Pompeo speech on -In Defense of the American Rights Tradition-

September 13, 2019

good morning everyone how y’all doing good good it’s great to be back here in Kansas and to quote the famous phrase there is literally no place like home before I get started I noticed that the student body president and Vice President are both engineers you should know that was my undergraduate degree so you may who knows right before I get started to president Myers went through many of this English guests I want to let you know how much I appreciate the opportunity to be here to have the high privilege to give speech as part of the Landon lecture series as something that I will always cherish I appreciate this opportunity thank you president Myers and your team for making this happen today and I also want to make sure and recognize the Landon lecture series supporters perhaps most importantly former senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker you have demonstrated your commitment to public service in ways that are important in noble and continuing and thank you for that I know – we have many other distinguished guests as Myers mentioned a whole group of folks I think Suzanne Estes tessera husband Ron couldn’t be here serving the same constituents I did back in south central Kansas thank you for being here today thanks to all the state elected officials I understand that the mayor pro tempore who’s ready is here and that Mike Dotson the mayor of the city of Manhattan is here as well as well as win Butler a city of Manhattan commissioner I can tell you I know how tough it is to lead and those local levels bless you all for taking on that important service to America I have tough days I know you do too I now I know because I spend a little bit of time at the United Nations I know that that other Manhattan thinks it’s the center of America but I am confident that this place has a much better claim to that than that other city on the East Coast this is really the true heartland it’s great to be back here in this university k-state itself has such a noble history as the first land grant University you can tie your roots directly back to the statute that Abraham Lincoln performed he signed into law back in 1862 this law that created these university even as the Civil War was raging you know I’ll talk about this a little bit more today but that effort says something about America doesn’t it that even as our nation’s leaders we’re trying to figure out how to keep this great nation together they were creating opportunities for citizens to study and to learn and this is the legacy that you hear at k-state carry on today you know it’s just one of the things that makes America so great so special so unique in human history I was a few weeks back in Indianapolis speaking to the American Legion in Indianapolis and I said I said you know America and Americanism is something that we’ve got to be proud of I think sometimes some of us take things for granted our glorious history shouldn’t be revised it should be revered and the truest expression of that reverence it’s the safeguard and live by the principles but which this country was founded and those people who forged this unique place that’s why I’m here today I I want to talk about how proud of the American tradition I am every time I travel around the world why we must recover a proper understanding of that history at America’s special place in the world that that tradition that American tradition begins with a set of unalienable rights our nation’s founding created them they’re the beating heart of who we are as an American body today and as Americans the Declaration of Independence laid it out pretty clearly it said and you will all know this I know all of you who have studied at multiple times especially you young people sitting way in the back says we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights and that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that to secure these rights governments were instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the government in other words these are rights that were endowed upon us by our Creator they’re part of our nation our nation is and they’re part of who we are as Americans as human beings they are independent of anything our government does and the purpose of government indeed is to protect those unalienable rights and I must say as I traveled the world there can be no nobler cause just as profoundly that declaration says that all men and it meant all human beings are created equal these these rights weren’t unique to us as Americans we were simply the first nation with the vision to organize around them with a national mission that was to honor those very rights these fundamental rights and of course we all know fight we have we fought the Revolutionary War against our good friends now in the United Kingdom or having a great time we fought a civil war to hold our nation together indeed in the decade before K State’s founding in the eighth 50s bleeding Kansas had just been established as a territory fueled by the promise of popular sovereignty pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers alike were flooding in often violently clashing this brewing fight over slavery was in essence a fight over unalienable rights and the people of Kansas knew this deeply in 1858 George Washington Brown an abolitionist newspaper editor from Lawrence said no party of men can be guilty of Greater inconsistency or absurdity than those who deny the axiomatic truth asserted in the Equality and available rights of all men John Speer a bit later the abolitionist center of the Kansas pioneer said that the American government was originally based upon the principle of the universality of freedom and the Declaration of Independence was and an emphatic and succinct declaration that all men are indeed created equal and that entitled to certain on a liberal rights as a result of their human dignity and then in commenting on the declarations affirmation about label rights Lincoln said that the founders meant to set up a standard a standard maxim for free society which should be familiar to all and revered by all that fight has continued we are an imperfect nation to be sure but we’re lucky we have inalienable rights as our foundation as our North Star so I now serve as America’s 70th Secretary of State I know our tradition and respect for an a liberal rights hasn’t just shaped us as a nation it shaped how we think about America’s place in the world as well and it sets our foreign policy unable rights are at the core of who we are as Americans we have poor violations of these rights whenever and wherever they’re encountered that’s why I always speak out on behalf of the people of Iran of Venezuela of China and people of all other nationalities who do not have the benefit that we have they deserve their god-given freedoms just as much as we do American diplomats have always had this as one of their core causes and the stories are long but I’ll tell just a couple after World War two the world looked to America to take the tradition of unalienable rights which came to be called human rights beyond our shores in 1948 thanks to our leadership the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a document inspired by our Constitution’s Bill of Rights and we need to remember this was the first time ever it was the first time ever that American led nations to set a standard for how government should treat their people we even fought to protect unedible rights of the people inhabiting nations we had just defeated we’ve done this repeatedly this wasn’t American imperialism but rather it was American mercy and grace we knew it was right for them as well and right for us since then we’ve achieved great victories the fall of the Soviet Union the end of apartheid the founding of democracies and that also cherish and protect people’s on ailable rights in many parts of the world I lead an organization of some 70,000 people our mission is to promote and foster these unable rights so that they will abound that they’ll be everywhere we have an entire Bureau devoted to no task other than that one every year I’d ask you to go take a look at this every year we prepare a compendium our diplomats produce an exhaustive report of every human rights violation around the world it becomes the encyclopedia for all other governments to see and you should know we spare no one we called them like we see them no other country does that and just like we did decades after World War two and then in the Cold War American diplomats still helped set the standard for unalienable rights all around the world we demonstrate our leadership this is an effort where I am enormously proud of the team I am so privileged to lead but today I wanted to share with you that we sometimes take things for granted here in America don’t become complacent we can’t we owe it to all Americans stop hold this noble tradition of American leadership to secure rights here at home and abroad there are many places where this is an uphill battle today frankly our children aren’t taught about the central role of unalienable rights in our schools in the way that they must be I’ve seen the media try and rewrite our history as an unrelenting tale of racism and misogyny not as a bold but imperfect nation an experiment in freedom we need to do that our politicians too from time to time and frame pet causes as rights to bypass the normal process by which political ends are achieved and we’ve blurred the distinction between fundamental universal rights and mere political preferences or priorities international institutions have moved away from these core tenants as well one reason excuse me one research group founded between the United Nations and the Council of European of Europe there are combined 64 human rights related agreements in 1377 provisions but this is an imperfect analogy but the 13th ice cream cone didn’t as good as the first one was and with respect to any liberal rights we we need to know that more per se is not always better we have to protect those things that are at the core at the center that are foundational because when rights proliferate we risk losing focus on those core unalienable rights the ones that we would give everything for and many of our brothers and sisters have done just that and frankly there’s far too little agreement anymore on what an inalienable right truly is just because a treaty or a law or some writing says it’s a right it doesn’t make it an inalienable right remember where these rights came from this confusion this confusion has opened the door for countless countries that don’t share a respect for human rights to use corrupt understandings of this notion to achieve their evil ends let me give you just one example over the past two years in Shenzhen China it’s a province in the western part of China China has tried to brainwash coming on 1 million wigger Muslims in internment camps has tried to get them to renounce their culture and their faith the Chinese Communist Party claims that the camps are meant to educate and to save people that have been influenced by religious extremism and thus they make the claim that they’re trying to protect those individuals human rights nothing could be further from the truth indeed last year the UN Human Rights Council at Beijing’s urging adopted a resolution that called for nations to work together to promote mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights it emphasized genuine dialogue and cooperation based on mutual respect this was sadly coded language for repressive regimes to establish a code of silence about their massive human rights violations those that rival the worst human rights violations from our past century only one country only one country on the Human Rights Council voted against China’s resolution proudly that was the United States of America clearly we must reclaim this tradition we must reclaim the tradition of unable rights from deliberate misunderstanding and indeed from cynical abuse it’s a task that’s complex and difficult and time-consuming and I do not claim to have all the answers but we got to get it right this past May I impaneled a group that I have entitled the Commission on a naval rights at the State Department he is to achieve a couple of ends the commission includes human rights experts philosophers activists Republicans Democrats liberals independents people of all varied backgrounds and walks of life and from varied religious beliefs the Commission’s work the Commission’s work will be deeply grounded deeply grounded in our founding principles it must always be so we we know this we know that if we don’t get the understanding of Rights as our founders understood them correct these set of enviable freedoms rooted in our nature given by God for people at all times we will wander away from them and America American security in America’s place in the world will be diminished so the Commission’s mission is to uphold America’s noble tradition of unable rights in this world that often violates them this is how we encourage to growth in societies societies that honor their people and their promise to them this is how we foster Liberty that least sustainable prosperities and opportunities for Americans individuals businesses so that we can level the playing field around the world this too is how we build ties it’s how we build ties with countries that cooperate with us on our important national security objectives these kind of efforts – they’re the efforts that build on what made America great they build on Americanism I hope you will stay tuned as this commission does its important work as I conclude today it would be a betrayal of the American Founding and our character to declare a government panel our nation’s authoritative voice on human rights remember – the Universal Declaration was spearheaded by an American woman Eleanor Roosevelt she once said quote we’re after all do human rights begin they begin in small places places close to home all Americans have a responsibility to make sure that their rights are honored in our places of worship in our workplaces and yes on our college campuses too if we do that we’ll be doing what we’ve done since our founding let me take you back to Bleeding Kansas July 4th 1855 the anti-slavery newspaper the New York Tribune noticed the conflict happening here called for an end to slavery the systemic denigration of unalienable rights that was spurning violence they wrote we hope and pray that every citizen who hears the Declaration of Independence read this day will resolved that the 4th of July of 1856 shall find the policy of the nation were stored to the immortal principles with which it set out on the 4th of July back in 1776 you know today we take a lot for granted here in America but we are the heirs to an immortal principle we inherit a tradition of unalienable rights that has made our nation the greatest in recorded history and has blessed many other nations and many other peoples too we have a responsibility we have a responsibility to protect that a duty and to promote it and to get it right here at home and to get it right abroad as well it’s what I’m trying to do is president Trump’s Secretary of State I hope you all will join me in this important and noble cause thank you you

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