected the world.”
“… We must never lose sight of our common humanity, our common values and our common decency…we call on all Americans and people everywhere to reject the scourge of nationalism. Because governments can’t legislate tolerance or eradicate hate.”
“That’s why each one of us has to find the beauty in our differences instead of the fear. Listen instead of reacting. Reach out instead of recoiling. It’s up to us. All of us.”
Though this goal is far larger than one small step, I share the words of John Lewis to provide perspective. “Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month or a year. It is the struggle of a lifetime.”

One important step each of us can take is to vote on November 6!

Here is the link to Secretary McCord’s speech