America Is in a National Identity Crisis: Vivek Ramaswamy

Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, the first millennial ever to run for U.S. President, believes that the country is experiencing a national identity crisis and aims to lead the nation out of it, drawing inspiration from Ronald Reagan’s leadership in 1980. His solution: present an alternative vision of America that counters the “woke agenda.”

A revival of civic pride, purpose, and significance among young individuals, according to Ramaswamy, constitutes a critical requirement for the country’s future.

“I am running to lead this country, as Reagan did in 1980, out of our last national identity crisis. That is what I aim to do in 2024,” he said in a recent interview on EpochTV’s American Thought Leaders.

“I don’t think we’re going to get to the next level by just pointing out the poison,” the 37-year-old Republican primary candidate said.

Ramaswamy aims to fill what he calls “the vacuum at the heart of our national soul” with a vision of American national identity “so deep that it dilutes the woke agenda, the woke poison, to irrelevance.”

In one of his more controversial proposals, Ramaswamy would introduce a constitutional amendment that raises the voting age to 25. However, he would extend exemptions for those who have served in the military, the police or a first responder role, or have successfully completed a civics test akin to the one taken by immigrants seeking naturalization.

“I got a lot of pushback on this,” Ramaswamy said. “I’ve still yet to hear a good reason why it’s a bad idea for an 18 year-old to know something about the Constitution before they vote … Or even if they don’t know that, then at least to have served the country.”

His underlying rationale is that such a measure would cultivate a better-informed electorate and engender a heightened sense of ownership and responsibility among young voters. Ramaswamy candidly acknowledged the resistance he has encountered with this proposal, yet he underlined the necessity for ambitious ideas to reestablish civic identity.

Weaponization of the Executive Branch

On the topic of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Ramaswamy called out “cultural rot” within the agency and advocated for its dismantlement.

“I will shut down the FBI. And I know that sounds extreme to some. It’s not extreme. It’s actually grounded in pragmatism.”

He perceives the FBI as a corrupted and vaguely defined institution, fostering an environment prone to abuses of power.

“You create an actual institution that has a nebulously defined purpose. What … you get is it’s seizing power unto itself,” he said.

In his view, many of the agency’s functions could be more efficiently carried out by the Department of Justice, provided necessary reforms are implemented. Notably, Ramaswamy accentuated the need to enact cultural reforms within the Department of Justice itself and address issues of corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency.

“When you have a managerial class that actually runs the show, it drains the lifeblood out of the three-branch system of constitutional self-governance that set this whole American ballgame into motion.”

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
From left to right: Suspended FBI special agent Garret O’Boyle, former FBI agent Steve Friend, and suspended FBI agent Marcus Allen during a hearing in Washington on May 18, 2023.  The whistleblowers testified about alleged FBI weaponization. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Ramaswamy connected the abandonment of the rule of law by federal agencies like the FBI with broader societal challenges such as escalating crime and the ongoing immigration crisis at the southern border. When agencies at the federal level disregard the rule of law, he argued, it sets a precedent that permeates society and erodes citizens’ faith in the legal system.

Stressing the interconnected nature of these issues, Ramaswamy asserted that restoring the rule of law is another crucial factor in restoring the national identity.

“Sometimes the best defense is offense,” he said, “and here that form of offense is reviving our national identity itself.”

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