This International Day of Democracy, we reaffirm a basic truth: that democracy—government of the people, by the people, and for the people—is humanity’s most enduring means to advance peace, prosperity, and security. It is how we best safeguard the universal human rights, fundamental freedoms, and dignity that belong to every person. And in a moment when democracy is increasingly challenged by those who seek to govern through force and repression, it is incumbent on democracies to prove that we are able to deliver for the needs of our people as we strive toward a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world.

Defending America’s democratic values at home and around the world is essential to renewing our national strength and advancing our interests. But democracy can only function when all people are fully included, their rights protected, their voices heard, and their votes counted. As we continue the work of perfecting our union, we must openly and honestly grapple with our history of systemic inequity and injustice and the way it still holds back so many in our society. And we must harness the power of our democracy to invest in the American people and our American future, so that we can build equity and opportunity for all.

No democracy is perfect, and no democracy is ever final. Every gain made, every barrier broken, is the result of determined, unceasing work. This is a defining question of our time: Can democracies come together to deliver real results for our people in a rapidly changing world? Will the democratic alliances and institutions that shaped so much of the last century prove their capacity against modern-day threats and adversaries? I believe the answer is yes. That is why, on December 9–10, 2021, I am proud to be hosting a virtual Summit for Democracy, to set an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal around the world. Together with our partners, the United States will continue the vital work of strengthening democratic institutions, defending civil society and independent media, promoting free and fair elections, protecting human rights, and insisting on accountability for those who commit abuses and foster corruption.

On this International Day of Democracy, we recommit to doing the hard work that is necessary to ensure that democracies continue to lead the world with our values and shape a future that is built on respect for the human rights of all people.

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