Bob Dole on Being an American
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SEN. BOB DOLE, Republican Presidential Candidate: There’s no doubt about it and sometimes we fail to recognize it, but we are the greatest country on the face of the earth. And we should never forget it.
But for all the progress we’ve seen in recent years, we must remember that the world remains a very dangerous place. Since the Cold War ended, new challenges to American interests have emerged–ethnic conflict, religious extremism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the growing threat of international terrorists in the states who sponsor them. And the international community must do more to isolate the states that sponsor terrorist attacks, states like Libya and Iran and Iraq. And the fight against international terrorism can only be one with American leadership, American leadership, leadership that sets a firm and consistent course understood by friends and foe alike. That’s what leadership is all about.
Leadership that works with allies around the world, who are also threatened by terrorists, and the tragedy in Saudi Arabia on June 25 reminded all of us that there are states and movements willing to murder those who serve the United States in the cause of peace and freedom. Nineteen airmen gave their lives that day and many more were injured. And they and their families are in the prayers of all Americans, and of course, we don’t know exactly what was responsible for this latest outrage. The long list of suspects makes clear that there is no shortage of those willing to attack innocent people. But together as a nation, we resolve that the murders will be captured and brought to justice and they should be, and the punishment ought to be death.
And we must also resolve to keep America strong. If we are to meet the demands of freedom, modernizing our armed forces is a requirement, not an option, maintaining our technological edge is a requirement, not an option. And our goal is not just to be strong enough to turn back a threat. Our goal must always be strength to guarantee that no one, that no one is tempted to threaten us ever, ever again. That’s how strong we have to be.
My friends, as I, as I conclude, I want to just bring you a personal message. I thought you would like to know that yesterday in Los Angeles, I visited one of the great Americans of our time and a native of Illinois, Dixon, Illinois, President Ronald Reagan.
(cheers and applause)
And President Reagan is strong and he’s happy, and as ever, he loves America as much as America loves him. And he has a wonderful way of summing up what this country means to people around the world. He said, you can go to China, but you won’t become Chinese, and you can go to France, but you won’t become French, and you can go to England, but you won’t become English, but you can come to America, and you can always be an American. That’s the difference. You can come to America and always be an American.
And maybe, maybe that’s the best tribute of all. Even with our different backgrounds, different faiths, different points of view, we still know that in our hearts that we are one American, one nation under God indivisible, a nation that will always hold high the torch of liberty, a nation that will continue to show a watching world what it means to dream and build on an heroic scale. We are a nation of ideals whose greatest days always lie ahead. They’re always in the future. And I would say to this audience here today there is no place like America, there is no place on earth like America. This is America, right today is America, the 4th of July is America, this is America.
And the future of America is in your hands. And you will make important decisions, and you will make important choices, and you will think about your children, and you will think about your grandchildren. And when you do, the choice you make on November 5, 1996 will be Bob Dole for President, Bob Dole for President, Bob Dole for President. (applause)