[‘Hail to the Chief’ intro]
From the White House in Washington D.C., we present a special address from the President of the United States: Renee S. Hensley.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.
My fellow Americans.
The holidays are a time for family and friends - for re-affirming the bonds that hold us together. When I ran for President, I did so because I believed in the ideals that hold our republic together. I believe that the story of America is a story where we are all striving for a more perfect union.
But in order to make a better world, we have to be candid about our failures as a nation. Because the story of America is also the story of failing to live our ideals. America’s story is soaked in blood, and war, and broken treaties. America’s story is about stolen land and stolen generations. America’s story is the story of masters and slaves; America bore Samuel Cartwright and Frederick Douglass. In our history we have both the promise of equality and freedom, as well as the shadow of oppression and tyranny.
Which brings me to why I wanted to speak to you tonight.
We are all familiar with the Black Friday phenomenon. There is no known cause or pattern for the phenomenon other than it repeats every Friday.
Before his sudden death, Senator Harris of Westsylvania introduced a bill to respond to the phenomenon. This bill, the Harris Act, passed in Congress, and was presented to me for signature. I vetoed the legislation.
Tonight I want to explain why.
Supporters of the bill say that, it is aimed at protecting public health and ensuring public safety. But this is simply not true.
The Harris Act would give states the power to restrict your movement if you are affected by Black Friday. Under the Harris Act, states can quarantine individuals indefinitely. Under the Harris Act, if you have been affected by Black Friday you will be denied admission into the United States. Under the Harris Act, you have to carry a literal badge of inferiority after you transform - an ID card that clearly identifies your were changed by Black Friday.
Supporters of the ID provision claim it will help law enforcement track down fugitives. But they also produce no evidence to support this claim. These are just some of the provisions I objected to. Alone they are reason enough for any President to veto a bill.
The Harris Act also does one last insidious thing. It proposes spending ten billion dollars over the next decade to investigate the phenomenon and, if possible, find a cure.
Now, what could possibly be wrong with that?
First, the money comes from slashing spending that helps the most vulnerable among us. This means cuts to food subsidies, national insurance, and the national pre-k program - all priorities long neglected until my administration. This bill is a multi-billion dollar handout to the richest corporations in the world.
Second, as dramatic as the Black Friday transformation seems, the scientific and medical consensus is that the phenomenon poses no risk to anyone. Black Friday is not caused by a pathogen or infection. It is not contagious. It is not dangerous to you, or anyone affected by it. The change is, quite literally, only skin deep. To believe that Black Friday is a sickness, or a condition that needs to be treated is to believe the same 19th century racist pseudoscience that Samuel Cartwright believed. Racist pseudoscience belongs in the trash heap of history and my administration will do nothing to dig it back up.
I want to be clear. There are no differences between races. Differences between us only exist when we create them in our minds and enforce them in our laws; in our history books; in our institutions. We have struggled to accept this truth for two hundred years.
Therefore, as your President, I could not sign this bill.
I believe it is unconstitutional. I believe it betrays our most basic principles of equality before the law. Most of all, I believe it is dangerous - especially given our history of racist oppression. This bill revives and gives legitimacy to pseudoscientific racist theories that have long been discredited. And it does so for the benefit of a few well-moneyed corporations.
If we do this, we risk going back to a dark time in our nation’s history that was only resolved by a bloody civil war.
We do this at our peril.
The Black Friday phenomenon proves just how human we all are. The phenomenon makes no monsters. The Harris Act is proposing to spend ten billion dollars to dispute this simple fact and, I believe, that is wrong.
I am aware that Congress will very likely override my veto in the coming weeks. And so, I have instructed Attorney General Newman to review the law and be ready to challenge its constitutionality in the courts.
As long as I am President, I will not stand by and let this threat to our way of life go unchallenged.
The question before us is simple - does American justice, American liberty, and American law protect us all?
I believe that it does.
I believe that it must.
Otherwise … we are lost.
Thank you, and good night.