Jeff Flake’s full speech announcing he won’t run for re-election

(As prepared for delivery)

Mister. President, I rise today to deal with a matter that has been much upon my mind, at a moment in order to seems that our democracy is more described by our discord and the dysfunction than it is by our own values and our principles. Allow me to begin by noting a somewhat apparent point that these offices that we keep are not ours to hold indefinitely. We have been not here simply to mark period. Sustained incumbency is certainly not the purpose of seeking office. And occasionally we must risk our careers in support of our principles.

It must also become said that I rise today without small measure of regret. Regret, due to the state of our disunion, regret due to the disrepair and destructiveness of our national politics, regret because of the indecency of our talk, regret because of the coarseness of our management, regret for the compromise of our meaning authority, and by our — our — complicity in this alarming plus dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the undesirable to end.
Within this century, a new phrase has joined the language to describe the accommodation of the new and undesirable order — that phrase being “the brand new normal. ” But we must never ever adjust to the present coarseness of our nationwide dialogue — with the tone established at the top.

We must never ever regard as “normal” the regular plus casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our own country – the personal attacks, the particular threats against principles, freedoms, plus institutions, the flagrant disregard designed for truth or decency, the careless provocations, most often for the pettiest and many personal reasons, reasons having absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes from the people that we have all been elected in order to serve.

    Sen. Flake announces he won’t operate in 2018 (full)

None of these types of appalling features of our current national politics should ever be regarded as regular. We must never allow ourselves in order to lapse into thinking that this is only the way things are now. If we merely become inured to this condition, convinced that this is just politics as usual, after that heaven help us. Without anxiety about the consequences, and without consideration of the guidelines of what is politically safe or even palatable, we must stop pretending which the degradation of our politics and the perform of some in our executive department are normal. They are not normal.
Reckless, crazy, and undignified behavior has become forgiven and countenanced as “telling this like it is, ” when it is in fact just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.
So when such behavior emanates from the top of our own government, it is something else: It is harmful to a democracy. Such behavior will not project strength — because our own strength comes from our values. This instead projects a corruption from the spirit, and weakness.
It is often said that youngsters are watching. Well, they are. And what are usually we going to do about that? Once the next generation asks us, Why did not you do something? Why didn’t a person speak up? — what are all of us going to say?
Mr. President, I increase today to say: Enough. We must devote ourselves to making sure that the anomalous never becomes normal. With regard and humility, I must say that we now have fooled ourselves for long enough that the pivot to governing is right nearby, a return to civility and balance right behind it. We know better than that. Presently, we all know better than that.
Here, today, I remain to say that we would better assist the country and better fulfill the obligations under the constitution by sticking with our Article 1 “old normal” — Mr. Madison’s doctrine from the separation of powers. This guru innovation which affirms Madison’s standing as a true visionary and for which usually Madison argued in Federalist fifty-one — held that the equal twigs of our government would balance plus counteract each other when necessary. “Ambition counteracts ambition, ” he had written.
But what goes on if ambition fails to counteract end goal? What happens if stability fails to claim itself in the face of chaos and lack of stability? If decency fails to call out there indecency? Were the shoe around the other foot, would we Conservatives meekly accept such behavior displayed from dominant Democrats? Of course not really, and we would be wrong if we do.
Whenever we remain silent and fail to action when we know that that silence plus inaction is the wrong thing to do — because of political considerations, because we would make enemies, because we might give up the base, because we might provoke an initial challenge, because ad infinitum, advertisement nauseum — when we succumb to the people considerations in spite of what should be higher considerations and imperatives in protection of the institutions of our liberty, after that we dishonor our principles plus forsake our obligations. Those things is much more important than politics.
Now, I am aware that will more politically savvy people compared to I caution against such speak. I am aware that a segment of the party believes that anything in short supply of complete and unquestioning loyalty to some president who belongs to my celebration is unacceptable and suspect.
If I were critical, it not because We relish criticizing the behavior of the chief executive of the United States. If I have been critical, for the reason that I believe that it is my obligation to do this, as a matter of duty plus conscience. The notion that one should remain silent as the norms and beliefs that keep America strong are usually undermined and as the alliances plus agreements that ensure the balance of the entire world are routinely endangered by the level of thought that goes into a hundred and forty characters – the notion that one ought to say and do nothing in the face of this kind of mercurial behavior is ahistoric and, In my opinion, profoundly misguided.
A Republican president called Roosevelt had this to say in regards to the president and a citizen’s relationship towards the office:
“The President is merely the most important among a lot of public servants. He should be backed or opposed exactly to the diploma which is warranted by his great conduct or bad conduct, their efficiency or inefficiency in making loyal, able, and disinterested assistance to the nation as a whole. Therefore , it really is absolutely necessary that there should be full freedom to tell the truth about his acts, which means that it is exactly as necessary to fault him when he does incorrect as to praise him when he or she does right. Any other attitude within an American citizen is both foundation and servile. ” President Roosevelt continued. “To announce that there should be no criticism of the President, or even that we are to stand by the particular President, right or wrong, is not just unpatriotic and servile, but is definitely morally treasonable to the American general public. ”
Acting on conscience and principle could be the manner in which we express our meaning selves, and as such, loyalty to mind and principle should supersede dedication to any man or party. Everyone can be forgiven for failing for the reason that measure from time to time. I certainly place myself at the top of the list of those who also fall short in that regard. I am holier-than-none. But too often, we rush to not salvage principle but to reduce and excuse our failures to ensure that we might accommodate them and proceed right on failing— until the accommodation by itself becomes our principle.
In that way and with time, we can justify almost any behavior plus sacrifice almost any principle. I’m scared that is where we now find yourself.
If a leader correctly identifies real harm and insecurity in our country plus instead of addressing it goes searching for somebody to blame, there is perhaps absolutely nothing more devastating to a pluralistic modern society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to begin in assigning blame is to very first look somewhat closer to home. Management knows where the buck stops. Humbleness helps. Character counts. Leadership will not knowingly encourage or feed unpleasant and debased appetites in all of us.
Management lives by the American creed: Electronic Pluribus Unum. From many, a single. American leadership looks to the world, and as Lincoln did, sees your family of man. Humanity is not the zero-sum game. When we have been on our most prosperous, we have recently been at our most principled. So when we do well, the rest of the world furthermore does well.
These articles of civic belief have been central to the American identification for as long as we have all been alive. These are our birthright and our responsibility. We must guard them jealously, plus pass them on for as long as the particular calendar has days. To betray them, or to be unserious within their defense is a betrayal of the basic obligations of American leadership. And also to behave as if they don’t matter is actually not who we are.
Now, the effectiveness of American leadership around the globe comes into question. When the United States surfaced from World War II we contributed about 50 % of the world’s economic activity. It might have been easy to secure our prominence, keeping the countries that had been conquered or greatly weakened during the battle in their place. We didn’t accomplish that. It would have been easy to focus back to the inside. We resisted those impulses. Rather, we financed reconstruction of broken countries and created international companies and institutions that have helped offer security and foster prosperity all over the world for more than 70 years.
Now, it seems that we all, the architects of this visionary rules-based world order that has brought a lot freedom and prosperity, are the types most eager to abandon it.
The ramifications of this abandonment are profound. As well as the beneficiaries of this rather radical reduction in the American approach to the world would be the ideological enemies of our values. Despotism loves a vacuum. And our allies are now looking elsewhere for management. Why are they doing this? None of this is regular. And what do we as United states of america Senators have to say about it?
The principles that will underlie our politics, the ideals of our founding, are too vital to the identity and to our survival to enable them to be compromised by the requirements associated with politics. Because politics can make all of us silent when we should speak, plus silence can equal complicity.
I have kids and grandchildren to answer to, therefore, Mr. President, I will not be complicit.
You will find decided that I will be better in a position to represent the people of Arizona and also to better serve my country plus my conscience by freeing personally from the political considerations that eat far too much bandwidth and might cause me to compromise too many principles.
To that particular end, I am announcing today that will my service in the Senate may conclude at the end of my term at the begining of January 2019.
It is clear at this moment that the traditional conservative who believes within limited government and free marketplaces, who is devoted to free trade, plus who is pro-immigration, has a narrower plus narrower path to nomination in the His party party — the party that will for so long has defined alone by belief in those things. Additionally it is clear to me for the moment we now have given in or given up on those people core principles in favor of the more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment. To become clear, the anger and bitterness that the people feel at the regal mess we have created are validated. But anger and resentment aren’t a governing philosophy.
There is an undeniable strength to a populist appeal — yet mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our complications and giving in to the impulse in order to scapegoat and belittle threatens to show us into a fearful, backward-looking individuals. In the case of the Republican party, those activities also threaten to turn us in to a fearful, backward-looking minority party.
We were not produced great as a country by partaking or even exalting our worst urges, turning against ourselves, glorying within the things which divide us, plus calling fake things true plus true things fake. And we failed to become the beacon of freedom within the darkest corners of the world by flouting our own institutions and failing to understand precisely how hard-won and vulnerable they are.
This mean will eventually break. That is the belief. We will return to ourselves once again, and I say the sooner the better. Mainly because to have a heathy government we must have got healthy and functioning parties. We should respect each other again in an environment of shared facts and contributed values, comity and good trust. We must argue our positions fervently, and never be afraid to compromise. We should assume the best of our fellow guy, and always look for the good. Till that days comes, we must become unafraid to stand up and talk out as if our country depends upon it. Because it does.
I plan to invest the remaining fourteen months of our senate term doing just that.
Mr. Leader, the graveyard is full of essential men and women — none of us the following is indispensable. Nor were even the excellent figures from history who toiled at these very desks in this particular very chamber to shape this particular country that we have inherited. What is essential are the values that they consecrated within Philadelphia and in this place, ideals which have endured and will endure meant for so long as men and women wish to remain totally free. What is indispensable is what we perform here in defense of those values. The political career doesn’t mean a lot if we are complicit in undermining those values.
I thank my co-workers for indulging me here these days, and will close by borrowing the words associated with President Lincoln, who knew read more about healing enmity and preserving our own founding values than any other United states who has ever lived. His words and phrases from his first inaugural had been a prayer in his time, and they are no less so in ours:
“We are not foes, but friends. We must not be foes. Though passion may have strained, this must not break our bonds associated with affection. The mystic chords associated with memory will swell when once again touched, as surely they will be, from the better angels of our nature. inch
Thank you, Mister. President. I yield the floor.