|GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH|
August 3, 2000
The GOP presidential nominee remarks on the president's purpose and the spirit of true leadership.
"Sharing and Caring Hands"
We will give low-income Americans tax credits to buy the private health insurance they need and deserve. We will transform today's housing rental program to help hundreds of thousands of low-income families find stability and dignity in a home of their own.
And, in the next bold step of welfare reform, we will support the heroic work of homeless shelters and hospices, food pantries and crisis pregnancy centers -- people reclaiming their communities block-by-block and heart-by-heart.
I think of Mary Jo Copeland, whose ministry called "Sharing and Caring Hands" serves 1,000 meals a week in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Each day, Mary Jo washes the feet of the homeless, then sends them off with new socks and shoes.
"Look after your feet," she tells them . .. "They must carry you a long way in this world, and then all the way to God."
Government cannot do this work. It can feed the body, but it cannot reach the soul. Yet government can take the side of these groups, helping the helper, encouraging the inspired.
My administration will give taxpayers new incentives to donate to charity, encourage after-school programs that build character, and support mentoring groups that shape and save young lives.
We must give our children a spirit of moral courage, because their character is our destiny.
We must tell them, with clarity and confidence, that drugs and alcohol can destroy you, and bigotry disfigures the heart. Our schools must support the ideals of parents, elevating character and abstinence from afterthoughts to urgent goals.
We must help protect our children, in our schools and streets, by finally
and strictly enforcing our nation's gun laws.
A spirit of moral courage
I will lead our nation toward a culture that values life -- the life of the elderly and the sick, the life of the young, and the life of the unborn.
I know good people disagree on this issue, but surely we can agree on ways to value life by promoting adoption and parental notification, and when Congress sends me a bill against partial-birth abortion, I will sign it into law.
Behind every goal I have talked about tonight is a great hope for our country.
A hundred years from now, this must not be remembered as an age rich
in possessions and poor in ideals.
My generation tested limits -- and our country, in some ways, is better for it.
Women are now treated more equally. Racial progress has been steady, if still too slow. We are learning to protect the natural world around us.
We will continue this progress, and we will not turn back. At times, we lost our way. But we are coming home. So many of us held our first child, and saw a better self reflected in her eyes.
And in that family love, many have found the sign and symbol of an even greater love, and have been touched by faith.
We have discovered that who we are is more important than what we have. And we know we must renew our values to restore our country. This is the vision of America's founders.
They never saw our nation's greatness in rising wealth or advancing armies, but in small, unnumbered acts of caring and courage and self-denial.
Their highest hope, as Robert Frost described it, was "to occupy the land with character." And that, 13 generations later, is still our goal ... to occupy the land with character.
In a responsibility era, each of us has important tasks -- work that only we can do. Each of us is responsible ... to love and guide our children, and help a neighbor in need.
Synagogues, churches and mosques are responsible ... not only to worship but to serve. Corporations are responsible ... to treat their workers fairly, and leave the air and waters clean.
A president's responsibilities
Our nation's leaders are responsible ... to confront problems, not pass them on to others.
And to lead this nation to a responsibility era, a president himself must be responsible.
And so, when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not only uphold the laws of our land, I will swear to uphold the honor and dignity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God.
I believe the presidency -- the final point of decision in the American government -- was made for great purposes.
It is the office of Lincoln's conscience and Teddy Roosevelt's energy and Harry Truman's integrity and Ronald Reagan's optimism.
For me, gaining this office is not the ambition of a lifetime, but it IS the opportunity of a lifetime.
And I will make the most of it. I believe great decisions are made with care, made with conviction, not made with polls.
I do not need to take your pulse before I know my own mind. I do not reinvent myself at every turn. I am not running in borrowed clothes.
When I act, you will know my reasons ...When I speak, you will know my heart. I believe in tolerance, not in spite of my faith, but because of it.
I believe in a God who calls us, not to judge our neighbors, but to love them. I believe in grace, because I have seen it ... In peace, because I have felt it ... In forgiveness, because I have needed it.
I believe true leadership is a process of addition, not an act of division. I will not attack a part of this country, because I want to lead the whole of it.
And I believe this will be a tough race, down to the wire. Their war room is up and running ... but we are ready. Their attacks will be relentless ... but they will be answered.
We are facing something familiar, but they are facing something new.
We are now the party of ideas and innovation ... The party of idealism and inclusion.
The party of a simple and powerful hope ...
My fellow citizens, we can begin again. After all of the shouting, and all of the scandal. After all of the bitterness and broken faith. We can begin again.
The wait has been long, but it won't be long now. A prosperous nation is ready to renew its purpose and unite behind great goals ... and it won't be long now.
Our nation must renew the hopes of that boy I talked with in jail, and so many like him... and it won't be long now. Our country is ready for high standards and new leaders ... and it won't be long now.
Ending "an era of tarnished ideals"
An era of tarnished ideals is giving way to a responsibility era ... and it won't be long now. I know how serious the task is before me.
I know the presidency is an office that turns pride into prayer. But I am eager to start on the work ahead.
And I believe America is ready for a new beginning. My friend, the artist Tom Lea of El Paso, captured the way I feel about our great land.
He and his wife, he said, "live on the east side of the mountain ...
It is the sunrise side, not the sunset side. It is the side to see the day that is coming ... not the side to see the day that is gone."
Americans live on the sunrise side of mountain. The night is passing. And we are ready for the day to come.
Thank you. And God bless you.