Democracy is at the root of American society. It is not the gift or the birthright of any nation, but a responsibility that demands constant engagement and vigilance by all our citizens. On International Day of Democracy, we must acknowledge the dangers posed to democracy, both at home and abroad, and recommit ourselves to the task of defending our most sacred values.

When the United States falls short in our democracy at home, it robs our fellow Americans of the equality and freedom we all deserve, it undermines faith in our system and it damages our ability to lead the world in confronting the wide range of threats and challenges we face. Over the past three and a half years, Donald Trump has recklessly and routinely taken a battering ram to the pillars of America’s democracy — repeatedly attacking our institutions and values — amplified racist hatred for his own political ends, and traded the friendship of our democratic allies for photo ops with authoritarians and dictators. Trump’s assault on democracy has made our nation, and indeed the world, less secure.

Under a Biden-Harris administration, the United States will put democracy and human rights at the center of America’s foreign policy. We cannot stand up for these principles around the world if we do not first do the same for all Americans at home. When I am President, authoritarian leaders will never have to wonder where I stand — squarely alongside the civil society leaders, human rights defenders, and journalists working every day to sustain and advance democracy, often at great personal risk. I will restore America’s global leadership and our partnerships with democracies around the world, including by hosting a global Summit for Democracy during my first year in office. If we recommit ourselves to America’s core values, stand with those who share our most fundamental principles, and set an example for the world of a government that is accountable to its people, we will demonstrate for the world that even now, amid dark times, democracy remains a powerful force for freedom and a beacon of hope to people everywhere.