TOPICS > Politics

Alan Keyes in Iowa

February 8, 1996 at 12:00 AM EDT


ALAN KEYES, Republican Presidential Candidate: I actually think that as this race progresses, it is going to be more and more clear that it boils down for Republicans to a simple choice. When 1996 rolls around, do we want a standard bearer who is going to go out there and talk to the American people about the money, or do we want a standard bearer who’s going to look them in the eye and finally begin to talk to them about the moral condition of this country?

I think we need the latter. I think we have talked about the money for two and three and four decades. We have spent the money for thirty and forty years. And the more we spend it in the wrong ways, the more we have destroyed those institutions that are really needed in order to make this nation work.

That’s why in my talks I always come to the point where I have to tell you that though some people don’t want to admit it, the issue that epitomizes the moral crisis, that epitomizes the corrupt concept of freedom that is destroying our heart for family and social life is the issue of abortion.

They don’t want to hear about it but you think about it. We are telling the women of this society that they have the right to reach into the womb, to snuff out the life of their innocent, unborn children if that life doesn’t fit with their agenda. If it doesn’t fit with their satisfaction, if it interferes with their self-fulfillment, their career, their emotional stability, then you snuff it out, you rub it out, you don’t have to pay any respect for it, as it doesn’t fit with your agenda, it’s not useful to you.

We are inviting the women of this society to harden their hearts against their offspring. We are forcing the men of the society to do the same thing and to stand aside while their begotten offspring are killed in the womb, no grief, no anger, no participation possible. Sometimes it makes me wonder why it is we still call ourselves men since throughout human history it has been understood that the first thing that a man does is spring to the defense of those he loves. And we sit idly by and watch their lives destroyed.

But in addition to that hardness of heart, which I think is incompatible with the right understanding of parental love and responsibility, we are also accepting an understanding that goes against the heart of our national identity. The founders said that we are created equal and endowed by our creator. The pro-abortion people say that until that mother decides that you’re human, you don’t have any rights. That means that your humanity and rights depend on her choice, and the declaration is very clear.

It depends on God’s choice. We have nothing to do with it. And you can choose between the two but you can’t keep freedom both ways, because if freedom depends on human choice and judgment, I can tell you from the experience of my ancestors where that leads. When you let some people in a society decide that others are sub-human for purposes of destroying their lives, then you get slavery and you get oppression, and you get holocaust, and you get all the evils that we have seen human being perpetrate against one another when they forgot that we live our lives on this earth not only with respect to our authority but with respect to the authority of God. (applause)

People are always asking me, all that sounds well and good, all right, we need to have strong families–what’s that got to do with government, what can you do as President and so forth? Well, the truth of the matter is, as President I can’t fix the family. And I’m not going to try.

This is your job. It is the job of families. It is the job of churches. It is the job of people at the grassroots. But I’ll tell you, over the last 30 and 40 years in the welfare area and the tax area and the education area and many other areas, government has been doing a good job of damaging and destroying the family and the first thing we had better do is stop them. There is no use trying to put something back together while the government is still drinking it.

And the second step. Take all of that power and put it back in the hands of grassroots people. That’s why I make a welfare reform proposal that has us putting the lead responsibility back in the hands of grassroots churches and civic groups, not in the hands of government bureaucrats.

That’s why I make an education proposal that had us putting the responsibility back in the hands of parents through school choice, vouchers, every means possible to put parents back in the driver’s seat so that the money we spend follows their choice and emphasizes their responsibility, instead of turning it over falsely to so-called professional educators and politicians and bureaucrats who cannot do what parents have to do. And if we invite parents to feel like somebody else is getting the job done we are, in effect, destroying their sense of responsibility and enticing them to surrender what has to be their role in the education process.

And finally, we’ve got to get back control of our money. We are not going to escape tax serfdom with a flat tax. The tax serfdom which has the government dipping into our pockets claiming the first use of dollars that we make will not be ended by the flat tax. The privacy invading IRS will not be ended by the flat tax. The only way that we’re going to end those things and restore ourselves to a real condition of freedom is to abolish the income tax and return to the original Constitution of this country. (applause)

To have that tax was a mistake. (applause)

And when people say, well, how are you going to fund the government, you fund the government the way they said they were going to fund it, tariffs, duties, excise taxes, sales taxes, all of these things are part of the agenda of restoring our capacity to meet moral responsibility while at the same time by returning to our first principles and understanding the relationship between our freedom and our respect for God, we will restore the sense of responsibility needed so that we will feel compelled to meet those responsibilities.

That twin agenda, to reclaim our power and to restore our character so that we will use that power rightly, that’s what I think is the challenge we face in the years ahead. I think it’s the top priority of the nation’s life. I think that if we put it first we will see more effectively how to balance the budget, how to deal with the federal issues, how to deal with the jobs issues, how to restructure the economy, how to reform welfare, but if we don’t put it first, then none of these other things can be gotten right, because as the family crumbles, the nation crumbles, and it will continue to crumble until we put family first.