Vivek Ramaswamy offered a vision of hope and optimism Saturday at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Spring Supper. Ramaswamy, who said he is the first millennial to run for President as a Republican, said people his age — and perhaps all people in America — are hungry for a cause.
“We’re hungry for purpose. We’re hungry for meaning,” he said. “We’re at a point in our national history when the things that used to fill that hunger — faith, patriotism, hard work, family — these things have disappeared. That leaves a moral vacuum in its wake. That is what allows poison to fill the void.”
He compared Americans today to blind bats flying around a cave sending a sonar signal but not hearing anything bounce back.
“That’s why we’re lost,” he said. “The Left preys on that vacuum and fills the void with their vision — race, gender, sexuality, climate.”
Conservatives, he said, must not just shoot that down, but also offer a vision of their own.
“We don’t say race, gender, climate, sexual orientation,” he said. “We have a different vision — God, country, family, and yes, the individual and hard work. That is what it means to be an American.”
America needs to return to the ideals that set the country into motion, he said. Ramaswamy called for a return to meritocracy, which is why he’ll end affirmative action. He called for a return to self-governance, which is why he said he’ll shut down the administrative state, starting with the Department of Education. A return to the rule of law, which is why he said he’d use the military to secure the border.
“This is what it means to be an American,” he said. “And after we rediscover that, then nobody’s going to stop us.”
After spending two decades celebrating our diversity and differences, Americans have forgotten all the ways we are really the same, he said.
“Our diversity is not our strength. Our strength is what unites us across our diversity,” he added.
Ramaswamy attacked ESG efforts by the government, which has not been able to get its “progressive agenda” through the front door. Instead, the government is deputizing private companies to do it through the backdoor.
“They’re using your money, our money, to do it,” he said. “They’re using $20 trillion of our money to force American companies to adopt racial equity programs and emissions caps that most of us would disagree with, that cause us to make less money and actually suck the air out of a constitutional republic where we’re supposed to settle those differences through the political process.”
That “trick” only works is there is a culture willing to buy what they’re selling. And that is why America is in the midst of a “national identity crisis.”
“There’s an opportunity to rediscover who we really are,” he said. “That’s why I made this decision. I think we’re going to do it.”
The younger generation, Ramaswamy said, has a moral hunger that cannot be satisfied by a cup of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with some “social justice sprinkled” on top.
“You can’t satisfy that moral hunger with fast food, it’s not working,” he said. “God should not be a four-letter word in our culture. When you have a hole the size of God in your heart, when God does not fill that, something else will instead. And that is what’s happening with wokeism and transgenderism and climateism and COVID-ism. We’re hungering for the real thing.”
Ramaswamy said Republicans must go to their opponents’ turf — whether it’s a liberal news network or progressive college campus — and explain to people what it is to be conservative and religious.
He said he’s running for President to help his son’s generation.
“If I had been born 20 years later, I don’t think my story of living the American Dream the way I have, I don’t think it would have been possible,” he said. “Not in the same way. Because I would have been taught to think of myself as a victim. I’ve encountered hardship, probably most of us in this room have too. Hardship is not the same thing as victimhood. I think young people in this country need to learn that. Hardship is part of what helps us discover who we really are. Hardship happens to you, victimhood is a choice. And I think once young people see that, they’re going to feel empowered to say that yes, this country is worth standing up for.”