Great speech! The crowd loved it. It was very inspirational.
Family Research Council
Pray Vote Stand Summit
Remarks by Vivek Ramaswamy
Strive Asset Management
Location: Regency Ballroom, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C.
Time: 8:44 p.m. EDT
Date: Friday, September 15, 2023
Superior Transcriptions LLC
VIVEK RAMASWAMY: It’s good to see you guys. It’s good to be back. Appreciate
the warm welcome.
So, listen, we’re going to have a little bit of – little bit of fun tonight. We’re not going to
get angry about this, but I’m going to take us through a little bit of an inquiry to figure out what’s
going on in our country right now.
Right now, on one hand, we see the rise of these different secular religions. We’re here
to talk about true faith, but I’m going to go somewhere else first. We see the rise of these secular
religions – what I’ll call cults – in the United States.
The first of them is a cult of racial wokeism – I wrote a book about this a few years ago –
a new cult that says your identity is based on your skin color: that if you’re Black, you’re
inherently disadvantaged; that if you’re White, you’re inherently privileged. No matter your
economic background or your upbringing, your race determines who you are and what you can
achieve in life.
Now, this is a little bit odd because that runs counter to what Martin Luther King told us
in the civil rights movement, that we wanted to be judged not on the color of our skin but on the
content of our character. You can’t believe both of those two things at once. And so it’s a little
bit of a contradiction, but you can believe them if you’re subscribing to a religious cult.
So right around the same time we see the rise of this cult of racial wokeism, we see the
rise of a different belief system. This one’s the cult of gender ideology in the United States.
This one has so many letters – LGBTQIA. They just put a little + at the end just to include the
rest of the alphabet.
This one has some interesting – and we’re not going to be angry about it, because
sometimes our anger clouds our judgment. If we want to get to the bottom of what’s going on,
we have to see it with clarity. This one says the sex of the person you’re attracted to is
hardwired on the day you’re born because it had to be in order for gay rights to be civil rights,
but now also says that your own biological sex is totally fluid over the course of your life.
Again, you can’t believe these two things at once.
And then you go even one step further. There is no gay gene, but there are two sex
chromosomes. Two X, you’re a woman. X and a Y, you’re a man, right? (Applause.) So you
can’t believe these two things at the same time if you’re applying principles of reason or logic.
But you can if you’re subscribing to a secular cult.
So you’ve got racial wokeism. You’ve got gender ideology. Then, at the same time, you
see now the rise of this third cult in the United States, the cult of the climate, that says we have to
abandon carbon emissions at all costs in the United States, even as we’re perfectly fine shifting
those same carbon emissions to places like China when they tell us it was supposedly about
And then you see the same people who are opposed to carbon emissions in the United
States are also the ones who are most opposed to nuclear energy, the greatest form of carbon-free
energy production known to mankind. These are contradictions.
So I could go on all night. We could go one secular cult after another. But that’s not my
point. My point in raising this is to ask a deeper question. What the heck is going on in our
country that we see the rise of these very different secular cults at the same time?
Here’s the answer. We’re in the middle of a national identity crisis right now. Faith,
patriotism, hard work, family – these things have disappeared. And that leaves a moral vacuum
in its wake. And when you have a black hole that runs that deep, that is when the poison fills the
I say this to you as a relatively young person doing what I’m doing now. I’m 38 years
old. I’m a millennial. I was born in 1985. I’ll tell you, speaking as a member of my generation,
what’s going on. We are hungry for a cause. We are starved for purpose and meaning and
identity at a point in our national history when the things that used to fill that void – belief in
God, belief in country, belief in self – these things have disappeared. And when you have a
black hole in your heart, that is when the poison fills the void.
Here’s the actual secret. It almost doesn’t matter what the poison is, actually. I’ve made
this mistake over the last several years. I wrote my first book, “Woke, Inc.”; wrote a second
book about victimhood culture. It’s like playing a game of Whac-a-Mole. You get the wokeism
down you here. You got the transgenderism over there. Got that down; COVIDism over here.
Got that down; climatism’s up again; globalism.
It’s an endless cycle. But do you think it’s a coincidence? Wokeism, transgenderism,
climatism, COVIDism, globalism? Depression, anxiety, fentanyl, suicide – these are symptoms
of a deeper void. As the old saying goes, if you have a hole the size of God in your heart and
God does not fill it, something else will instead. The same can be said of pledging allegiance to
the flag of this nation. Don’t pledge allegiance to the American flag. You’re going to pledge
allegiance to a different flag instead.
This stuff is scripture, book of Exodus. When the Israelites escaped from the pharaoh,
they’re lost into a desert, lost in the wilderness, yet to find the Promised Land, what do they say?
We want to go back and be ruled by the pharaoh. So you don’t bend the knee to the real thing,
you’re going to bend the knee to something.
We’re like a bunch of blind bats. That’s what I see in this country. We’re lost in our
cave, trying to figure out where we are. How does a bat figure out where it is? (Laughs.) It’s
blind. It sends out sonar signals, echolocation. It bounces off the wall of that cave and it comes
back and says, this is where I am.
We human beings, we do the same thing. We send out a signal. It bounces off of my
family, the two parents who brought me into this room, mother and father. That is true. That is
real. That means something to me. That bounces back. It says, this is where I am.
Send out a signal, it bounces off of my belief in this country that I’m a citizen of this
nation, the United States of America, not some nebulous global citizen fighting climate change –
a citizen of this nation. That is true. That is real. That means something to me. That bounces
back. It says, this is where I am.
Send out a signal, it bounces off of my faith in God. That is true. That is real. That
comes back. It says, this is where I am.
I work hard. I create something in the world. I am proud of that. Send out that signal. It
bounces back, says this where I am.
What happens when those things each disappear – we send out these signals and then
nothing comes back? That is the void. And as odd as this might sound for me to say, that is also
our opportunity – not just as conservatives, as Americans – to now step up and to fill that void
with the things that we always have.
As a young person pursuing the office that I am, it is my job and responsibility to make
faith and family and hard work and patriotism cool again, actually – I think they’re pretty cool –
for the next generation of Americans. (Applause.) You know, if you’re 19 years old – (laughs)
– if you’re 20 years old, you want to stick it to the man. (Laughs.) You want to be a hippie.
You want to be countercultural. That’s where this stuff came from in the first place. You
wanted to be woke, see systemic racism and injustice, stand up to the man. That’s where this
came from. That became the new system.
Today, you want to be countercultural, you want to be a revolutionary, you want to stick
it to the man? Try calling yourself a faith-based conservative. (Laughter, applause.) Say you
want to get married – (laughs) – to someone of the opposite sex and stay married and have
children and raise them to believe in God and pledge allegiance to the flag. Those are the
countercultural warriors of our day.
See, you ask most people my age: What does it even mean to be an American? You get
a blank stare in response. It’s like a deer in headlights. That is the question of our moment:
What does it mean to be an American today? To me, it means we believe in the ideals that set
this nation into motion 250 years ago – ideals like meritocracy and the pursuit of excellence; that
you do get ahead in this country not on the color of your skin but on the content of your character
and your contributions. That is why we will end group quota systems and affirmative action in
every area of American life. It has been a cancer on our national soul and we are done with it.
What does it mean to be an American? It means we believe in the rule of law. And I say
this as the kid of legal immigrants who came to this country through the front door. That means
– (applause) – thank you. And we should be open to true contributing legal immigrants like
them. But that also means that your first act of entering this country cannot break the law. And
that is why we are legally, morally, and ethically justified in using our own military to secure our
own southern border, and our northern border too. (Cheers, applause.) That is what it means to
stand for the rule of law. (Applause.) Thank you.
What does it mean to be an American? It means we believe in a radical dream that our
Founding Fathers had 250 years ago, a radical dream that I have as a citizen today that the people
who we elect to run the government ought to be the ones who actually run the government –
(applause) – not the managerial bureaucracy in the three-letter government agencies in this town.
So you know what? If that means that the next U.S. president can’t work for you all, the
taxpayers, for more than eight years, which I think is a good thing, then most of those federal
bureaucrats reporting in to him should not be working for the taxpayer for more than eight years
either. (Cheers, applause.) Term limits instead of civil service protections for the bureaucracy.
(Applause.) And if there are toxic, corrupted government agencies that are unreformable, that
they should no longer exist – from the FBI to the IRS to the ATF to the CDC to the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission to the U.S. Department of Education – (cheers, applause) – we will get
in there and shut them down. That is how you revive the integrity of a constitutional republic.
You see, these aren’t Black ideas or White ideas. These aren’t even Democrat ideas or
Republican ideas, not really. These are fundamentally American ideals that we fought a
revolution to secure. And I’ll tell you, there are other good people. I view them as colleagues
more than competitors in a race like the one that I’m running in now. But these are good people
who believe that the way we’re going to unite this country is through compromise; by showing
up in the middle, holding hands, sing “Kumbaya,” and move the nation forward. That’s not how
we reunite this country. The way we will reunite this country is by being uncompromising about
the ideals that unite all of us as Americans. (Applause.)
And let’s be very clear with ourselves: Those are radical ideals. That idea that you get to
speak your mind, and you do, and you do too, as long as I get to in return, that is an extreme
idea. That idea that we the people create a government that is accountable to us rather than the
other way around, that we the people sort out our differences from climate change to racial
injustice through free speech and open debate in the public square where every citizen’s voice
and vote counts equally, that is an extreme and radical idea because for most of human history it
was done the other way.
In old world Europe, they believed that we the people could not be trusted to govern
ourselves. But we said on this side of 1776, on this side of the Atlantic, in the United States of
America, we the people can handle the truth – not settled in the back of palace halls in old world
England, not in the back of BlackRock’s corner office in Manhattan today, not in the back of
three-letter government agency buildings in this town, in Washington, D.C. No, we the people
create a government that is accountable to us. (Applause.) Thank you. And – (cheers,
The thing that happened in my generation – last 10, 20, 30 years in this country – see, my
twenties weren’t that long ago. I still remember them. (Laughter.) You know, we grew up into
a generation where we were taught to celebrate our diversity and our differences, so much that
we forgot all of the ways we are really just the same as Americans. Our diversity is not our
strength; our strength is what unites us across that diversity, that set of ideals, that glue that holds
us together. Without that – think about it – we’re really just a different-looking group of two-
legged higher mammals walking some geographic space with a bunch of different shades of
melanin doing what our iPhones told us to do on a given day. That’s not a country. That’s not
America. There is more to life than the aimless passage of time. We’re bound by a set of ideals.
The reason we have a crisis of national pride in this country, the reason why we have a 25
percent recruitment deficit in our U.S. military, the reason why less than 16 percent of Gen Z
says they’re even proud to be an American, the reason why 60 – six-zero – percent of young
Americans say they would sooner give up their right to vote than to give up their access to
TikTok, the reason for that is that young people don’t value a country that we just passively
inherit; we value a country that we have a stake in creating, in building, in knowing something
That’s why I believe that every high-school senior who graduates from 12th grade should
have to pass the same civics test that every immigrant has to pass in order to become a voting
citizen of this country. (Applause.) You’ve got to have skin in the game to play in that game.
The only way we’re going to get there, though, is all of us – not just me, not just the other
speakers – all of us starting to speak openly about the truth again in this country. You want to
know how well we’re doing as a nation? I’ll tell you. The best metric for the health of our
country is not the number of ballots that get cast every November. That’s just the final act at the
end of the process. It’s not the number of green pieces of paper in our bank accounts. I’m not
saying that’s not important. It is. But it’s not the most important thing.
The best litmus test for America’s civic health is the percentage of people who feel free
to say what they actually think in public. Right now we are doing poorly, because fear has
spread like an epidemic across this country – fear of losing your jobs, fear of your kids getting a
bad grade in school, fear of ending up as a hate group on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list
if you’re a religious group in this country.
That culture of fear has spread like an epidemic. But let me tell you something. Courage
can be contagious too. It just requires more of us to actually show what courage demands. What
is courage? Yes, it means you have convictions. But it also means that you are willing to take a
risk, make a personal sacrifice to act on those convictions.
So I have one ask of everybody in this room today. Today we’re in a room of likeminded
people, likeminded patriots. That’s why we’re here. But when we go back out into that world,
to that country, when you are the only person in a room who believes what you do – maybe it’s a
parent-teacher conference; maybe it’s a board meeting; maybe it’s at the dinner table with your
kids or with your parents – when you are the only person in a room who believes what you do,
you have an obligation, now more than ever, to stand up and say it.
Say it with conviction. Say it without apology. Say it with respect. But part of respect is
respecting your neighbor enough to tell them the truth. If you care about somebody, you tell
them the truth. If you care about yourself, you tell them what they want to hear. And if you care
about thy neighbor, then you will tell them the truth.
That is what this movement is really all about, standing up for the truth, speaking the
truth, not just when it is easy but when it is hard. Say in public what we will say in private at the
dinner table. God is real. (Cheers, applause.) There are two genders. Fossil fuels are a
requirement for human prosperity. (Cheers.) Reverse racism is racism. (Applause.) An open
border is not a border. (Applause.) Parents determine the education of their children. (Cheers,
applause.) The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind. (Cheers,
applause.) Capitalism is the best system to lift us up from poverty. There are three branches of
government, not four. And the U.S. Constitution is the strongest and greatest guarantor of
freedom in human history.
That is the truth. (Applause.) We fight for the truth. (Applause.) We stand up for the
truth. (Applause.) That is what won us the American Revolution. That is what I believe will
win us the upcoming revolution of 2024.
And I will tell you one more thing about this, OK, in parting. I’m going to tell you – I’m
going to ask you all to reject the one bipartisan consensus that we still have left in this country.
That is the idea that we are a nation in decline. We’re taught to believe we’re at the end of the
ancient Roman Empire. All we have left is to fight over the scraps of a shrinking pie.
I don’t believe that we have to be ancient Rome. I don’t think we have to be a nation in
decline. I think the truth is, as a nation, we’re really just a little young, actually, going through
our own version of adolescence, figuring out who we’re really going to be when we grow up.
And when you view it that way, at least for me, it starts to make sense again. When you
go through your adolescence, you go through that identity crisis. You lose your way a little bit.
You lose your self-confidence. You forget who you really are. Many of us probably did. I did
for sure. But we are stronger for it when we get to our adulthood on the other side.
So, no, I don’t think we have to be that nation in decline. I think the truth is we are still
yet a nation in our ascent, maybe the early stages of our ascent. Maybe we’re not even yet at
base camp on our way to that mountaintop, still that shining city on a hill, still that country where
we can look our kids in the eye and tell them in good conscience and mean it that the United
States of America is the nation where no matter who you are or where you parents came from or
what your skin color is – or how long your last name is in some of our cases – (laughter) – that
you get ahead in this country with your own hard work, your own commitment, your own
dedication; and that, you know what, you are free to speak your mind at every step of the way.
That is the American dream. That is what we are running to. And that is what we, together, will
revive to save this great nation.
Thank you all. May God bless you and God bless your families. (Cheers, applause.)
And my God bless our United States of America. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you. (Cheers,