Notable speech: Senator Tim Scott

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, January 15th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: resolving to choose unity over division.

Last week, Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa sparked outrage with comments he made in a New York Times interview. King said, and I’m quoting here—“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?”

EICHER: King later tried to walk those comments back, saying he did not support racist ideology.

But he’s made similar statements before and some of his fellow Republicans have had enough.

Yesterday the House Republican Steering Committee elected not to assign King to any committees in the 116th Congress. That strips him of the seats he held on the Judiciary, Agriculture, and Small Business panels.

REICHARD: On Friday, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina said the GOP will continue to be labeled the party of racists as long as comments like King’s go unaddressed. Writing in the Washington Post, the African-American Republican urged members of both parties to reject extremists.

During a speech on the Senate floor, Scott laid out a New Year’s resolution for the nation. Its focus? Civility, fairness, and opportunity. Here are excerpts.

SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Mr. President, each new year brings with it a range of different emotions. We look back on what we have accomplished in the last year, what we hope to achieve in the year to come, and think of ways we can better ourselves.

Some of our objectives may include eating just a little less. For me, that means eating a little less sour cream pound cake or sweet potato pie, which is something I can completely control, and I am trying.

As a nation, though, we need to look at some goals for the new year that will help us move forward together—goals that may be a little tougher and require all of us to work together. While we may have some uncomfortable conversations—and we will—we must recognize that at the end of the day, we are family, both inside our homes and as Americans, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

As we look to 2019, I am hopeful we can take three lessons and carry them forward. Those who follow me know I have focused my time in the Senate on an opportunity agenda that focuses on helping people rise from poverty in distressed communities, helping folks who are living paycheck to paycheck to experience the greatness that is, in fact, the American dream, and I will continue to focus on those issues in 2019, but you will also hear from me in 2019 what I believe are some missing keys to American progress. Those keys are civility, fairness, and opportunity.

Too often too many seem too focused on saying whatever they want to say and saying it more loudly, without any concern for the actual content. We need to return to civility, where the other side isn’t evil or a traitor or trying to destroy our country, but they simply have a different vision for how to achieve success.

Second, sometimes we struggle to make sure our loved ones, especially our kids around Christmastime, are treated fairly. So as they open their presents, we want to make sure everyone has a chance to play with everything. This is what we call trying to be fair. As a parent—or in my case as the giver of cool gifts—we want to make sure the kids are being fair with their siblings as they play with the new toys. There is something in each and every one of us that yearns for fairness, but too often, when we leave the comfort of those mornings, we tend to want more for ourselves than we want for others. We want people to treat us in a way that gives us the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes we don’t want to give it in return. Being fair means first seeking to understand before being understood.

Finally, opportunity. I want to look back at a Christmas tradition in my hometown of North Charleston, a place where we see amazing things happen around the Christmas holidays. We see police officers, firefighters, and community volunteers coming together about 6 a.m. on Christmas morning to go knock on doors, where they know definitively there are kids without Christmas trees, much less Christmas presents. These police officers, firefighters, and community volunteers join hands and raise a ton of dollars and bring presents to the doors. Anyone who has experienced this, as I have, cannot fully describe the joy on a child’s face, the emotion and the tears of happiness for someone who didn’t expect a single thing for the holidays, because opportunity is just not about ourselves and our families. While we certainly strive to be successful, the true meaning of the Christmas and the holiday season lies in what we do for others.

For Congress, that means everything we do–everything we do–should be with an eye toward improving the lives of all Americans. For folks at home, remember, there are folks in your community that are less fortunate. This became the greatest nation on earth because of our hearts and our minds, the hearts and minds of the American people, the power and endurance of the American dream, and the graciousness and strength of the American spirit; in other words, American exceptionalism. Civility, fairness, and opportunity: three words that can help our nation heal and move us forward toward a better future.

My hope this year is that we will take some time to think about what each of us can do to further these goals. Resolutions are good. Being resolute in our mission to strengthen our nation is great.

(Photo/Associated Press)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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