Two Y2K


Address by JOHN ASHCROFT, United States Senator from Missouri Delivered to the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy Fundraiser, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, March 26, 1999

How nice of you to welcome me. I am delighted to be here with you. I just kind of got the flavor of Jerry's remarks that this is predominantly Republican. It's not that I don't think that there are both Republicans and Democrats in heaven. I have heard that as a matter of fact one fellow went to heaven and knocked on the door. St. Peter opened the door and said, "What's your name?" He said, "My name is James Smith." St. Peter said, "Well, are you a Republican or Democrat?" He said, "I didn't know you would ask about that." St. Peter said, "Well, we do." The man said, "I'm a Republican, a life-long Republican. I've always been and always will be a good Republican." St. Peter said, "That's enough. We just need to ask. We have a little test we have to give you. Spell the word love." The man said, "L-O-V-E" St. Peter said, "You're in." Suddenly the phone rang and St. Peter said to Mr. Smith, "I hate to do this to you, but I'm supposed to be in the throne room right now. Would you cover the Gate for me for a minute? I've got to run." A knock came at the door and it was Frank Westbrook. Mr. Smith said, "We'll see if your name is in the book. Yes, Frank Westbrook, your name is in the book. Are you a Republican or a Democrat? We've got to ask you that." Frank Westbrook said, "Well, I'm a Democrat. I've always been a Democrat." Mr. Smith said, "Good. We just have one thing. You have to spell a word for us. Spell Czechoslovakia!"

I assume that there'll be both kinds, but I think that there will be more of one than the other and it may not be just on the basis of the spelling. I am glad to be here and I am glad to be out of Washington, D.C. One of my colleagues says, perhaps most aggressively, "I really like the way Washington, D.C. looks-in the rear view mirror." After you spend the kind of time we've spent this week, working on the budget and a number of other things it's a pleasure to be back in America. It's a pleasure to have a chance to talk with people who care enough about government to make sure that we responsibly conduct it so that the opportunities that people have actually flourish.

The business of government is to create and maintain an environment of growth, not for government, but it's a place where people can grow, where enterprises can grow, where citizens can grow, where corporations can grow. It's not that we would grow bureaucracy, but that we would grow individuals.

It's with that in mind that I think you should ask your public servants to make sure that happens. I have to tell you that Rick Santorum, my good friend who went to Washington the same year that I did, is a person really committed to that idea. Whenever I need advice about one thing or another or I'm unsure about one thing or another, I lean toward Rick and ask him to help me. He'll help me do virtually anything except beat him in tennis. He likes to get up at 6:30 in the morning and just take apart anybody who dares to stand on the other side of the net. As you know Rick is a very reticent fellow. Not really-he's an aggressive representer of your interests. I know your senior Senator here is more of a squash player than a tennis player, but when it comes to tennis, it's Rick Santorum. I wanted to thank Rick for his special friendship to me, given the fact that we're in the same class.

There are unfolding for many of us as we approach the next millenium, as we approach the next century, a series and variety of challenges. I think it behooves us to look at ourselves and to ask ourselves profound questions in that setting to make sure that we have the kind of policy and the kind of outcomes from what we do governmentally that will enhance that capacity of individuals to grow.

America is perhaps unique among nations as a place where we have always found ourselves in a setting of ascending opportunity. That's not accidental. We have ascending opportunity each generation having things better and a greater and broader potential in this country not because that is automatic, but because it's part and parcel of the way this country was organized.

Most societies and most groups of individuals feel that they got their rights from some civil authority. As a result, the civil authority being the grantor of their rights has the capacity to impose on those individuals the values that the civil authority expects people to embrace.

The United States of America has a different orientation. If you go to the fundamental founding documents of this country, you find eloquent language that expresses a totally different point of view. "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

When you understand that you don't owe your rights to the civil authority, but you owe your rights to the Creator, it gives you the capacity to say that the business of America is not that the values of Washington would be imposed on the people or that the values of the central government would be imposed on America. It gives you the authority and capacity to do what other cultures haven't done, which is to demand that the rights of the people be imposed on the government. That's a fundamental value flow in this culture that's been very important-that the rights of the people be imposed on government gives us a capacity to have people tailor solutions to meet the kind of challenges that they are confronted with in their own communities. We don't have the same kind of centrism; we don't have the same kind of mandate from the central government in America that is so characteristic of other cultures. We have the capacity of the people to demand of government an adherence to and an understanding of the needs for freedom in the culture. It's been very, very important to the way America has developed. America's development has been this development of ascending opportunity. It's something we want to continue.

My grandfather came to this country about a hundred years ago. He changed his name and changed ships on which he was sailing as a teenager in order to leave the ship that was going to return to Norway and to sail beneath the uplifted lamp of the Statue of Liberty in New York's harbor. When he came as a teenager, he couldn't read the words on the base of the statue, Emma Lazarus' poem, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free; the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless tempest tossed, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." But he knew what the lifted lamp was about. It was the concept that each generation of Americans continue to hold to the values and the central value being that we impose the values of the people on government, not the values of government being imposed on the people. If we would adhere to those values, this ascending range of opportunities would mean that he, a grade school dropout, could have a daughter who would be a high school graduate who would have a son, his grandson, who could be the state auditor, the state attorney general, the governor and the senator from the state of Missouri. That's not just a cherished ambition and aspiration of my grandfather. It's part and parcel of the definition of America.

America is not best defined geographically by the fact that we're between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Nor is it best defined demographically that we've come from every nation. Both of those things are true. But it is best defined conceptually by the idea that the best is yet to come. This is a culture-when it respects the imposition of the values of the people on government rather than the values of a central government on the people-in which there is an ascending level of opportunity and it is proper and appropriate to say the best is yet to come.

If you read DeTouqueville from 150 or so years ago, DeTouqueville didn't discover the greatness of America in the corridors of Congress or in the halls of the Judiciary. He didn't discover it in Washington, but he found it abroad in America. He said that it wasn't even in her commodious harbors, the kinds of things in the physical resources of the country because all countries have those resources. He found it in what he called, "the flaming pulpits of this country." He found it in the people.

This capacity to impose the values of the people on the government is an important value in this culture. So as we approach the next century, I think we want to ask ourselves perhaps a question more fundamental than any other: How do we maintain this definition of America that the best is yet to come? How does that persist as the defining phrase for this culture, not only through the next couple of years? How can we establish and maintain a structure so that a hundred years from now there are those thinking about America and still thinking, "Each generation of Americans has made the kind of sacrifice and commitment that make it possible for us to have an ascending level of opportunities."? That's the fundamental transcending question of American culture and particularly of American government at this time.

Now, there are lots of threats to our ability to do better and there are a lot of things that I think we would look at. One of the things that people are looking at these days is related to the fact that we are living in a new age. If steam was the driving force of the nineteenth century and the automotive industry defined the twentieth century, I think the information industry will define the next century. I expect that to be the case. But the principles and values that are important transcend these transitions from steam to automotive and to information.

Perhaps nobody exemplified the twentieth century more or influenced it more than Henry Ford. It was Henry Ford who in the teens got into the automotive industry. You'll remember this story. He cut the price of the car by two thirds. He took it from about $900 to $300. At the same time he doubled the wages of his employees. The <I>Wall Street Journal</I> wrote that he had confused the principles of the Bible with the principles of the business world and predicted his failure. They failed to understand his insight. He began to help define American culture with the mobility and freedom that the automobile brought. It wasn't that he invented the automobile. He simply helped make it available on a broad basis. But even Ford lost sight of some of the genius that would be required to sustain the capacity of America to do its best. It was in 1932 that Ford was quoted as saying, "You can have your Ford any color you want it so long as it's black." He had seventy-five percent of the market when he said that. By 1942 he had twenty-five percent of the market. He shortened the sentence to, "You can have your Ford any color you want it." That's simply a way of saying that one of the virtues that was discovered in this century, which we are closing now, was the capacity to tailor products to meet the specific needs of individuals -it's been a virtue of America for a long time, but it was reinforced industrially. If you wanted a car with a tan top and a brown bottom, even two tones, or leather upholstery versus fabric, or you know the myriad tailoring that can take place as you literally design a car yourself, it's not quite the car design capability that we have in the next generation of industry.

The computer industry is an interesting industry that has taken this a step further. You've talked to people who are familiar with computers. The Dell company will ask you, "What kind of needs do you have for your computer? How many people are in your household and how many people in your business? How do you want to use your computer?" And they build the computer. The customer is literally brought into the design of the computer and Dell, as you well know if you follow the stock market, is soaring in value because it understands this fundamental idea of American culture. We tailor; we take things to the local level. The consumer is the ultimate local consumer. When you let the consumer design the product to meet the need of the consumer, participate in the design, you meet the need in a way that is going to be rewarded in the marketplace. Dell stock has been one of those soaring stocks that has made millionaires out of what would otherwise be ordinary folks.

But there's a step beyond that and the understanding of this appropriate concept of tailoring. It's a company that spends a lot of time and money and energy in my state. You would recognize their boxes for the computers from a far greater distance than you would recognize the computer itself because the boxes have the black and white markings of the Holstein breed and that's Gateway. Gateway has understood something even more profound than the customer designing a computer. Gateway understands that the customer's needs not only need to be tailored to that computer, but they need to be retailored on a regular basis. So Gateway offers to customers the ability to design a computer over the phone and then says that for the right payments that you're going to have on a computer, every two years you redesign and retool to meet your needs. Now that's a profound way to market and understand that when we really meet needs we allow things to get to the most local level possible and we remediate pathologies.

We address challenges where the need is, where we can be most sensitive. That's a key to what we're going to see in the future of American government because I believe government will follow industry in this respect. Some of the great challenges that we're facing now in the computer industry relate to the Y2K problem. Heather Heidlebaugh has been so helpful to me and to the Institute in this respect and is an authority on Y2K problems. She has literally written the book which I had in my office in Washington, D. C., about how you can adjust your organization to make sure that your computers don't collapse and that your services don't cease based on their inclusion of chips that aren't appropriately programmed to recognize the year 2000. Of course this is the big challenge for the United States of America, big challenge for every culture.

There are two basic kinds of chips in this scenario. There are the ones that are in your computer that everyone knows where they are and what they are doing. Then there is what is called, "imbedded chips." Imbedded chips are things that are in machinery. You don't even perhaps know they are there. They may be in your automobile. They may be a part of a metering system. They may be a part of a counting system. They may have to do with fuel adjustments in so many of the hi tech operations. They certainly have to do with switches of all kinds.

What's difficult about these imbedded chips is that when people were wanting to put them into pieces of equipment and machinery, the imbedded chips weren't designed for that specific application. A person said, "I need a chip that'll do three or four or fifteen functions." They would get a chip that might be designed to do twenty functions.

One of the functions was a clock. They weren't going to utilize it in what they did, but it has the clock function in it. So, they may not even know; the designer may not even know. The builder of the equipment may not be sensitive to the idea that there is a computer chip that has a clock that is doing the things they wanted to have done in the item, but they didn't know that there is also a time function. When the year 2000 rolls around, some of these things, if they are not programmed to appropriately handle that year 2000-you know, at a time when there was a scarce space on the chip, they were just putting 0-0 in instead of 2-0-0-0 and that's the source of the problem-some of these imbedded chips are going to all of a sudden tell you that they are there.

Hello! That's a part of the problem that's very difficult for us to address. Where we know there are chips we can get to them and we can test them. America, frankly, is far ahead of the rest of the world in most of this respect. Frankly, you should be concerned about our military, because so much of what we rely on for the defense of this country is in automated equipment that uses the kind of processors that are involved here. I feel relatively sure we have over and over again pressed the military to make sure that we are ready and capable. I think we will be on a military basis.

Of course, businesses, utilities and all have these imbedded chips as well as other things. We've asked them to run end to end studies of their entire operations so that if there's a chip in one of the switches that is not going to work well, we can detect it as soon as we can. I think we are going to be close to having detected all those that are detectable and we'll have to see what falls down in a lot of respects in government after those chips notify us of their existence by their non compliance with the march of time.

Of course businesses will need and do need to make sure that they aren't caught in arrears. This last week we provided some additional assistance to small businesses by way of loans so that they can remediate some of these challenges. We don't want the kind of disruption that could really be dislocating in a significant way to our entire society.

Frankly, America is far better off than almost every other country. There are countries in Europe that have resisted the idea that there could even be a problem. Some of them think, and some of the third-world countries think, "It's just a way for Americans to try to sell some more of their equipment, to sell us the remediation." I hope that they don't have any more problems than they think they're going to have, but they could well have.

One of the things that is of concern to those of us in the United States Congress is that there are a number of countries whose defense capabilities rely on the kind of old computer chips that are unlikely to be able to accommodate the year 2000. Some of their radar systems may malfunction and go dark. We don't want them to think that because they've gone dark, that means that we're launching an attack or that we have scuttled their operation. So there will be an effort on the part of the United States in all likelihood to share information with other countries about what's happening, what kinds of things are flying through the air around the world.

It could be that when others look at our screens and see how valuable it might be to sit in the same room to be able to detect whether one guy was doing something to another, we might have an ability to start talking to each other more constructively about making sure that we have a responsible approach to weaponry. I don't want to get off into the new missile defense system, which we ought and are going to create as a result of a vote in the Senate last week. I just want you to know that there may be some good things that come out of this.

But for Y2K, I think we need in this country to continue to pursue remediation in advance of the problem. Then where we can to our benefit, share that remediation with other cultures so that we don't find either the Russians or the Chinese when their screens go black thinking that we're attacking them. We don't want them to think about being trigger happy in ways that could be very, very damaging to the stability of the geopolitics of the globe or even to America and our own interests.

I think around the world there are going to be serious dislocations industrially. I think what's going to happen in that respect is what I call a "flight to quality." You'll have people moving from the third world, which is probably not well configured to correct these defects, to larger companies and to more stable cultures where the remediation of these defects has been undertaken in advance. That flight to quality is probably going to be in the best interests of the United States, at least economically, although there are numbers of us that hate to see some of these very depressed third world operations lose the kind of base in industry and employment that they've struggled to attain.

But I think America is going to look like a much safer, a more reliable, better place, better supplier, more capable of providing with stability the needs of individuals after the Y2K situation than prior to the Y2K situation. That flight to quality is one of the things that I expect to see happen.

We have a little crisis that relates to Y2K that has to do with the flight to quality. I think the values of America have been under attack and we've had a little crisis with those. I would think it would be appropriate if we had a flight to quality with the values of America.

I talked a little bit earlier about the idea that tailoring became important during this century in an industrial sense. Instead of having a product that just goes to the entire country, we have the capacity for people to participate in the design of their own products. Now you participate not only in the design of your computer, but on a scheduled basis, you participate in the design of updates to your computer in that Gateway setting.

Along about thirty years ago, I think we really suffered a setback in America with a counter culture to the culture of local remediation and people being able to design the solutions to their own problems. It came from a counter culture that also wanted to repudiate the idea that the values of the people were to be imposed on Washington instead of the values of Washington to be imposed on the people. That was a program that was rather arrogantly predicated on the idea that greatness in America was focused in Washington, D.C.

So in the 1960's there developed in Washington, in a group of people so confident in the idea that they had the answers to the culture's problems within their own reach in Washington that they labeled their programs, "The Great Society." The idea was to impose from Washington remediation, remedy, on this culture. They were going to first remedy the family in America. So Washington-remedied families were going to be the cure for American family difficulties. Then they were going to remediate or cure a condition of poverty. So we had the Welfare system that was going to be directed from Washington. The greatness figured out in Washington was to be imposed on the people of America.

You remember the program and you remember the results. It wasn't great society; it was great folly. Instead of being able to tailor responses, instead of being able to adjust solutions to fit local circumstances, we had the situation where Washington was going to tell everybody how to do it because people in Washington had figured out the way in which things would best be done.

It began to creep into our educational system. We had massive programs directing in education what would be done. We even have those today. Last year the president of the United States said we're going to have 100,000 new teachers. It sounds historic, but it's not historically sound. They go to schools and they say, "Well, we've got a teacher in every room. What good will it do us to have another teacher? We'd like to have the money. We need a library. We need some maintenance on the buildings. We need to be able to send our kids to a special laboratory or to bring computers or hi tech into our schools, but the program is for teachers." Ray Davis, Democrat governor of California put it this way. He said, "The teachers were not just for new teachers. They were designated to reduce class size in the first two or three grades." Ray Davis said, "We already did that in California. We needed to reduce class size for English and math at the tenth grade level. We couldn't use the money."

None of us would consider going to a physician that was a thousand miles away and we called with our symptoms and said, "Well, today we're doing aspirin. This year it sounds good. We're going to have 100,000 new aspirin this year and you get to take it no matter what you need." It would be foolhardy. But we're trying to remediate pathologies around the country in a variety of settings with federally imposed programs predicated on the idea that there can be a single diagnosis: "What this country needs is more teachers and you're going to have 'em whether you need 'em, like it or not."

We are beginning to see the crack in the facade of this rather thin veneer of greatness that Washington is supposed to be able to export. Frankly, when we begin to find the truth, we begin to find that the greatness of America indeed is not in the imposition of Washington's values on the people, but the imposition of the people's values on government.

Let me just recount for you for a moment one of those arenas in which there has been tremendous progress: in the Welfare circumstance, where you had about 5.3 million people on Welfare a mere four years ago. We had Welfare reform passed by the Congress, passed by the Republican Congress, I might add, twice vetoed by the President and finally signed by the President. What was the nature of the reform? The nature of the reform was to allow the values of the people to be imposed on the program, instead of imposing the values of Washington bureaucrats on people across America. Values like education, values like training, values like work, values like discipline. What happens? We go from 5.3 million people on Welfare to 2.something million people on Welfare in this country in a four-year span.

We begin again to understand that allowing local governmental units to tailor their response to challenges to do what works at the local level really makes a difference. It's a matter of the flow of values in the culture. When the flow is inverted so that Washington's values are to be imposed on America we have skyrocketing illegitimacy, skyrocketing poverty, skyrocketing Welfare and when we allow the reversal of that, we find the remediation of the pathologies in dramatic form.

That's why the Congress two weeks ago, when it came to talking about what we would do if education embraced what fifty governors, Republican and Democrat alike, all fifty unanimously asked for, (your governor, Tom Ridge, one of the outstanding lights, stands tall among the governors) demanded and rightly so, that we in Washington stop telling the people how to spend the money that they had sent in the first place. So, the Ed Fleck's Bill passed the United States Congress, which gives governors and states the ability to wipe out the red tape of the Federal Government. They can say, "It's appropriate for you all to waive all this bureaucracy and to spend money in ways that will remediate the problem, in ways that will solve the problem at the local level."

It's astounding. The state of Florida, managing money sent from the federal government to its educational institutions, as compared to managing its own funds in the educational community, found out that it cost six times as much to manage educational resources sent from Washington in terms of the paper trail, the audit trail and the bureaucratic compliance requirements as it did resources that were devoted at the local level. That tells us something. It tells us something about the future. It tells us something about the kind of values we want in the future.

The Y2K problem is something that's a challenge to us. We've taken steps to try to remediate it and I hope that as a result of that problem, we've learned a lot about who we are and what we can do. We may have a competitive advantage in the future. I think we need to look at the challenge in terms of where the values in this system of government are and what do we value? Is it something mandated from Washington or is it something that comes from people to be used in adjusting and tailoring responses to meet challenges? I believe that it is.

I think that history is on the side of conservative government, which allows people to respond to the challenges they face with the resources they generate without the imposition and heavy hand of government. We'll move in that direction and some day we'll move far enough in that direction that we'll probably not even, I hope, take all the money to Washington first and then send it back. It doesn't make sense to say we're going to give you freedom in spending federal money and give you the capacity to decide how to spend it. Why don't we leave it at home in the first place so that it's available without the shrinkage that accompanies the journey from the local community to Washington and back?

If I were to hand one of my sons a dollar, and by the time it left my hand and got to his it turned into sixty-five cents, they'd be on the old man fast. "What's going on here?" And then, if once I gave it to them, I forbade them to spend it the way they thought they could best use it, told them they had to spend it only in ways that were pleasing to me and look good from a thousand miles away, they would want me to check in for a cookie count.

The truth of the matter is that's the way we've been handling education. That's the way we've handled so many programs. When we renovated the Welfare system, and we didn't get it completely renovated let me tell you, I don't think there'll be a real complete reform in many of these arenas until we have both a Republican Congress and an Executive that is in agreement with the kind of adjustments and reform that need to be made. I had a piece of the reform in Welfare reform. It was called the Concept of Charitable Choice.

When we looked around the country to find out where real solutions were taking place to problems in the Welfare arena, we found out that those solutions happened more frequently in non-governmental institutions in private entities. Even in faith-based organizations where they addressed people as people and understood them and valued them for their entire life, not just for the interval during which they met the profile that made them valuable as a statistic and as a client to the federal agency.

All of a sudden we said, "Wait a second. We need to tap the resource of these organizations, which are the real genius of America. So we put the Charitable Choice provisions in the Welfare program that said that institutions would be eligible for contracts from the state to help bring people out of Welfare and into independence. We had to be careful about that to make sure that we didn't violate the First Amendment, Freedom of Religion, and that we didn't violate the integrity of the institutions and the churches. There were a lot of our charitable organizations that got so afraid of trying to help, because we'd made it so difficult.

The Salvation Army in Mississippi in one case found one of their workers Xeroxing witchcraft materials. They said this isn't consistent with the Salvation Army. We're going to have to fire this person. We can't have this individual working in our program. This was several years ago. Of course, firing a person because they were in witchcraft from the Salvation Army, because the Salvation Army was doing some work in conjunction with a public agency, a lawsuit alleged that they didn't have the right to discriminate based on religious faith. So it cost the Salvation Army $250,000 to settle a lawsuit. I've had my hand in and out of my pocket a lot walking into the mall during the Christmas season to help the Salvation Army, but I don't think I got very many lawsuits paid for at that rate.

We had to build the framework that said to the Salvation Army, "We'll let you hire people of like faith and be involved in the program of helping individuals, even a team member with the state, but you don't have to comply with laws that would require you to have people working for you that undercut the purpose of your organization." It was that kind of liberation that we could bring to a community that was willing and eager to help us really solve our problems, but the federal mandate of one size fits all, the absence of the tailoring concept, and the presence of stifling uniformity, had made most difficult.

As we look to the values of the future I think the values that are expressed in the American people that they impose on government are so much more important than the values that government would seek to impose in the so-called great society on America.

I can't talk about values without visiting the responsibility of people who are public officials to exhibit a set of values that provide a model for the community. I just want to say that during the last couple years, our president has really forfeited his opportunity to lead. He hasn't lost his ability to govern. There are two opportunities for people who are public officials. There are governance opportunities that as long as you control the apparatus of government you can still sign the bills, you can still issue the executive orders, you can still negotiate and you can still deploy the resources of the culture. But the leadership opportunities are not those that automatically attend being an official. They have to be earned over and over again.

The lapses in integrity and the disregard for human dignity and the dignity for individuals associated with the president in Washington, D.C., have really made it a circumstance where this president has disrespected the American people so profoundly that he has forfeited totally his capacity to be a leader in terms of the kinds of values that this country needs to exhibit for a strong future in America. It is not without challenge that when the people impose their values on government that we succeed. There are times when if those values would be wrong, even the fact that we allow the values of people to be reflected would not save us.

I believe just as there's going to be a flight to quality in the computer industry when the challenge of Y2K is eventually uncovered, there will be a flight to quality in America when Americans have an opportunity again to express themselves in elections to say that they want individuals who can not only govern, but individuals who have the moral integrity, the commitment and dedication to lead. I believe that flight to quality is important to the restoration of the definition of America. You remember if America is defined best by the phrase, "The best is yet to come," and if the central question for us to ask ourselves is, "How do we make sure that phrase defines us a hundred years from now as well as defines us now?" we're going to have to make sure that we put the components in place to be responsive to the challenges we face.

I think the reorientation of this culture to people solving problems at the local level, addressing issues where they can make a difference, is an orientation for success. But it's merely a structural and process orientation and it's value neutral. It just says that we'll focus the authority and the opportunity at the local level. I think there'll be a flight to quality when it comes to the values that are important, of integrity, of dignity, of responsibility, of accepting responsibility and demanding responsibility. There'll be a flight to those values as well. That means that the tradition of America as an environment of ascending opportunity is at least an opportunity that continues to exist for us. We can build on where we are and what we have.

Most of us spent some time in the Scouts. I don't know whether you did or not: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, brave, clean and reverent. Remember that. On my honor I'll do my best to take what they give me and steal the rest...No, that's Washington, D.C.! There is a principle in the Scouts that you always leave the campground just a little bit better than you found the campground. It dawned on me one day that that is a principle for America. No generation has ever halted the hallowed heritage of leaving this place a little better than they found it and we could ill afford to be the first generation to interrupt that tradition. If we understand our opportunity to tailor responses and have a flight to the right quality and the right values, we can make sure that America is defined today and in the years to come as a place where the best is yet to come.

Thank you very much. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.

Edited by Liu Riting


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