I dont believe in labels. I want to do the best I can, all the time. I want to be progressive without getting both feet off the ground at the same time. I want to be prudent without having my mind closed to anything that is new or different. I have often said that I was proud that I was a free man first and an American second, and a public servant third and a Democrat fourth, in that order, and I guess as a Democrat, if I had to takeplace a label on myself, I would want to be a progressive who is prudent.
Every child must be encouraged to get as much education as he has the ability to take. We want this not only for his sakebut for the nations sake. Nothing matters more to the future of our country: not military preparednessfor armed might is worthless if we lack the brain power to build a world of peace; not our productive economyfor we cannot sustain growth without trained manpower; not our democratic system of governmentfor freedom is fragile if citizens are ignorant.
The men who have guided the destiny of the United States have found the strength for their tasks by going to their knees. This private unity of public men and their God is an enduring source of reassurance for the people of America.
I pray we are still a young and courageous nation, that we have not grown so old and so fat and so prosperous that all we can think about is to sit back with our arms around our money bags. If we choose to do that I have no doubt that the smoldering fires will burst into flame and consume us -- dollars and all.
As it was 189 years ago, so today the cause of America is a revolutionary cause. And I am proud this morning to salute you as fellow revolutionaries. Neither you nor I are willing to accept the tyranny of poverty, nor the dictatorship of ignorance, nor the despotism of ill health, nor the oppression of bias and prejudice and bigotry. We want change. We want progress. We want it both abroad and at homeand we aim to get it.
In Asia we face an ambitious and aggressive China, but we have the will and we have the strength to help our Asian friends resist that ambition. Sometimes our folks get a little impatient. Sometimes they rattle their rockets some, and they bluff about their bombs. But we are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.
Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country: to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man. Because all Americans just must have the right to vote. And we are going to give them that right. All Americans must have the privileges of citizenship regardless of race. And they are going to have those privileges of citizenship regardless of race.
In the Great Society, work shall be an outlet for mans interests and desires. Each individual shall have full opportunity to use his capacities in employment which satisfies personally and contributes generally to the quality of the Nations life.
The American city should be a collection of communities where every member has a right to belong. It should be a place where every man feels safe on his streets and in the house of his friends. It should be a place where each individuals dignity and self-respect is strengthened by the respect and affection of his neighbors. It should be a place where each of us can find the satisfaction and warmth which comes from being a member of the community of man. This is what man sought at the dawn of civilization. It is what we seek today.
I hope that you of the IPA will go out into the hinterland and rouse the masses and blow the bugles and tell them that the hour has arrived and their day is here; that we are on the march against the ancient enemies and we are going to be successful.
In the last few decades entire new categories of waste have come to plague and menace the American scene. Pollution is growing at a rapid rate. Pollution destroys beauty and menaces health. It cuts down on efficiency, reduces property values and raises taxes. Almost all these wastes and pollutions are the result of activities carried on for the benefit of man. A prime national goal must be an environment that is pleasing to the senses and healthy to live in. Our Government is already doing much in this field. We have made significant progress. But more must be done.
Europe has been at peace since 1945. But it is a restless peace thats shadowed by the threat of violence. Europe is partitioned. An unnatural line runs through the heart of a very great and a very proud nation [Germany]. History warns us that until this harsh division has been resolved, peace in Europe will never be secure. We must turn to one of the great unfinished tasks of our generationand that unfinished task is making Europe whole again.
The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization. The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time. But that is just the beginning. The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents. It is a place where leisure is a welcome chance to build and reflect, not a feared cause of boredom and restlessness. It is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community. It is a place where man can renew contact with nature. It is a place which honors creation for its own sake and for what it adds to the understanding of the race. It is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goals than the quantity of their goods. But most of all, the Great Society is not a safe harbor, a resting place, a final objective, a finished work. It is a challenge constantly renewed, beckoning us toward a destiny where the meaning of our lives matches the marvelous products of our labor.
I believe that the essence of government lies with unceasing concern for the welfare and dignity and decency and innate integrity of life for every individual. I dont like to say this and wish I didnt have to add these words to make it clear but I willregardless of color, creed, ancestry, sex or age.
The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents. It is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community. It is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goals than the quantity of their goods.
The hungry world cannot be fed until and unless the growth of its resources and the growth of its population come into balance. Each man and woman-and each nation --must make decisions of conscience and policy in the face of this great problem.