Transcript for Sen. Jeff Flake warns of threats to democracy in farewell speech
As I stand here today I am optimistic about the future. But my optimism is due more to the country that my parents gave to me and is due to the present condition of our civic life. We are of course testing the institution of American liberty in ways that none of us ever imagined we would. And in ways that we probably never should again. My colleagues to say that our politics is not healthy. Is somewhat of an understatement. I believe that we all know well that this is not a normal time. And that the threats to our democracy from within and without a real. And none of us can say with confidence how the situation that we now find ourselves and we'll turnout. Over the past two years I've spoken a great deal on the subject. From this chamber. There will be time enough later to return to it in other settings. But in the time I have here today. And with your indulgence. I haven't stepped like to speak somewhat more personally. As these authoritarian and colts reassert itself globally. And global commitment to democracy seems now to be on somewhat shaky ground. I've been thinking a lot of read a lot recently. About the American commitment to democracy. Where it comes from. And how if the circumstances were right it might slip away. The road to democracy is not your reversible. Not in Moscow. Not in America. Not anywhere. After erecting a Potemkin village for democracy. For an agonizing decade or so the Russians thrust forward a strong man and into chaos. A strong man who was determined to reassemble the pieces of a broken empire. In the process strangling and Russian democracy and its cradle. Vladimir Putin would go on to be president and he is president still. And just as he hijack democracy. In his own country. He is determined to do so everywhere. Denial of this reality will not make it any less real. This is something that is Terri and us in the face right now as we are gathered here today. As we in America during this moment of political dysfunction and upheaval. Contemplate the hard won conventions and norms of democracy. We must continually remind ourselves. That none of this is permanent. That it must be fought for continually. Civilization and the victories of freedom. History itself. Are not a matter of once achieved. Always safe.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.