Kingston Launches Speaking Series: We Have a ‘Moral Imperative’ to Combat Division and Despair
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Kingston delivered a major campaign speech Wednesday at Carrie Nation in Boston — the first of a series outlining his vision for tackling the culture of division emanating from Washington, breaking free from tired partisan molds and delivering results for hardworking Massachusetts families.
Kingston noted there is a “prevailing sense that something in America is deeply wrong” and said there is a moral imperative for Americans to come together to confront “despair” that has led to historic drug deaths, mass shootings, low workforce participation and a broken culture in Washington.
Kingston sharply criticized politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren “who prefer division to progress, hatred to healing” and called for them to be replaced with leaders who will set “aside ego and ambition” in order “to work together to find solutions to make a real difference.”
Previewing important topics to be addressed in the speaking series, Kingston called for bold, non-partisan leadership to tackle the two scourges of the opioid epidemic and mass shootings.
Kingston said “divisive politicians like Warren prevent progress,” while outlining common-sense measures he would support as senator to tackle both crises.
Kingston said he would take the successful leadership of Gov. Charlie Baker on the opioid crisis to Washington, and push policies passed in Massachusetts on the national stage, including: “limiting prescriptions, funding more treatment centers, and promoting education.”
Kingston also announced his campaign will soon launch a $500,000 media buy through mid-July to bring his message directly to Massachusetts voters.
“I am committed to making sure the voters know where I stand, and how we can together make this happen,” Kingston said.
Remarks As Prepared for Delivery
A few short days ago, we once again witnessed a terrifying school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, where a boy walked into his school with his father’s guns and killed two teachers and eight students. Thirteen more were wounded, and, like so many others, will carry the emotional scars of that violence forever.
America is a nation in mourning, but that mourning is not confined to Santa Fe, or to Parkland, Florida. Or to the Waffle House in Nashville. Nor is it even confined to the victims of gun violence more broadly — the murders and suicides that destroy so many lives every day.
Consider this — in the last two years American life expectancy has actually declined. In the richest and most powerful nation in the history of the world — the nation with the most advanced medical technology — our life expectancy has dropped. And it has dropped in spite of the fact that more people are covered by insurance than ever before.
Deaths of despair. We have reached the point where more Americans die of drug overdoses every year than died in the entire Vietnam War. Suicides have soared in every major demographic. Alcohol deaths are on the rise.
But the fundamental issue, even beyond these premature deaths, is a prevailing sense that something in America is deeply wrong.
As one example — Anyone associated with adolescents or young adults these days knows the game has changed — the rates of treatment for depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies are off the charts.
As another — One out of seven men, aged 25-54, has opted out of the work force — a number greater than at any time in history or any place in the world. At last count, there are postings for nearly 7 million jobs nationwide, but these men remain idle, which is a tragedy for them, for their families, and for us.
Finally, focus groups consistently show that the number one issue for the American electorate, for the first time in modern history, is a sense of “chaos” or “disorder” or that “something is wrong in our country”. No surprise, they differ as to who they blame or the reasons why — but that sense cuts across all groups.
To defeat the horrible contagion of mass shootings, to confront the monumental despair behind every suicide and drug overdose, and to meet this moment where our people are deeply troubled and divided, requires total mobilization. Our cultural, business, civic, media and — yes — political leaders must rise and work together. We have a moral imperative to do so.
But our politics in Washington are broken. The left and right hate each other too much to work together. Polarization is rising, and too many politicians lack the political and moral courage to stand against that, and instead feed the hate to advance their own ambitions.
Early last year, a reporter asked General James Mattis what threats worried him most. Mattis, whose job as Secretary of Defense is to protect us from threats (which one customarily thinks of as “outside” threats), instead highlighted an internal one:
“The lack of political unity in America. The lack of a fundamental friendliness,” he said. He then went on to add, “If you lose any sense of being part of something bigger, then why should you care about your fellow man?”
His remarkable observation echoed President Lincoln’s statement, at a low point of the Civil War — “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Mattis and Lincoln express an essential truth about this great country — We can and have achieved remarkable things together, but only when we understand our commonality as Americans and work to the same ends.
No one is more optimistic about this great country than I am. We are prospering. The economy is booming. The markets are thriving. Our military and first responders assure our safety and security. I wouldn’t trade being an American at this point in history for anything. And especially an American in Massachusetts — Jobs are plentiful, with Governor Baker, the state government is in capable hands, and what about our sports teams!?! The Sox have the best record in baseball, the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl, and that great young Celtics squad made it to the Eastern Conference Finals!
But even so, we care deeply about the fact that not all Americans are enjoying these good things, and too many are left behind. And it seems that, for all, the sense of unease and fear is real. And that unease and those fears are stoked by politicians who prefer division to progress, hatred to healing.
The reason I’m running is to help change that. Our purpose in this race, the purpose of the Democratic and Independent and Republican advisers guiding this team is to unite people on all sides who are willing to put aside ego and ambition, and to work together to find solutions to make a real difference.
Let me emphasize that again — I have intentionally built a team that looks like America — Democratic and Independent and Republican, black, Asian, Latino and white, rural and urban — to bridge these divides.
With that philosophy, I have worked my entire adult life to bring people together — I’ve built relationships and launched projects across virtually every single fault line in our nation. And while I am running this campaign, my wonderful wife Jean is spearheading a project called “Uniting America”, which addresses all the biggest American problems across these political fault lines, drawing people across partisan divides to work together.
Because that’s what we need now — not more division… not more distraction. We need bridges — from our culture-makers, from our business leaders, from our civic leaders, from our media, and — yes — especially from our politicians.
But building bridges and working together are things my opponent, Elizabeth Warren, refuses to do. In her entire career as US Senator, she has voted against party majority only 14 times – in almost 1600 votes! In fact, not only won’t she reach across the aisle, she attacks even her own fellow Democrats for offering compromise.
As just one of dozens of examples, with respect to one of our deepest challenges, the opioid crisis, she claims to care for victims, but voted against the 21st Century Cures Act — one of only three Democratic Senators to do so.
We don’t have to look far for national models for working together to fight the opioid epidemic — our outstanding Governor Baker has been a national leader in the fight against addiction. But he didn’t do it alone – he worked with the Democratic-controlled Legislature to craft comprehensive solutions – including limiting prescriptions, funding more treatment centers, and promoting education.
The result? Opioid deaths have begun to decline in Massachusetts. You see — good things happen when people work together.
For Warren — ideological purity stands in the way of getting things done. A bill doesn’t go far enough, or isn’t good enough. She didn’t get what her extremist base wants.
But it shouldn’t be what she wants, or what they want — it should be what we need. Massachusetts deserves better.
I started today by reflecting on yet another tragic school shooting. It feels as though we can’t or won’t do anything, even the common-sense things the right and left agree on — because divisive politicians like Warren prevent progress. The left wants to go too far, and ban or severely limit rights of gun owners, and the right often fears each attempt at even a reasonable accommodation as a stalking horse for more intrusive regulation to come.
I am a firm supporter of the Second Amendment — a sentiment shared by the vast majority of voters in Massachusetts — but I also believe in common-sense regulation.
Let’s start with things we can do today, that both sides agree on. No one on the left or right wants a gun in the hands of someone with mental health issues — so let’s start there. Everyone — law enforcement providers, federal and state agencies, the left and right — wants the best possible background check protocols, to ensure that guns aren’t in the hands of criminals or those who suffer from mental illness.
So let’s do that for starters.
And here’s another one that the NRA and the most aggressive left agrees on — a Gun Violence Restraining Order. With proper due process (such as successful and short term restraining order regimes in California and Connecticut), everyone wins, and there are no losers.
I could go on and on, in every area that troubles us — the sum of it is, I am committed to sensible proposals that work for everyone. And it is in our team’s DNA to achieve just that.
And I am committed to making sure the voters know where I stand, and how we can together make this happen — which is why we are today announcing the launch of a $500,000 messaging campaign running through the first weeks of July.
In closing, let me say the following.
Let there be no doubt, I am serious about taking on the issues that matter, and I challenge you all to be as well. We need leadership in every area, including the media — to discuss the big subjects and solutions, instead of focusing on irrelevancies.
This campaign has offered, and I will continue to offer — a message of hope, centered on one wish — that we put aside our partisan differences and seek to better ourselves, our commonwealth, and our nation.
You see, we are at our best when we work it out. We are at our worst when we fight it out.
Elizabeth Warren is committed to fighting. I am committed to working.
And I am committed to working for the voters of Massachusetts, and for the citizens of this great country.