Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) announced his candidacy for the President of the United States on Monday at Charleston Southern University in North Charleston, South Carolina to a huge crowd. Scott combined great energy with a fresh format to lay out why he was running for president and why you should join him on the journey.
Senator John Thune (R-SD) opened the gathering and laid out his endorsement of Scott’s candidacy, as well as Senator Scott’s legislative accomplishments, declaring: “I don’t know about you, but I think our country is ready to be inspired again.”
Thune then opened with a prayer that was heartfelt, serious, and sobering.
After the usual beginnings of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the National Anthem, the rally took a turn for the unique, incorporating the future of America in its presentation. A 12-year-old blonde girl named Heather Lynn articulately laid out her friendship and endorsement of Senator Tim Scott, and it was like a breath of fresh air. Young Heather Lynn led her speech by discussing Scott’s faith, laying out the Senator’s life scripture of Philippians 2:3-4.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Then Scott’s nephew, Ben Scott III, introduced the senator. It was a bold and brilliant move to have Millennials and Generation Z speak on Scott’s behalf, and it will be a game changer in how the other campaigns approach their rallies and appearances. Scott III attested to Senator Scott’s deep insight, his love of people not only in seeing them, but in taking the time to get to know them, and then never forgetting them after that: “All the education in the world cannot teach you to do what he does.”
I have covered Sen. Tim Scott a great deal, and have written about the eloquence, honesty, and gravity of his speeches. However, even I found myself surprised and impressed by this announcement speech. In a race that is already looking packed, Scott did the job of distinguishing himself, presenting distinctions that will separate him from the present frontrunner contenders: former President Donald J. Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
That’s not an easy thing to do. Scott also fulfilled the cardinal rule of a good politician—he was not BORING and he didn’t have to try at authenticity or likeability—he has represented that in his 10 years as a United States senator. What you see is what you get.
Scott dived right in with joy and enthusiasm, speaking about his love of America and what makes America great.
Our greatness doesn’t come from politicians. It doesn’t come from the government. It comes from We the People. WE the People!
Scott said that when he thought of American greatness, he had to start with his favorite American: “my amazing mother.” Scott brought his mother on stage, her beautifully fashioned in a yellow blouse with pearls and a yellow-flowered skirt, and he told her that he loved her, then thanked her for her hard work and dedication and for believing in him when no one else did. In our current cultural climate that is trying to erase women and their accomplishments, especially birthing and raising quality and productive men, this had to have garnered him consideration and possibly votes from the Mama Bears in the nation.
When you think about the miracle of America, it always comes down to someone who loves unconditionally, who goes the extra mile. Who is tough as nails, and who puts it all on the line. And for me, it’s my mom.
Scott then reinforced the importance of mentors. He named many of them by name, but specifically called out the late John Moniz for the pivotal role he had in shaping Scott when he was a young man.
For those of you who wonder if it’s possible for a broken kid from a broken home to rise above their circumstances, the answer is ‘YES.’ For those of you who wonder if America is a racist country, take a look at how people come together. All of God’s people come together! Black ones, and white ones, the red ones, and the brown ones. Working together. Because love, unconditional love, binds hearts together.
We are not defined by the color of our skin, we are defined by the content of our character, and if anyone tells you anything different, they’re lying!
Scott then presented bouquets to his mother, and to John Moniz’s widow Janice, because he wanted to honor the two women “who made this possible.” This was a clear affirmation of Scott’s character as spoken about by his nephew and little Heather Lynn.
We live in the land of opportunity. We live in the land where a kid raised in poverty, in a single parent household, in a small apartment can one day serve in the people’s house. And maybe, even, one day… the White House.
This is the greatest nation on God’s green earth.
Scott has told his origin story many times, and it is no less inspirational and powerful each time he tells it. Scott reached back to his grandfather, who came of age in the Jim Crow South, to point out not America’s flaws, but America’s exceptionalism.
My grandfather lived long enough to watch his grandson pick a seat in Congress. That’s the evolution of the country that we live in. My family went from cotton to Congress in his lifetime. And it was only possible because my grandfather had a stubborn Faith. Faith in God, Faith in Himself, and Faith in what America would be. He looked beyond the pain of his present, and he saw the promise of his future. That Black man, who struggled through the Jim Crow South, believed then, what some doubt now: In the goodness of America.
Scott reinforced the words his grandfather said to him that transformed his perspective.
Son, you can be bitter, or you can be better. But you can’t be both. You see, he chose patriotism over pity. He focused on the windshield of his life, and not on the rearview mirror. And today, I’m living proof that America is the land of opportunity and not a land of oppression.
Then Scott brought it home, weaving his American story, with the story of the people of America, building an immediate relatability. No amorphous tag lines like “Hope” and “Change,” and no theoretical posturing or highbrow policy. Scott’s story is a real story that relates to the real lives of Americans. This was another way that Scott further distinguished himself from the other candidates.
But you see, this isn’t just my story. It’s all of our story. The circumstances and situations may be different. The details may change. But every single one of us are here because of the American journey. Where there are obstacles who became opportunity, and our pain revealed our purpose.
Scott moved into how Biden and his policies have weakened America and the American Dream, and how his presidency will reverse this course,
The good news is all we need to do is turn around.
And Scott undergirded all this with his love for this country and his love for the American people.
I love America. She’s done too much for me. Our nation, our values, and our people are strong—but our president is weak.
Scott even encountered a dead microphone which cut his audio off for a period. But he was affable and nonplussed, continuing speaking to the crowd while mics were changed out, and then carrying on with a message. As Scott rounded out his speech, he echoed back to President Ronald Reagan and America as a city on a hill. It was a message about America’s hope and not its failures.
Just like “Make America Great Again,” Tim Scott’s two campaign slogans will resonate and stick, whether he achieves the Republican nomination or not. Scott asked the audience, will you choose,
VICTIMHOOD or VICTORY?
GRIEVANCE or GREATNESS?
Another way Scott set himself apart is that he offered a challenge and an invitation for Americans to join him on the journey.
I CHOOSE FREEDOM, AND HOPE, AND OPPORTUNITY! Will you choose it with me?
Will you join me as messengers of hope?
Scott ended with “Let’s Go!” and declared:
I believe, the next American Century starts today.