Thank you. Praise God. Good evening.
The first thing I want to do
But in the midst of it all, I had a comfort which sadly we know was at that moment denied to our Lord
Now, I would say a good deal more, but if I don't let her sit down and get out of the public eye here, she is going to never let me forget it. [turns to Jocelyn] So you may sit down. Thank you. [laughs]
I have to tell you that there is a description in the Old Testament, as you know, of the perfect wife and all her virtues. I often read it over and realize that God did know Jocelyn long before she got here. I am blessed.
Do you know what I want to do tonight? I know it would be customary on this evening to spend a good deal of time talking to you all about all the failings of my opponent and all my virtues, and so forth. And to tell you the honest truth, I would spend a good deal of time talking about all the failings of my opponent, but I know you all want to get home sometime this evening.
All right, I had to get that one out. And I had to do it because during the course of the debate when the moderator
But I will confess that it was one of the moments during the campaign when I had been perhaps a little less than forthright
And there were times, even during the debate, itself, the particular moment I remember is when he was talking about his record, and he said at one point that he was responsible for the most successful welfare program in the country in Illinois, and had cut the welfare rolls in half. And even as he said it, I thought, "Why, that is a breathtaking achievement!"
And so, when I got back, I asked my folks to check it out. Well, it turned out that the welfare reform in Illinois had actually started with a pilot project under the auspices of Donna Shalala, then the Clinton administration, which started it out, and then on July 3, 1996, the major welfare reform package that is the basis for the kind of changes that occurred in Illinois, July 3, 1996, it was signed into law by then-Governor Jim Edgar, a Republican who shared the spotlight with Democrat leaders, Republican leaders, a whole slew of folks who had finally come together to agree on that welfare reform package, which was then implemented later in legislation in 1997.
But on July 3, 1996, guess who was not even a member of the Illinois senate!
Now, I suppose I could spend my time this evening asking how it is that someone who wasn't even a member of the senate can claim full and sole responsibility for a welfare reform package that was put in place before he got there.
This is the kind of conundrum that we will be called upon to figure out before we go vote this Tuesday.
But see, I could spend my time doing that
I could go on this evening. I could ask how they could vote for someone who will vote in order to give a so-called right to take innocent life in the womb. I could ask about that.
I could ask how they could vote for someone who would sit in the Illinois senate and stand against the legislation that will stop the killing of fully-born babies after abortion procedures. I could ask about that.
I could ask about somebody who goes into the Christian churches and says that he's for traditional marriage, and then goes into the gay community to declare his opposition to every single measure that is needed to defend traditional marriage from the assault of our tyrannical courts! I could spend my time doing that.
But no, I don't think I will.
I don't think that that would be the best use of my time this evening. Do you mind? Because I would like to disabuse folks of the notion that when you go to the polls on Tuesday that the aim of all our work is that we should vote against wicked policies and evil positions. They are there. But it should be taken for granted that we will not be part of them.
That is especially true of people of Christian conscience, of people who call themselves Evangelicals and Baptists and Catholics and Lutherans and profess that they shall live their name and be the people of God, because the Second Commandment does say, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."
When are Christian folks going to remember that every time you call yourself a Christian, you invoke the name of God, and that if you then walk a walk that does not reflect the presence of Christ in your life, cast a vote that does not reflect the presence of Christ in your life, then you are taking the name of the Lord your God in vain?
I shouldn't have to remind you of that. And so I won't.
Instead, tonight, I would like to spend a few minutes talking about the future that we shall build together after our victory on Tuesday.
I have to say, over the course of the last several days, I have restrained myself from thinking too hard about what that victory will imply, because you have to concentrate on the matters at hand. I never like to take things for granted or be presumptuous about what God's will may be. But I think I owe it to all the work that has been done by the decent-hearted people of conscience throughout the state of Illinois
God bless you all!
They have been in the neighborhoods and in the workplace and in the train stations. They have passed out the literature, they have faced first the doubt and then the revilement, and finally the curiosity and then the acceptance of their fellow citizens. And they have made the difference.
And I think I owe it to all of you and to all who have done this work to spend a minute or two thinking about what we shall have accomplished.
I think there are many people in this state first who understand that we have been in the stranglehold, in the shadow of an ugly, cynical regime of political corruption. And a lot of people will stand forward and say, "We ought to do something about the corruption! We ought to stop this and stop that," in some political ploy. You and I both know that there is only one cure for a heart of corruption, and that is a heart of truth! That there is only one way to move out of the shadow of wickedness and evil, and that is to stand in the sunlight of our acknowledgment of God and His will and our allegiance to the truth on which this nation was founded!
And all the work that we have done in these past weeks will, on Tuesday, announce once for all that that shadow is gone
But that, too, will only be a beginning, because our aim is to reestablish an idea of liberty in America that will then unleash in this new century, in this new millennium, will then unleash a new the great spirit that by the grace of God exists in the people of our country.
I think that that spirit has really been suppressed, sadly, over the course of the last several decades
I want your vote to mean that once and for you will acknowledge that the leaders of America are to be her people, that the strength of America is to be her families, that the strength of America is not found in the power of her government, it is found in the faith of her people
And from all that bondage, from all those chains upon the mind, upon the spirit, upon the heart of self-respect and decency, we will let the people of this state, the people of this nation go. We shall free them from their bonds of dependency in order to renew the meaning of real self-government.
In our neighborhoods, and in our cities, and in our towns, and counties, and in our state, and then by our example, all throughout our country, we shall let the people go!
I see a day coming in this nation, when we shall once again have schools in which our children sit down in order to learn, and get up in order to serve, because they are able to start each and every day with a prayer in heart and mind that invokes the presence and will of their Creator, God. I see that day.
I see the day when those schools shall no longer be in bondage to bureaucrats and educrats and politicians, but instead shall be led and shaped and nourished and governed by the responsible heart of the parents of those children, empowered by their control over the money that makes that education possible!
And I see it happening. I see it happening, not just here and there. I realize Barack Obama instructed me the other day in the final debate that, I didn't realize this, but it turns out that even a socialist and liberal like himself, he has a concept of school choice. I saw it in evidence in the debate.
Oh, he does! Why are you laughing?
I don't understand this. He had a concept of school choice. I thought, in fact, that his use of words during the debate was quite instructive, when the moderator asked him a simple question. Now, you did realize, didn't you, some point in the course in the debate, I bet it struck to people who were watching that the moderator wasn't really a friend of mine.
But nonetheless, he was serving up some really tough softballs to my opponent, and one of the toughest questions that he got in the evening was the question of where he sent his children to school. That's a hard one. That's one that required long experience, deep reflection; complex issue of policy that he had to grapple with for a long time.
But no, actually it turned out he didn't
And in this he followed, along with many other people who were on the faculty over there at the university, and so forth and so on, that they thought this was best for their kids. And I just sat there marveling. I said, "Barack Obama believes in school choice?"
Now, admittedly, when I examined his record, it is usually the case with him that he believes in school choice over here, but then over here he has voted against all the measures that would extend the same choice to all the other families in Illinois who don't have the privilege of being on the faculty at the university.
But I had to allow as how he believes in school choice, so long as it's for his family and his children.
Well, I see the day when the real principle of choice for all families and all children in Illinois will transform the quality of education throughout our state! I see the day when that real school choice, allowing the money that we spend on education to follow the choice of the parents, when it is going to overcome one of the most scandalous realities in education in this state
And it will end. It will end on the day when every single parent throughout this state knows that they are empowered to spend exactly the same amount per capita on their child, wherever they send them school. And that is going to mean an explosion of creativity. See, some people don't have the imagination to see where we go with that, but I know where we go. It's not only a question that some people will send their children to existing schools. C'mon, y'all. This is America.
Do you know what happens in America when you give people control over their own resources? They don't just come up with the old stuff; they come up with new stuff. Isn't that beautiful? That's Americans, for you.
And you know where it's going to come from, mainly? It's going to come from the kind of thing
It does make it hard for me to see how they can make it a scandal when I leave, since they haven't been willing to tell people that I'm here.
But anyway. I was off in Florida last night because I had made a commitment to help raise funds for a Christian school down in Florida. And if I hadn't gone, they would have been in serious financial trouble, and I didn't want to cause them a problem just because I had at one point wanted to help them out. That didn't seem like it was good: causing problems to people when you're trying to help them out, or when they're trying to help you out. That doesn't seem quite decent and courteous, does it? Does that seem courteous to you? No.
Would you mind doing me a favor, though? Could you all
You will forgive me, I hope. I haven't said much about it in the last several weeks, but you will forgive me if I notice that not everybody has been as helpful as they might.
And some have even been like folks who, when the fire engines come into the neighborhood to put the fire out, they stand on the street corners hurling bottles and stones and anything else that comes into their hands at the people who are trying to fight the fire.
Last time I looked, I had been asked to come into Illinois to help out with a problem, and I had barely gotten here before certain of the leaders in the Republican Party started hurling brickbats and stones at me, and so forth and so on, and their whole purpose was to get me to stop talking about the one or two issues that would do the most harm to the Democrat Party.
That seems like strange behavior for Republicans.
But why would it do the most harm? Because I'm saying something against them? No. They'll do the most harm because the Democrat leadership has betrayed the faith and values of its most loyal supporters. That's why
And then what have we seen? Did the Democrats show respect for that faith? Did they show respect for the faithful hearts that cherish the life of innocent children in the womb? Did they show respect for the faithful hearts that will stand by God's plan for the family, no matter what, because those are the words of the scriptures? No, they did not.
Instead, they have gone down a road of policy that day after day, more and more has declared war upon the values of faith, declared war upon the truths of our scripture, declared war even upon our right to call sin, sin
I can understand why it is that some of the leaders on the Democrat side would be unhappy: "Alan Keyes is coming in here, he's going to talk about how we're going to stop traditional marriage. Stop him! He's coming in here, talking about how abortion is going to wipe out the black community. Stop him!"
I can understand why Democrats want me to stop talking about those things. Somebody will have to explain to me
See, I don't know where that comes from. Do you all? But I know this: I think some folks in this state have begun to notice that I wear a Republican label proudly, but my heart belongs to God!
I don't care which powers that be, in the Democrat or the Republican Party, are offended by it. I will stand with all my heart for the things that God requires me to say and to do and to believe and to practice, no matter what.
But I think there are a lot of folks, and I was looking at them yesterday in Florida, they pay taxes. A lot of folks in Illinois do the same. I was talking to a fellow who works for Ford motor company one day over dinner at, I think it's Dusty's, the wonderful
And that's where I think we have a problem, because if you're on the faculty over at the university or in some other position where maybe you don't notice it as much, maybe you can afford to pay twice
And what they would pay for gladly is what these folks have put together, and what others right here in our state have put together. Out of the might and main of their hearts, they are putting together education based upon faith in God, based upon teachers committed to share that gospel truth, along with all the knowledge that the children need to deal with the math and the reading the science, but they understand that all those things are tools, and that those tools must be used in light of the truth imparted to heart and conscience by the presence of our Lord.
And can you imagine when church communities will be able to come together? Maybe the large ones on their own, maybe others by the tens or even hundreds, and they will pool the resources that come because the money we as a public spend on education follow that choice. Maybe it will be 75,000 per student
I see a day when those schools will flourish all over Illinois in neighborhoods now blighted by schools in which children are not achieving according to their God-given potential, because they cannot give back to God the praise and honor that He is due.
But it's not only in the area of education that I think such things transform. We have lived under the shadow of this terrible regime of abortion for so many years, and I don't know if we quite think through exactly what it's doing. I have often told people, it hardens the hearts of America. It hardens the hearts of parents against their children.
And I don't mean just, by the way, the terrible scars that can be left on the heart of a mother
And she will be haunted by the lie, and she will be haunted by the truth. And somewhere underneath it all, her heart will harden against it, or it will break. But there is no in between.
We've thought about that, I think. It's why I work so hard with crisis pregnancy centers, because they represent the heart that can walk with people, not only to make a choice that will respect life, but if, perchance, you have been misled by the lies, then there are people who will walk with you to deal with the broken heart
But you know what we haven't thought about so much? We haven't enough thought about what abortion is doing to fathers' hearts in America.
I believe that a father's heart will be responsible by virtue of the true mechanisms that have been writ on his heart by the finger of God. They don't need government, they just need love. That's all they need.
But what have we done? What have we done, with abortion?
With abortion, we have hardened the hearts of fathers. We have hardened them, how? Because that child growing in the womb, I know this, and any father who has even been through the experience knows that long before the child comes into the world, it is already penetrating your heart. Long before it ever appears, you have already held it in your arms. You have already spoken to the child. And you have already held and nurtured the tot. A matter of fact, long before it comes into the world, you have already played with the child. You have introduced the child to your favorite music and your favorite movies, and you've given the child that book you've loved since you were in high school, and you've done all those things that you dream of doing.
You've played with the child and watched the child play soccer and basketball and baseball, and do all the things they love. You have joyed with them and laughed with them and grieved, as you know you must. Long before they come, they have already been knit to you with a bond that grows in prospect in the imagination of your heart.
And you know what we do now? We have told every father in America that they must stop that dreaming, because at any moment by a decision in which they cannot participate, the life of that child can be brought to an end. We have told the father that in the womb you have no part in the child's life. In the womb you must repress that instinct which is in every fiber of your being, to jump, to spring to the defense of the life of that child, even if it costs you your own!
That heart that is the very heart of the father's love, we pound it down. We crush it. We force the door to be shut against it and locked and fastened with iron chains!
And having hardened the heart of the father and shut the door against the loving instinct God has implanted that would knit up that bond between the heart of the father and the life of the child in the womb
We ought to thank God for the miracle that still sustains the loving hearts of any fathers in this country, when we have invited all of them to harden their hearts against the life that grows in the womb,
See, who is thinking about this? Now, I would tell you that if I were to make one statement and one statement only, they asked me what do I think is the most praiseworthy thing about Barack Obama, and I tried to say something nice
I see the day when we will be relieved of that burden, when we will have once again declared our respect for the life of the child in the womb, when we will have placed once again in the hands of our communities of faith this challenge: to bring mothers and fathers back together in the presence of their child's life, to swear allegiance again to childbearing and childrearing and the future of our humanity
It can be done. And that's the future that we're working for.
And when that partnership is restored, many of the problems that have come
This is the future that I see.
Once you have restored that partnership, you've restored the real basis for success in economic life. The real ladder out of poverty, the first rungs of it are the rungs of family life. And they then become the basis for achievement in education, and that then becomes the basis not just for getting the job, but starting and sustaining the business. And it also becomes a heart for sharing the fruits of that basis with your community.
It's one of the things I've often wondered about. I remember when I was asked about reparations at the beginning of this campaign, and gave the answer about relieving black Americans of slave heritage of the burden of taxation, one of the first questions that the malicious, mischievous media asked was, "Well, would somebody like Oprah Winfrey or Bill Cosby not have to pay federal taxes?" and they thought this was scandalous. You know, "Those 'rich people' wouldn't have to pay taxes?"
And I thought to myself, have we entirely forgotten what rich people are for?
No, no. You laugh. Rich people serve a purpose, and I don't mean that it's just when they spend money
And through that community, that heart will endow the bank, the bank will endow the business, the business will create the jobs, the jobs will endow the families, and through it all people will be responsible for themselves, governing themselves, living in liberty, not in enslavement to bureaucrats and politicians manipulating patronage in order to destroy their lives.
That is a future we can realize.
And it is in the name of that future that we work. And that future will be more decent and stronger and more orderly, and it will reflect the true meaning of freedom
This is the hope that I would have for America. It's the hope that would rebuild the prospects of Illinois.
They want me to stop talking about this hope. But I can't.
Because, over the years, I have seen all the failures, I have seen the trillions of dollars go down the drain to leave us with people still living in decaying public housing, to see people still blighted in communities where there are vacant lots instead of thriving businesses, where the politicians and a few elitists gain the power and the choice, and the people are left to be pawns upon the board of their ambition.
This is not the America that I learned about when I grew up. It's not the America that my forebears fought to become a part of as full citizens. It is an America in which we have betrayed the best idea, the better ideals, the best hope, the better destiny of our people.
And you see, what we're working for in this campaign is that, beginning here in Illinois, that betrayal will end, and we shall keep faith. We shall keep faith with the best principles and better hopes of our people.
That's the positive truth. See, the folks in the media, they had listened to my words, which they distorted, and they tried to portray me as some sort of inflammatory person. It's remarkable what's inflammatory in America today. It's inflammatory if you suggest that we ought to let God influence our decisions as citizens. That's inflammatory. It's inflammatory if, as a Christian, you cite and look for the example of Christ before you cast your vote. That's inflammatory. I, frankly, think that's necessary, but they think it's inflammatory.
It's especially inflammatory if you give accurate descriptions of sinful behavior, because then somebody might feel it as a reproach. Well, I'm sorry, y'all. Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
So, if you talk about sin accurately, it's going to sound like a reproach, even if it's just a description. But that's "inflammatory." Can't do that.
And it did occur to me, though, that in the midst of all these things where you had to wake people up and get them to realize we must stop doing evil
But then He says something more. He says that we must learn to do good. We must learn to reestablish the bonds that connect man and woman and family life. We must learn to reestablish the sense of obligation and selflessness that ties parents to the future of their children that they will not live to see, but which every day they will build with loving hands, so that their children can pass on the love to new generations.
We must learn to do the good that will establish in schools a foundation that will share the truth of our nation's principle and our hearts of faith with new generations who can spread them to the world. We must learn to do good through businesses and workplaces in which we will spread not just the wealth and the prosperity, but the sense of discipline and self-respect and sharing that becomes the foundation for this nation's opportunity to do such good throughout the world.
We must learn to do good, by restoring a sense of that heritage without which we cannot preserve because we do not understand our liberty.
And this campaign has been about that, too. And as we fulfill this promise, as we help this nation to turn away from its path of wrong-doing in violation of its own principles, toward a path of well-doing in respect of its right principles, we shall restore hope, and we shall restore life, and we shall restore our people to a path that corresponds to the destiny we truly offer to men and women throughout the world.
For, we have come, haven't we, from every place and every people, from every nation and every climate and every creed. We have gathered in this new world in order to build a life of new hope under a banner that respect justice for every individual, even as it builds decency for the whole community.
This is the path that America trods when it looks to God for His will, and to the future in hope because we are a people free by virtue of His will. And in that freedom, we can share that hope
And in doing that, we shall indeed be what Reagan saw: a city on a hill.
But we shall be lit not by the light of our own pride, but by the light of God's grace and His truth and His mercy. And as John F. Kennedy said, the glow from His mercy, that fire will truly light the world.
God bless you.