Madison Cawthorn’s full speech at the Republican National Convention

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Madison Cawthorn, Republican nominee for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, spoke on the third night of the Republican National Convention on August 26, 2020.


Good evening. I’m Madison Cawthorn and I’m running to represent North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. This is a time of great adversity for our country and I know something about adversity. At 18 years old, I was in a horrific car accident that’s left me paralyzed from the waist down. Instantly, my hopes and dreams were seemingly destroyed. I was given a 1% chance of surviving but thanks to the power of prayer, a very loving community and many skilled doctors, I made it. It took me over a year to recover. My first public outing in a wheelchair was to a professional baseball game. Before my accident I was 6’3″, I stood out in a crowd, but as I wheeled through the stadium, I felt invisible. At 20, I thought about giving up. However, I knew I could still make a difference and my accident has given me new eyes to see and new ears to hear. God protected my mind and my ability to speak, so I say to people who feel forgotten, ignored and invisible, I see you. I hear you.

At 20, I made a choice. In 2020 our country has a choice. We can give up on the American ideal or we can work together to make our imperfect union more perfect. I choose to fight for the future, to seize the high ground and retake the shining city on a hill. While the radical left wants to dismantle, defund and destroy, Republicans, under President Trump’s leadership want to rebuild, restore and renew. I just turned 25. When I’m elected this November, I’ll be the youngest member of Congress in over –

When I’m elected this November, I’ll be the youngest member of Congress in over 200 years. And if you don’t think young people can change the world, then you just don’t know american history. George Washington was 21 when he received his first military commission. Abe Lincoln, 22 when he first ran for office. And my personal favorite, James Madison was just 25 years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence. In times of peril, young people have stepped up and saved this country abroad and at home. We held the line, scaled the cliffs, crossed oceans, liberated camps and cracked codes. Yet today, political forces want to usher in the digital dark ages, a time of information without wisdom, and tribalism without truth. National leaders on the left have normalized emotion-based voting and a radicalized identity politics that rejects Martin Luther King’s dream. MLK’s dream is our dream, for all Americans to be judged solely on their character. Millions of people risk their lives every year to come here because they believe in the dream of MLK and the American dream.

Join us as we, the party of freedom, double down on ensuring the American dream for all people. We are committed to building a new town square. It welcomes all ideas and all people. Here, we will have freedom of speech, not freedom from speech. To liberals, I say, “Let’s have a conversation. Be a true liberal, listen to other ideas and let the best ones prevail.” And to Conservatives, I say, “Let’s define what we support and win the argument in areas like healthcare and on the environment.” In this new town square, you don’t have to apologize for your beliefs or cower to a mob. You can kneel before God, but stand for our flag. The American idea my ancestors fought for during the revolutionary war is just as exciting and revolutionary today as it was 250 years ago. I say to Americans who love our country, young and old, “Be a radical for freedom, be a radical for liberty and be a radical for our republic for which I stand. One nation under God with liberty and justice for all.”

Thank you, and may God bless America.

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