Rally in Idaho Falls, Idaho
May 12, 2000
Ron Vieselmeyer, Idaho
State Coordinator, Keyes 2000: Good morning. It's a privilege to be here. And all of you coming out
this time of day when you should be at work, and you'd sacrifice that to come
to hear Alan Keyes. And I'm not going to spend very much time here, but my
name is Ron Vieselmeyer, and I'm the Idaho
coordinator for the Alan Keyes campaign, and we've been having a wonderful
time with him last night in Boise and then in Coeur d'Alene. We had an
overflow and had to even turn some people away. I think we had a little over
1600 people in Coeur d'Alene and now to see this many people in Idaho Falls
here. It's really exciting.
Now, I know many of you people know about Alan Keyes, and know about his record and know that he's been 11 years in the State Department. One of the things that not too many people are aware of when Alan Keyes is introduced--he has a PhD from Harvard, and he did his dissertation on the Constitution. He understands the Constitution. And, as he spoke to a group in Boise yesterday about the importance of the Judiciary, he made it very clear what importance the presidency has and high elected officials have in understanding, interpreting, and articulating the Constitution, themselves. Because they all take a personal oath to swear to uphold that Constitution.
Alan Keyes is someone who really has to take a back seat to no one in understanding that document. And there's probably no more articulate spokesman in the entire country for the core principles that we know are necessary to secure the blessings of liberty.
Now, let me ask that if you feel motivated after hearing Alan Keyes' presentation to help disseminate this message, do everything as well that you personally can do to uphold that Constitution. Learn everything you can personally about that document and do what you can to carry that message forward, because it's not something we should sit back and let the so-called experts, particularly those in the black robes, define for us. It's something that each of us has a responsibility, and the Founders always intended that.
Now, without further ado, I am very proud to introduce Dr. Alan Keyes. Let's hear it for him. [applause and cheering]
Alan Keyes: Thank you. Here we are. Praise God. Good morning. Well, this is amazing. It's especially intriguing to me to see so many people out and bright and lively this hour of the day. I was just explaining to my staff . . . you'll have to excuse me for one or two moments, because I finally, I think, got to sleep last night after about 24 hours on the go. When you come this way from the East Coast, there's extra hours. You know, I got up to give my talk last night, and in the midst of it I realized that it was ten minutes to two on my body clock. So, if I make a slip and forget where I am, you'll forgive me, won't you?
I want to thank you for coming out today and give me a chance to share some thoughts with you about, I think, the critical time that this nation is in. And the role of it I think that we all of us have to try to play in order to get the country back to where it belongs.
Are there some Republicans here? [laughter] You know, I never make assumptions about that. I always think that . . . but I assumed that there would be some Republicans here. I have to assume also that there might be some people here who just might have an interest in ending the Clinton/Gore era and making sure that Al Gore doesn't become President. [cheering, applause] Is there anybody here like that? Yeah. I rather figured we'd all of us share that agenda, too.
Now in that regard, I've got some good news that's bad news. And unfortunately that's the situation we're in right now in the country. We've got good news, and the good news is that our prosperity continues, that there are lots of people in this nation who are at work, and that we have still got an economy expanding in horizons of material opportunity that are growing, and so forth and so on. This is a good thing. And I realize that there are some folks in the country who want to feel all bad about that because they are so afraid that the American people are going to give Bill Clinton and his buddies credit for this wonderful prosperity--and actually, I've got news for you, that figure is justified, because by and large that's what the American people do. In a manner of fact, they do it in such a degree that in the course of the 20th century the American people have never, ever taken the White House from one party and given it to another in good economic times. Do you realize that? That's why this good news is bad news for voters.
Now, I know that there's some Republicans who go in the back room and pray, even when they're not all that familiar with prayer. [laugher] They're praying right now for some terrible disaster to hit the economy, so it will be reeling in economic ruin by the fall. I would like to reproach all Republicans who are indulging in that kind of thing. I think that it's not very complimentary to your character to want good for your party at the expense of your country. I never wish for good for Republicans at the expense for the good for America, and I never shall. [applause] I don't think, by the way, though. I don't think that's necessary. Because even though it is true, it is true, that if the folks in this country go into the voting booth and vote in the fall on the basis of material considerations and economic concerns--of money this's and that's--it's very likely that Republicans will lose. And there are liberals in great glee over this. I was reading an article in the Washington Post, not long ago, in which they were pointing out that the tax cut issues that have been so salient for Republicans in the course of the last fifteen-twenty years, Americans don't care about it so much anymore. And because we are in the midst of pretty good times, and folks actually are making good money, and have jobs doing this and that, apparently standing up in front of people and promising them that you're going to give them this or that amount when you cut their taxes, it doesn't grab them the way it used to.
And so, the liberals are in glee that we're not going to be able to exploit that kind of issue at a material level because of the good times we're in--and I guess there'll be some Republicans feel bad about that. And I don't. I feel good about that, too. I actually used to stand on the stage watching my colleagues during these debates . . . did anybody watch the debates? . . . I watched my colleagues during the debates, and they're up there vying with each other over who is going to have the best program to give money back to this one. "I'll give your money back . . ." "I'll give money to you . . ." "I'll give money to you . . ." "No, I'll give $2,000 to a family of four." "No, I'll do 'em better than that. I'll give $2,500 to the working families of America." And we're all supposed to feel really good about this, get down on our knees, thank "massa politician," and go out and vote for him. Right? [laughter]
But every time I got the chance during the debates, though, I tried to point out to audiences that they ought to be standing back from that kind of discussion and asking themselves a simple question. Who's money is it, anyway? Huh? [laughter] I mean, here we have politicians, right, left, and center making hay while the sun shines in a political sense, by what? By promising that they're going to let us keep a little bit more of our own money. What a privilege that is! [laughter] We go out. We work for it, and these politicians are actually going to let us keep some? Well, we should be grateful!
I hate to tell you this, but that is the situation we're in. If they talk as if all the money in the country belongs to them, and they're doing us a favor when they let us keep some, do you know why they talk that way? They talk that way, my friends, because that's true. It's true. And I can prove it to you. All the money made in this country, every cent earned in this country, belongs to the federal government. That's right. That's right--at least in principle.
Because, think about it this way--if I make a deal with you that I'm going to turn over to you a certain percentage of everything that I make, and then I add a further corollary to that that I will let you decide what percentage that will be. Okay, so you can get a certain percentage of it, and I'll let you decide what the percentage will be--how much of my money do you control in principle? All of it! As much as you want to, anyway.
Now, we do understand the implications of that, don't we? 'Cause, now, what is the federal income tax? It's a tax whereby we turn over to the federal government the preemptive claim to a certain percentage of our income. Who decides what the percentage will be? The federal government! In principle, therefore, who controls all the money that we earn in this country? The federal government. See? Logically speaking, they're perfectly justified in talking as if they're doing us a big favor by letting us keep a little something we earn, because we have in principle we have surrendered to them the right to take it all. And that means that the minute we fastened on ourselves this whole income tax system, we went from being free people to being wage slaves of the government. And we will continue to be wage slaves of the government until we come to our senses, return to the original Constitution of this nation, repeal the 16th Amendment, get rid of this oppressive tax system, and return to the Constitution of freedom. [applause]
And I want to be clear. I want to be clear, too. I did not say we should flatten it. I did not say we should reform it. I did not say we should restructure it. I didn't say we should abolish the agency that enforces it. I didn't say that we should take the code and do something nasty with it. We need to take the tax, itself, and abolish it. It should never have been tolerated in the first place! [applause, cheering]
Now, the sad thing, though, see--we have lived with this oppressive system for so long that people actually think there's no alternative to it. I find that so, so sad. I can remember years ago a fellow calling me on a radio program I was on. I was talking at that point about the savings and loan debacle. Remember that? We had to spend all those hundreds of billions bailing out the savings and loans after they had been rapaciously looted. And the fellow called in, and he was agreeing with me that this was a travesty, and it was wrong for politicians to have worked for and protected these folks. And he came to a conclusion, he said, "What really steams me," he said, "I don't understand why the taxpayers of this country have to foot the bill for the S&L bail-out. Why doesn't the government do it?" [laughter]
It's kind of an amusing thought. And, of course, it illustrates, sadly, the mentality that has now developed. There are folks in this country who actually think the government has money. Ah, no. The government doesn't have money that it doesn't derive directly or indirectly from us. It's our money. When it's wasted, it's our money. And when it is being controlled by others, that is control that has been taken away from us. Now, I believe that if we want to be free again, we need to get back to a system of taxation that keeps the control in our hands. That's the system the Founders put in place in the original Constitution. Hamilton speaks great praise of this system in the Federalist Papers when he talks about that original system when in which the government was funded by tariffs, duties, and excise taxes. Tariffs and duties, making foreigners who want to make money in our market pay their fair share of the costs of maintaining that market. That's step number one. [applause]
And step number two? Excise taxes. Sales taxes, which you don't pay until you've decided what and how you're going to use your own money. When you've decided what your priorities are, how much you're going to save or give to charity, give to church, do this, do that--only after you've made your decision does the government then get access to a certain percentage of the money that you decide to spend on taxed goods in the market place. [applause]
We are so lost today to the truth, that many people don't even remember that kind of economic freedom. They have no idea of what it was like to live in a society where people understood what we have forgotten. We sit down every year, and around April 15th we turn in all our information about where our money comes from, and stuff. There was a time in this nation's life, you know, where people actually believed that how much money you made was your business. [laughter] And that nobody else had that right to know that, unless you told them. And today we accept a system that has destroyed our privacy, and that has turned over to the government information that can be abused in order to destroy our lines of supply as a free people. That's something that nobody in their right mind who wanted to be free would have ever done, because as the Founders said, "A power over someone's resources is a power over their will." [applause] And so, if, as a people, we've turned that power over to the government, the government has a power over our will--and if the government has a power over the people's will, who controls the government? Certainly not the will of the people. See?
What are we going to do? We've destroyed the basic paradigm of freedom for our whole system of self-government, and that's not the only area where we have surrendered liberty. Control of our money, gone. Control of our schools and institutions, gone. Control of our land and resources, going. Every day we are less and less free, more and more dominated by the encroaching powers of government. [applause] And we're supposed to be content to sit back and let it happen and not care.
Ever asked yourself why this is occurring? See, what I think we've been going through in the last several years is, in fact, a perfect illustration of the source, the root of this surrender of our freedom. We're sitting back, and we're allowing all these assaults to take place. What are they mostly based on? When folks come forward and say, "Well, we've got to take some more of your freedom away," what are they mostly basing it on? Think about the arguments liberals make about just about anything. Ah, could be . . . ah, well, money we were just talking about, right? And somebody comes along and says, "Well, we need to cut taxes. We need to let people have more of their own money so that they can decide what to do with it." And what does someone like Bill Clinton stand up there and say, "Well, we can't do that. Nope. Can't do that." Why not? "Well, if we do that then the poor people won't be taken care of, the children will starve, the elderly will be neglected, and this society will be filled with atrocious suffering."
Has it ever occurred to you to think about what that is implying? That implies that if the people of this country are left to control their own resources, we won't care enough about each other to take care of one another. "Parents don't care enough to take care of their own children. Children don't care enough to take care of their elderly parents. Neighbors don't care enough to hear the cries of their poor neighbors, and reach out a helping hand." When the liberals come forward and make that kind of argument in the context of our discussion of tax and all, they are not really talking about money. They're not talking about material resources. What they are doing is they are insulting the character and decency of the American people. They are saying we don't have what it takes to be a free people. [applause]
And this isn't their only area where that's true. Now consider all the hoopla that is now going into this march that's going to occur in Washington. Where they're all going . . . and what are they marching for? Well, they say, "We're marching about all those nasty guns and crimes of violence," and so forth and so on. Well, maybe. May not. Well, I'm against crimes of violence. Aren't you? I'm against folks going into stores and shooting people up, going into schools and shooting people up. But why is it that whenever these episodes of violence happen, there are folks who come forward and say, "Because those bad people over there have committed violence, we've got to take guns away from these good people over here." So, why is it that what is done by the bad folks becomes an excuse for assaulting the God-given liberties of the good folks? And by what logic do we accept this anyway?
Now, I realize that logic and politics are not supposed to have anything to do with each other. [laughter] It could be that my addiction to logic is one of the reasons that I do so badly getting my point to across to the media, since they don't allow logic in one's discussion. [laughter, applause]
However, I find that I am unable to help myself most of the time--and so somebody comes to me and they say, for instance, "We've got to get guns out of the hands of criminals." How are we going to do this? "By passing laws that say people can't have guns." And then I'm standing back and I'm scratching my head, and I'm saying to myself, "Let's wait a minute here. You want to go after guns in the hands of criminals, and what you're going to do is pass laws. There's just one small problem with this. What is a criminal?" [laughter] A criminal is, by definition, somebody who disregards the law. [laughter] So, you can pass, as we have, 2,000-2,500 laws aimed at controlling guns, and so forth and so on, and guess what happens? The criminals break all those laws, because that's what they do! That's their vocation, breaking laws! [laughter, applause]
When are we going to realize that the whole logic of the gun control agenda is absurd? You don't control criminals with laws. You control criminals with police who enforce the laws! [applause] That's what you do with criminals. But, again, this kind of logic . . . and of course, the whole idea that you go after the general Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in order to deal with supposedly the specific episodes of violence and lawlessness causes a thoughtful person to stand back and say, "You know what? They're not really after the criminals." The aim is to disarm the people. And why do they want to disarm the people? Well, they want to disarm the people on the assumption that we are not responsible enough to be trusted with the means to defend ourselves--regardless of the truth that our Founders thought that this is an essential prerequisite and precondition of liberty.
And they were right about that. You look historically at the development of those forms of government in which the general mass of the people finally won the opportunity to shape their own destiny in their societies, and that development did not take place until they broke the presumptive monopoly of the aristocratic class on the business of defending the society. And in the tradition, for instance, of our liberties that the Founders were familiar with, that would have happened in the 1620's and 30's and 40's when the new model army was developed in England in which the commoners got together and defeated the cavaliers, who were the aristocratic class, right? And in that period of time--commonwealth, Cromwell, and so forth--one saw the first actual exercise of sovereign power by the body of the people in that British tradition. And why? Because they had found it in themselves to stand on the battlefields and defend their own freedom.
And, of course, this country has sustained itself by that same determination, time and again, from the time of the Revolutionary War, when citizens stood forward to defend their liberties against the depredations of tyranny. All the way through Civil War, through the great World Wars, this nation has been defended by the tradition of common ordinary folks who come from behind the plow, come from the store-clerking, come from the classrooms, and so forth to get on the battlefields--ordinary citizens turned into heroes in defense of their liberty, because that's the potential of freedom. What are we going to do now? [applause] Listen to those people who tell us we should give it up? Because I don't think we should give it up. I don't want sons and daughters who are violent, nasty people, but I don't want sons and daughters who don't have the courage to defend this country, either. And I think that the truth of the matter is, we're far from the general outbreak of peace and goodwill throughout the world, and as long as that is the case, we had better remain a people with the character and vigilance to defend ourselves.
It is one of the reasons why, in this whole debate over movies and everything else . . . I dislike gratuitous violence in films, and I also dislike films that have been scrubbed of all realistic portrayals of the kind of things that sometimes happened in war and other episodes where people have had to defend themselves. We can't afford to be a population so soft in our heart and mind that we don't have the toughness to deal with those hard situations that sometimes have to be dealt with if a free people are to remain free. And so this whole assault on Second Amendment rights is, again, what? It's not just an assault on some material object that we won't have anymore. My friends, it's a comment about, and assault on, the character we need to remain free. In every area, therefore, whether we're talking about the money or the schools or the Second Amendment rights, at the root of the assault on our liberties is, in fact, an assault on our character--an assault that assumes that we are not good enough to be free, and that aims to make sure that we are no longer strong enough, courageous enough, disciplined enough to be a free people.
When you think that through, therefore, it becomes startlingly clear why it was over the course of the last several years that when things came to a head during the Clinton years--when impeachment and all that came about, what was it about? It wasn't about money, and this and that. It turned out, in the end, that the greatest failure of this administration, the greatest failure of the Clinton years, the greatest failure of the Democrat Party during the Clinton years was rooted in what? Rooted in their willingness to have contempt for and betray the moral heritage of this nation, and to assault and destroy those things that we need to sustain our character. [applause] That's where it came from.
And that . . . but, you see, at the same time, I want to go back to the beginning now where I was speaking, because I don't want you all feel like, "Oh, well, the economy's good, but we're going to lose the election in the fall." Not necessarily, see. Because we can look at the good economy, we can look at relative lack of wars that aren't going on in the world--and there I hope you will keep in mind, though, that though this administration hasn't yet fallen by the way of the reaping the fruits of their betrayals. The relative peace we enjoy in the world . . . it's no thanks to these guys. [laughter] I mean, they've been doing everything in their power to betray our interest, to weaken our national security. Not content simply with not standing firm against Communist dictators in Beijing, they had to do their best to make sure those dictators got more American capital, more American technology and know-how, and finally even turned the other way while they walked off with the secrets of that technology which defends us against Communist missile threats. So, we at least have the satisfaction of knowing that when the Communist Chinese missiles are raining down on American cities, while you're sitting waiting there to be blown up, you can think to yourself, "Well, it's proof of American know-how." [laughter] See? At least they'll only be sending our own technology back to us, paid for with our own money, courtesy of the Clinton administration.
So, when I say that we have relative calm internationally, I don't want you to think that that's because the Clinton administration hasn't done everything in its power to betray us at the national security level. They have. I think that we saw further evidence of that, by the way, in the way they went about handling this Elian Gonzalez thing. And I don't know--folks can have differing opinions on what should be done in that particular case at the level of the family dispute that's going on, and I have my opinions, and others have theirs.
Just as an aside, which has nothing to do with the point I'm making, but I do believe, though, we engage in a lot of fictions in America, sadly, because people don't know what really is going on. And when we stand here and we say, "Well, we should send Elian back to his father." Now, I strongly believe in family, and I have said many times that I believe deeply that we ought to respect the father's role and obligation in a situation like this. We ought to have great respect and care and concern about that--but that we ought to also be clear that we shouldn't return a child like this to his father until we are clear that the father is in a position to make a free decision about that. And then we should inform ourselves about the real nature of communism in Cuba. And once you inform yourself about that, what you'll realize is that that father, and no other father in Cuba, or mother either, can make any free decision about what happens to their children until they get out of Cuba permanently and are no longer subject to that regime. [applause]
That's right, and that's because, my friends, in Castro's Cuba, parents don't raise their children. That boy's not going back to his father. He's going back to a communist-dominated system in which the government controls the children, not the parents. [applause] When are we going to wake up? There was a time in America when we cared about things like that, and we weren't just willing to sit back and throw people on the ash heap of tyranny because we didn't care about, especially, six-year-olds. I think it's a travesty that the American people are sitting back and letting this happen--and a lot of them don't even understand what's going on. Because we are no longer instructing ourselves about the real nature of this evil we fought in the world. One of the reasons we fought the communists is because communist governments destroy the authority of family life. I assume we're not so unhappy with that these days, I guess, because we're sitting back complacently while our own government destroys the authority of family life! [applause]
We'll leave it aside. We're seeing a government like this Clinton Administration, and whenever they're doing the bidding of the communist dictators, they just bend over backwards to do whatever they have to do. That's probably why Janet Reno thought it appropriate to resolve this family dispute with automatic weapons. [laughter] I really didn't see the need for that, myself.
But be that as it may, that is clear evidence, though, of the real allegiances of Bill Clinton and the people around him. And those allegiances are not to the American ideals and values and principles, not to the American Constitution. They do with greater alacrity the bidding of communist dictators in China and Havana, than they do the bidding of the laws and Constitution of the United States. [applause] You look at that whole picture, and you look at what has occurred in the course of the last several years, it's got to be clear to you. The reason that the Democrats should lose control of the White House, the reason, in fact, that they should be driven from positions of authority . . . [end of side of tape]
. . . it was that moral betrayal that the American people should vote upon. This election should be a representative referendum on the Democrats' failed moral stewardship in American life. [applause] If it is, then we Republicans stand a chance of winning the White House. Because if that's what people are thinking about when they go into the voting booth, they have no choice but to vote against those who are part of that Clinton legacy, the Clinton record of betrayal. And, of course, Al Gore is deeply a part of that. We just don't have to worry about that.
That's why I have said in the past, and say now, that we're at a moment which, I believe, in some ways is providential. If the Republican Party wants to achieve victory for itself, it can only do so, I believe, in November by fighting for a victory for American principles and American moral integrity. If we do what's right for the country, we stand a chance of achieving what's right for our party. And, if we don't, then we won't.
Now, that may make some people feel a little unhappy. "Oh, you mean the only way we can win in the fall is if we go out there and fall on our sword on abortion and issues like this?" That's right. That's exactly right. We must stand strong and firm on the issues that epitomize our commitment to the moral principles that are the heart and soul of this nation's life--beginning with the principle of this nation's founding, that our rights come not from the Constitution, not from the President, not from the judges in the courts, and not from our mother's choice or any other human choice. Our rights come from the choice and hand and power and authority of Almighty God! That is what was said in the beginning, and that is what is true today. [long applause and cheering]
And, of course, the beauty of it is that that also represents, doesn't it, the key to understanding the basis for our moral character. If we acknowledge that our rights come from God, then it follows that the same rights that we get from His authority must be used in ways that respect His authority. And when folks come to us and want to substitute human choice, and human will, and human convenience for our respect for that choice which God has made to implant in each and every human being a kernel of His divine will, which we must respect, whoever we may be--when we show a proper understanding of that, then we are walking the road of American character and American discipline that provides the basis for a system of self-government that does not turn to licentious freedom and, therefore, destroys itself. And that, I think, is the key to this election. It's why I've always thought issues like abortion are so important. It's not just because we need to have respect for those innocent lives in the womb, but it's also because we need to have respect for the moral life of our country. And, if we embrace the abortion doctrine, we are abandoning the moral principles that are the basis for our claim to liberty, and for that understanding of freedom which is self-restrained, self-disciplined, self-governing, because it acknowledges the transcendent authority of Almighty God.
This is the key to what we have good. This is the key to maintain and what we are. And I believe that it's what's most at issue in this time in American life. I think God's given us a moment when we don't have big international worries, when we have successfully defeated every ugly, terrible adversary that's come against us in the 20th century. Precisely because of that strong moral heritage, even when we lay flat on our back with our fleets destroyed, with our military might in question, with our economy still in a shambles from the Great Depression, we found what it took to face the greatest enemies the world had ever seen. And we did it again when we faced the communist empire--and for all the confusion and other things sewn in the world, we came through with a victory for freedom. And when we did it, you'll notice, the key moments always came, didn't they, when we rediscovered that moral vision. Just as they did when Ronald Reagan finally won through, and we stopped playing games with the communists and acknowledged the truth that it wasn't just some joke strategic power struggle. It was a moral struggle against the focus of evil in the modern world. Remember that speech? [audience: "Yes," applause] When we remembered our moral selves, we regained the strength that was the key to our victory in that war against Soviet totalitarianism.
What happens, though, if we continue down this road that destroys our moral principles, sacrifices our moral character, loses the foundation for that sense of our moral ideas and ideals that has been thus far the key to our strength, our prosperity, our justice, our ability to deal with challenge and adversity? Are we going to keep all that strength? No. See, I think that we'll come to a time when the challenges will be great enough to destroy us, not because there are outside enemies with the power, but as Abraham Lincoln recognized in one of his famous speeches, we would have come to that moment when we lost not because of powers without, but because of a loss of integrity within.
The crisis of our integrity is upon us. And as citizens, I believe, we need to be dedicated, now, to restoring our respect for the basic principles the nation was founded on, to forcing our to leaders tackle with integrity those issues like abortion that involve those key principles. And then on the basis of our restored sense of character and moral self-confidence, we need to stand forward and boldly reclaim our role as a sovereign people--control of our money, our schools, our businesses, our land, our resources, our lives. We need to reassert that sovereignty in every area where we have surrendered it in the course of this century. [applause]
That's the agenda I believe in. Some people are saying that this whole Republican thing is over with, and all of that. I think that there are terribly important decisions going to be taken over the course of the next several weeks. I think that the people who have believed what I have just said, they need to be thinking about how you can have an impact--and you can.
Folks here in Idaho can send a good, strong signal that the moral heart of this country hasn't gone anywhere, and that many of its people still care about these things, and still care that the Republican Party should be strongly committed to addressing them. And I hope that you will give strong consideration to using your opportunity to vote in that way come May 23rd. May 23rd is, by the way, my daughter's birthday. [applause] But it could also be a day in which you and I and a lot of people will go into the voting booth and reach into their heart of principle in order to bring out a result that will send a clear signal to America and to the Republican leadership that we want the party to stand firm in its commitment to the pro-life plank, to a ticket free of pro-abortion influences, and to a fall campaign that will challenge the American people squarely to reject the moral corruption and betrayal of Bill Clinton's Democrats.
I think if we are able as a party to achieve that kind of commitment and principle, and in spite of all the things that might otherwise stand against our hopes for victory, we will achieve a victory--not because we fought so hard and were so shrewd in our own interest. No. But because we cared enough about America to stand firm in the interest of American principles and ideals. If this is the kind of party we are, then I think the American people will realize that that is the kind of nation that we deserve to be. And accepting leadership from a party still inspired by that vision of the best that America has to offer to the world's hopes, we will see the inauguration of a great era of Republican leadership.
Of course, if we back away from that challenge, then I think that millions of folks who came over to the Republican Party because they were responding to our moral leadership and to our willingness to stand for those values and beliefs that many believe are critical to the strength of our families and the decency of our communities--if we back away from that, many of those same people will back away from the party, and I believe we will see the beginning of the end for the Republican Party as a force in American political life. It is a critical moment. It is a great crossroads. But I think we have it in us to do what is right, and that is all I would ask of you on this election day. Do what, unhappily, many folks in the country seem still unable to find the courage to do. Do your duty to America. You may safely leave the rest to God. Thank you. [applause]
Q & A session
Thank you very much. Have a seat for a minute. And I'll be able to take a few questions. We have about ten minutes, and then I have to rush off and catch an airplane. Seems to be the story of my life.
Yes. Yes, ma'am.
Question: What do you think about some of the POW and MIA issues that are coming out of live sightings in Russian and North Korea from the State Department, and the American policy that we don't want live POW's, just give us your money?
Keyes: I have to tell you I have never, ever, understood . . . and this is something that if you know the history of it, sadly goes all the way back in this country to World War II. How can I put this? . . . If you want to have in your society a strong commitment that will come from the real heart of people to go out and defend this nation and its liberties, then I think one of the things we have to make clear is that we have a strong commitment never to forgo the promises or abandon those who have made that sacrifice for this country. And it ought to be done clearly and unequivocally.
And there hasn't been a willingness in these administrations to make this a priority. And why not? You need to go to these governments and you need to say very clearly, "You want to have a decent relationship with us, this is a matter that is at the top of our agenda. We deal with our people first, and we must know that you are dealing squarely with us on this issue, or we can't deal with you on other issues." I think that is what you have to do, and it's never been done. And I think, by the way . . . [applause] I don't believe for a minute that most of these governments would care to spit in our face on this. And, therefore, if we were firm about it, we'd get a decent response. But you have others who are willing, instead, to open doors and do things for folks--North Korea, Vietnam--without insisting that we get a true and accurate accounting based on information we have. That's what we need to do. And we need to do it clearly and unequivocally, and I think we'd get a response if we did. But that would require the expenditure of this nation's capital in a diplomatic sense, and many times I guess these people come to the conclusion that our Americans who have risked their lives and lost their freedoms aren't worth it. I think they are. I think they are.
Question: This whole issue, you know, with the Republican Party [inaudible] . . . is there is a conspiracy somewhere because they seem have all the same programs and belong to the same club. Is there a conspiracy?
Keyes: Well, yeah, my favorite motto in dealing . . . when I was in the government in the State Department I developed this . . . someone suggested it to me and it became kind of the a basic byword of my approach to things, and it's basically summarized by that old phrase, "Just because you think they're out to get you, doesn't mean they're not." [laughter] See? And I think we ought to keep our eye on this. But I am not one of those folks who believe that we have to assume there are folks plotting in the backroom to take all our liberties away. You know why we don't have to assume that they're plotting in the backroom? We don't have to assume that their plotting in the backroom because I think what they're doing is being done right out in the open! [laughter]
It's not being done as a result of some secret cabal. We can watch it happen every day. We can watch the assault on the Second Amendment, we can watch the effort to subject American citizens to the jurisdiction of the world court, we can read the law that turned our sovereignty over to the World Trade Organization. We don't have to think about some secret conspiracy somewhere. There is an open effort going on to betray this nation, to destroy our Constitution, to give away our sovereignty, and to undermine the character of the American people. [applause] I think it's open. I think it's clear. I think it's in the media and elsewhere. And these folks are operating in concert, at least in part, because they imbibe the same culture. They are acting on the basis of the same assumptions and the same set of principles. They have attended graduate and professional schools where they have learned from the same books that teach the same assumptions, which at the end of the day, by the way, fly in the face of American ideas.
Take on lawyers, for instance. Our nation was founded on the basis of a doctrine right there in the Declaration, that "all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." Right? And a reference is made when they talk about the Declaration, they say that we're going to assume that among the powers of the earth that station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitled. Right? Now what is that a reference to? It's a reference to what is called the "natural law tradition"--a tradition based on the view that God makes the world, that the dictates in accordance with which He makes the world are the laws whereby it operates, the laws of nature, right, and that those laws of nature then have a relevance and bearing for human justice and decision making. That was the natural law doctrine.
We have people going to law schools now, and they are taught, "Well, that natural law stuff is a bunch of garbage. The law is what the judge says it is. It's all about legal positivism and human will and convention. And there's nothing more to it than that." And then we wonder that on the other side we have a bunch of lawyers that act in ways that show contempt for and disregard the basic principles of American life. Now, is that the result of some big conspiracy in the legal profession? Well, I will tell you that you don't have to have some cabal meeting in the backroom, when you have lawyers taught in the classroom a culture that will then lead them to act against the basic principles and without respect for the moral heritage of this nation.
And in many respects we see the same thing going on all over the place. We're always complaining about the bias of the media. If we spend any time in the schools of journalism and broadcasting and all this, you'll learn why there's a bias in the media, because those are reputed to be, on most campuses in this country, among the most ideologically left-wing and ideologically communist-oriented of any faculties in the country. [applause] And then we wonder that the folks who are taught by these people then come out on the other side making all kinds of assumptions that are in line with socialist ideology? Of course they do.
So, I think that old phrase of mine holds good. "Just because you think they're out to get you, doesn't mean they're not." And our Founders actually believed that you need to keep a vigilant eye on things. And that even when you weren't sure that somebody was acting in a concerted way to undermine your liberties, it was always good to think about the world as if that was possible. And I think we ought to do that now. A free people, among other things, is a suspicious people. It's a jealous people. It's a people that does not take it for granted that everybody who says they want to do you good has your good in mind. See?
And I think that attitude of suspicion, that attitude of jealousy of our rights, that attitude of vigilance is what made us and is what will keep us free. As we become complacent and indifferent and lazy about that kind of thinking, we are giving the store away, and I am deeply worried because of that.
Question: How do you propose to enable Americans to educate their children . . . [inaudible]
Keyes: How do I propose to help Americans educate their children? Well, see, I think that you've put your finger right on it right there. I believe that the most important thing we can do to help Americans educate their children is that we ought to let Americans educate their children and get the government out of the business of doing it. [loud applause and cheering] That's what I think.
Now, that's actually in line with the answer to the question I just got, because it's one of those things where I stand back and I'm thinking to myself, "We're supposed to live in a society where the people control the government, right?" Now, let's think this through. If you turn the education of new generations of the people over to the government, do you think the government is going to teach them all about how they have the authority to control the government, and that they are, in fact, the source of the government's power and authority, and that they are in a position superior to the government? Do think they're going to teach them that? They're not. Why are we so surprised that as we've turned the education system more and more over to the government our kids hear less and less about the Revolution, about the Declaration of Independence, about the principles of freedom, about the real role of the people, about the sovereignty of the people, about the rights of the people? They don't care about these things. They are mostly being taught now to be subjects, not citizens. To be the servile receivers of government largess and the servile acceptors of government authority.
So, I think if we want to have a good education system, rule number one, let's get it back in the hands of the people. How do we do that? It's very simple. Let the money we spend on education follow the choice of parents, not the choice of politicians and bureaucrats. [applause] Let parents, let the folks who have the responsibility for those children, let them be the ones who decide where they go to school, and have the ultimate authority, therefore, to decide what's going on in those schools. And especially, who will be able to insist that the values and the moral ideas and the assumptions about the world that are taught in the schools will reflect the faith and values that exist in the home. We ought to have that right. [applause]
I find it very strange that we assume that we're going to keep liberty--liberty based on the notion that we're created equal and our rights come from God, that we are going to keep it, and that our future generations will sustain it after they have been taught in classrooms, where it is now supposedly against the law according to the Supreme Court, to speak the name of God, where you cannot refer to the authority of the Creator. How can we teach our children that their rights come from God, if we can't mention His name? How can we teach them to understand that they are free and have dignity, not by the authority of government, but by the authority of God, if we can't mention His name? [applause]
We have turned our children over to an educational system based on a premise that the minute you accept that premise you have turned your back on the most elemental principle of American life. And yet we expect that our liberty will continue--why? This defies common sense. So, I think that we need to have a system based on the choice and leadership of parents. The money should follow their choice. It should go to whatever schools that they think are going to best serve their children. This would then put them back in a position where they have the power to work with the teachers who are on the front lines in order to get the right results for their children, cutting out the massive government-dominated, bureaucratic element in our educational system that has been absorbing more and more of our resources and giving us fewer and fewer results.
That's what I believe, in principle, ought to be the approach. And I think that means, by the way, that we don't want a system dominated by the government at any level, and we especially don't want a system dominated by the federal government. And so I listen to all these people saying, "We've got to have federally dictated standards, and federal this and that." I don't believe this. I don't believe it at all. I think that Americans always achieve the best results when we are allowed to go forward, and working with one another, we develop the standards and methods that can achieve the best results for us. Not when we have some government bureaucrat dictating it to us. That's not what works best in America. [applause]
I really have to go, or we're going to miss our flight. I want to thank you all for coming out today, and I wish you Godspeed, and I hope that you will keep in mind that on election day, the only vote I think that counts is the vote that comes from your heart of principle, and it's the only one you can be sure you will never be ashamed of.
[applause and cheering]