Michigan Republican Senate candidate John James dazzled a packed audience at CPAC in Washington, D.C., on Saturday as he told his story of how the American dream enabled his family to go from being slaves to him running for U.S. Senate.
“We must show them an America where the son of a slave can become a sharecropper, the son of a sharecropper can become a mason, the son of a mason can become a truck driver, and the son of that truck driver can stand before you here today on the brink of becoming Michigan’s first black U.S. Senator,” James said toward the end of his speech.
The crowd immediately started cheering “USA! USA! USA!”
In America, the son of a slave
⬆️can become a Sharecropper.
the son of a Sharecropper
⬆️can become a Mason.
the son of a Mason
⬆️can become a Truck Driver.
— John James (@JohnJamesMI) February 29, 2020
Transcript of Michigan Republican Senate candidate John James’ speech at CPAC:
My name is John James and I’d like to begin by telling you a story. This story is about a little boy who was born in Starkville, Mississippi in 1941. He lived directly across the street from Mississippi State University, born in 1941, but he couldn’t go there because he is black. Despite growing up in the worst economic inequality and institutional racism that the country has ever known, he refused to allow his vulnerability to become victimhood. He never allowed dependency to become his destiny. He paid his way through college. He served honorably in Vietnam. He moved to Detroit and in 1971 started a trucking company with one truck, one trailer and no excuses – hauling beer back and forth between Detroit and Milwaukee. For the better part of the next decade, he fought government regulation, all the way to the Supreme Court, for the right to compete. He worked. He evolved, until he was able to provide a life for his family that was previously unimaginable. He grew an idea into a $35 million dollar company automotive supplier before a “change of management” in 2012.
That little boy is my father. My father, like so many others who’ve immigrated from all over the world and from the Jim Crow south for better opportunities never asked for free stuff, they only asked for a fair shot.
I am not standing here on this stage because of socialism. I am standing here because free enterprise and free will and because self-determination works.
When I was a little boy, I was taught to use my blessings to be a blessing to others. To take something good and make it greater. I started by leaving home in Detroit and attending West Point, becoming a ranger qualified Apache pilot and flying 750 combat hours in operation Iraqi freedom. I returned home from the war to an auto industry in turmoil, a city in bankruptcy and helped to grow that $35 million in revenue family business into a $137 million company, in under five years. I got married, earned a couple masters degrees, and made a few little boys – John is 6, Hudson is about to turn 5 and Christian just turned 1.
When I look at my three sons, I am reminded every day that we live in the greatest country on the planet and, like America, our stories didn’t begin with us.
I am the walking result of the American dream and I believe that the American dream is worth fighting for. I believe the American dream is worth sacrificing for. A few of my classmates gave their lives for it. We, all of us, must be willing to continue their fight, so that all people have an opportunity, a chance at the American Dream. It’s what makes America so exceptional.
150 years ago, Lincoln warned us: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, if we lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
A century later, Reagan warned us: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. Freedom is not something we pass onto our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
Tonight, in South Carolina, there will be a primary where some Democrat candidates who have been talking about how to con a generation into embracing socialism.
In 2020, we must remember that Lincoln didn’t fight the civil war to beat the South. He, and his party, the Republican Party, stood up to end the physical bondage of black people and to keep this country together. This election is not about beating Bernie. This election is about freeing those in socio-economic bondage in our cities and winning back a generation that is turning to socialism on our campuses.
Listen closely, listen very closely, because I want to be clear, crystal clear… do not underestimate the appeal of socialism for those whom the status quo has failed. For the American Dream to prevail, for us to defeat socialism, for us to save a generation: we can’t just say that socialism sucks and assume that people will follow us. Stuck Americans don’t want socialism, they just want the pain to stop but it’s up to us to offer a remedy that works:
We must show them an America where a child’s outcome isn’t determined by the zip code they’re born in. Where a good education is attainable and hard work truly does get you ahead.
We must show them an America that protects our communities from tyrants without leaving our children vulnerable to terrorists.
We must show them an America where a woman, has better choices than life or death. Where an accident or an illness doesn’t leave a family in financial ruin.
We must show them an America where the son of a slave can become a sharecropper, the son of a sharecropper can become a mason, the son of a mason can become a truck driver and the son of that truck driver can stand before you here today on the brink of becoming Michigan’s first black U.S. Senator.
You show me where in the world you can go from slave to senator in four generations and from poverty to prosperity in one and I’ll show you the United States of America. I’ll show you the American Dream!
We must counter the socialist movement of envy and confiscation with a conservative movement of access and opportunity. We must show this generation that free will and free enterprise benefits each of us without sacrificing compassion and conscientiousness for all of us. We must become disciples of the American Dream and share the good news, unafraid, with those who are being seduced by lies. That’s how we win. That’s how America wins.
Lincoln showed us how to stand up to oppression and hold a nation together by sheer force of will. Reagan showed us how to defeat Marxist ideology without firing a shot. President Trump dares us to be great while continuing to tear down barriers and increase access to the American Dream for the forgotten, in every corner of this Nation.
But he’s not done and America’s most definitely not done. We have a long way to go and the President needs you. I need you. Most importantly… a generation on the verge of socialism needs you.
The hour is at hand, ladies and gentleman and fellow patriots. And by the grace of God and your hard work, freedom will not end with us, the American Dream will not end with us… We’re just getting started.