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Susan Taylor Martin
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'Our nation today needs vision'
By Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 4, 2000
Highlights of Texas Gov. George W. Bush's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention:
This is a remarkable moment in the life of our nation. Never has the promise of prosperity been so vivid. But times of plenty, like times of crisis, are tests of American character.
Prosperity can be a tool in our hands -- used to build and better our country. Or it can be a drug in our system -- dulling our sense of urgency, of empathy, of duty.
Our opportunities are too great, our lives too short, to waste this moment. So tonight we vow to our nation: We will seize this moment of American promise.
We will use these good times for great goals.
We will confront the hard issues -- threats to our national security, threats to our health and retirement security -- before the challenges of our time become crises for our children.
And we will extend the promise of prosperity to every forgotten corner of this country.
Our current president embodied the potential of a generation. So many talents. So much charm. Such great skill. But, in the end, to what end?
So much promise, to no great purpose.
Social Security has been called the "third rail of American politics" -- the one you're not supposed to touch because it shocks you.
But, if you don't touch it, you can't fix it. And I intend to fix it.
To seniors in this country: You earned your benefits, you made your plans, and President George W. Bush will keep the promise of Social Security. No changes, no reductions, no way.
Another test of leadership is tax relief.
The last time taxes were this high as a percentage of our economy, there was a good reason -- we were fighting World War II.
Today, our high taxes fund a surplus. Some say that growing federal surplus means Washington has more money to spend.
But they've got it backward.
The surplus is not the government's money. The surplus is the people's money.
I will use this moment of opportunity to bring common sense and fairness to the tax code. And I will act on principle.
On principle, every family, every farmer and small businessperson, should be free to pass on their life's work to those they love. So we will abolish the death tax.
On principle, no one in America should have to pay more than a third of their income to the federal government.
Too many American children are segregated into schools without standards, shuffled from grade to grade because of their age, regardless of their knowledge.
This is discrimination, pure and simple -- the soft bigotry of low expectations.
And our nation should treat it like other forms of discrimination. We should end it.
One size does not fit all when it comes to educating our children, so local people should control local schools.
And those who spend your tax dollars must be held accountable.
When a school district receives federal funds to teach poor children, we expect them to learn. And if they don't, parents should get the money to make a different choice.
Now is the time to make Head Start an early learning program, teach all our children to read, and renew the promise of America's public schools.
When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming.
I will work to reduce nuclear weapons and nuclear tension in the world -- to turn these years of influence into decades of peace.
And, at the earliest possible date, my administration will deploy missile defenses to guard against attack and blackmail. Now is the time, not to defend outdated treaties, but to defend the American people.
On Al Gore
A time of prosperity is a test of vision. And our nation today needs vision.
That is a fact -- or as my opponent might call it, a "risky truth scheme."
Every one of the proposals I've talked about tonight, he has called a "risky scheme," over and over again. It is the sum of his message -- the politics of the roadblock, the philosophy of the stop sign.
If my opponent had been there at the moon launch, it would have been a "risky rocket scheme." If he'd been there when Edison was testing the light bulb, it would have been a "risky anti-candle scheme." And if he'd been there when the Internet was invented well . . . I understand he actually was there for that.
He now leads the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But the only thing he has to offer is fear itself.
That outlook is typical of many in Washington -- always seeing the tunnel at the end of the light.
But I come from a different place, and it has made me a different leader.
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.
Big government is not the answer. But the alternative to bureaucracy is not indifference. It is to put conservative values and conservative ideas into the thick of the fight for justice and opportunity. This is what I mean by compassionate conservatism. And on this ground we will govern our nation.
The sunrise side
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.
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