OF SENATOR JOHN GLENN
OF CANDIDACY FOR THE
OF PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
APRIL 21, 1983
one of the most important days of my life -- and I want to begin by saying it's
good to be home.
Concord is a very special place to me. It was here that I grew up; here that I
went to school; and here, forty years ago this month, that I married the most
courageous woman I've ever known, my wife Annie.
also here in New Concord that I learned the values that have guided me through
was a plumber, and he taught me the value of hard work. But after a few summers
of swinging a pick, helping him dig water lines, I came to agree with Abe
Lincoln, who said that while his father taught him to work, he never taught him
to like it.
was a schoolteacher. She taught me the value of one of the great experiments in
human history. It's called American public education, and it's based on the
revolutionary belief that all the children of this land deserve an opportunity:
an opportunity to rise as high and go as far as their ambitions, talents and
good fortune combine to take them.
given that chance. And I stand before you today because I believe that this
generation of Americans deserves the same precious, priceless opportunity.
New Concord, I also learned the value of community and compassion. The
conviction that neighbors should help each other arose naturally from our
religious beliefs. When money was short during the Depression, my dad sometimes
took payment for his work in sides of beef and bushels of potatoes.
the Depression deepened, he kept us together by going to work for the WPA
installing a new town water system. That was after Franklin Roosevelt became President
and began a new American tradition: a tradition of concerned, compassionate
government. And I stand before you today because I believe in that tradition;
and because I believe America must never turn her back on those in need of help.
was something else we learned here in New Concord. On Memorial Day, my father
played Taps on his bugle at the cemetery -- and I would echo him from over the
hill. We were proud of our flag and ready to defend it. In two wars, I saw good
men die so democracy could live. I've seen the awful destructiveness of man
--and the awesome courage of individual men. And I stand before you today
because I believe that the highest form of patriotism is the unrelenting pursuit
forty years since I left New Concord, I've seen much of our country and the
world -- and I've experienced much, first as a military officer and astronaut,
and later as a businessman and United States Senator.
travel this land of ours, I'm humbled by its grandeur and the vastness of its
natural resources. I've seen our wheat fields and our oil fields, our
timberlines and our coastlines -- and no nation on earth is more blessed with
splendor and abundance.
America is more than our resources.
is people -- 233 million men, women and children of every race, creed and color.
And America is the shared dream of freedom and opportunity that brings us
is democracy -- the radical belief that free men and women can express a common
vision, unite for a common purpose, and elect a government that will faithfully
is free enterprise, a tough, competitive system that offers great rewards to
those with ability and initiative.
America is also compassion; the conviction that we will never move this country
ahead by leaving some of our people behind.
is more diverse --and infinitely more complex than one community. Yet all
Americans share the simple values we learned in this small town -- the values of
excellence, honesty, fairness, compassion for those who have less, and
confidence in facing the future. Those values are truly the heart of the
American experiment, and they must be the soul of our government as well.
ago, we elected an Administration which likes to talk about those values.
Unfortunately, its deeds have fallen far short of its words.
policies of this Administration aren't expanding opportunity, they're
aren't promoting excellence, they're discouraging it.
aren't fostering compassion, they're reducing it.
schools, children from poorer families are getting neither the help they need
nor the skills they deserve. In our colleges, the Administration's shortsighted
cutbacks in government loan programs -- our finest investments in the future --
are keeping many students from enrolling, and forcing others to drop out.
laboratories, vital, long-term research that could be producing new jobs and
technologies is too often abandoned for lack of Federal support.
communities, elderly Americans have their golden years tarnished by growing
fears of lost dignity and social insecurity.
cities, blacks, hispanics and other minorities have seen two decades of progress
replaced by two years of retreat.
women see an Administration that applauds the defeat of the Equal Rights
Amendment -- and that shrugs its shoulders at economic discrimination.
across this great country, we've seen millions thrown out of work --and millions
more thrown into despair. We've seen factories close, small businesses
bankrupted, and farms sold at auction. We've seen bread lines and cheese lines,
soup lines and shantytowns. We've seen people sleeping on grates and families
living in cars.
It's a national tragedy and a national disgrace -- and I say we're going to put
an end to it in November of 1984.
It's a national tragedy and a national disgrace -- and I say we're going to put
an end to it in November of 1984.
same people who tamed a continent, crossed frontiers, won wars, and built the
greatest, strongest nation on earth. We see a problem, think up an idea, test
it, adjust it, and finally succeed with it.
believe in that process -- because I have been part of it. In this country, the
sky is not the limit. I say we can rise above the depths of this recession. And I
say that given the right leadership, the American people can still outwork,
outinvent, outproduce and outcompete any nation on the face of this earth.
foreign policy, too, the issue is leadership.
rhetoric and public relations offensives won't end the arms race, but visionary
flip-flop foreign policy that alienates our allies won't enhance America's
security, but consistent leadership will.
on human rights that ignores inhuman wrongs won't restore our moral authority,
but principled leadership will.
and abroad, the issue is leadership.
instead of a renewal of old values, we see a return to old inequities.
instead of a confident advance into the world of the future, we see a nostalgic
retreat into the myths of the past.
decades ago, I served a young President who promised to get America moving
again. He asked us for sacrifice and repaid us in courage. John Kennedy was
struck down, but his legacy lives -- and I believe that courageous leadership can
once again unite this country to meet the challenges of anew generation.
President says America is on the mend. I say it's time America was on the march.
we can put our people back to work. We can reduce the deficits that keep
interest rates and unemployment high by deferring this year's tax cut and
repealing indexing. Those measures alone would save 225 billion dollars over the
next four years.
we can prepare the children of today for the challenges of tomorrow – and do
it by restoring funding for basic education, incentives for science education,
and loans for higher education.
we can give industry the help it needs and still treat our environment with the
respect it deserves. We can't pit one region's ecology against another's
economy, and that's why problems like acid rain must be addressed at the
we can enact a sensible farm bill that preserves fair prices at home and
promotes expanded exports abroad. And we can end the disgrace of soup lines by
feeding the hungry with some of the surplus food we're paying to store.
we can reduce the uncertainty and doubt of older Americans by making Medicare
solvent and retirement secure. In our national life -- as in our personal lives
-- we must observe the ancient admonition to honor our fathers and mothers.
we can reform our criminal justice system so law-abiding citizens can walk the
streets and victims of crime will have rights.
we can protect women's economic rights by passing the Economic Equity Act, and
we can guarantee their Constitutional rights by getting the ERA passed by the
Congress, ratified by the states, and written into our Constitution.
we shall overcome racism and bigotry -- not through legislation alone, but
through the even more difficult struggle to change the hearts and minds of men
and women, so that finally -- and at long last -- we can turn the old dream of
justice into a new American reality.
we can keep America's defense the strongest on earth, because we know the first
duty of government is to keep our people alive, independent and free. Yes, I'll
stand up for the military -- and I'll also stand to the military when
what our national interest demands.
must also look beyond the problems of today and raise our sights to the
challenges of tomorrow.
at a changepoint in history. New technologies are changing our world as
dramatically as the Industrial Revolution did two centuries ago. Our children
and grandchildren will hold jobs, use technologies, and compete in a world that
we can barely imagine. We cannot, should not, and must not retreat from these
challenges, nor can we allow them to overwhelm us.
technologies promise great opportunities and pose great dangers. They promise
greater prosperity, elimination of hunger and disease, a more secure defense,
and expanded personal freedom. But they can also cause lost jobs, environmental
destruction, nuclear disaster and an Orwellian nightmare of government control.
one reason the next election is so crucial. We must
have leadership that understands the potential of modern science both for good
and for ill. We must have an educated citizenry that can make informed decisions
--and can never be controlled by a technocratic elite.
we must be masters of the new technology, not its servants or victims.
is this more clear than on the critical issue of our planet’s survival.
today's world, all our greatness, all our dreams, and all that we cherish can
vanish in the blink of an eye. In today's world, every word and deed of the
President of the United States can move us closer to annihilation, or closer to
again, the issue is leadership. As a first step toward peace, we must work for
an immediate, mutual and verifiable freeze on nuclear weapons. But then we must
go further --and negotiate a reduction in existing nuclear stockpiles. Then we
must go further -- and halt the worldwide spread of nuclear arms. Then we must
go further still -- and involve all nations possessing nuclear weapons in the
arms control process. And then we must go further yet --and work to reduce
conventional weapons as well.
In an age
when the next war could well be the last war, our task is clear: this generation
must seek not just to end war once it has started, but to end war once and for
his 1980 election campaign, President Reagan often spoke of a shining city on a
It is no
shining city that denies education, destroys jobs, and diminishes opportunities.
not reach that dreamed-of city following roadmaps of the past that direct us
back into the valleys from which we've already climbed.
person or party has all the answers. But I believe we can start by:
our Nation's best minds to chart a bipartisan Agenda for the Future: a statement
of national purpose that can be our roadmap to the next century:
guaranteeing a first-rate education to every young person; and
revitalizing our old industries and, with research, invention and innovation,
paving the way for new jobs and industries as yet unknown.
Nation gave my generation the gift of opportunity, the chance to be all that we
could be, even to reach for greatness. In the final analysis, our lives will
count for little unless we pass that gift on, to this generation and to
generations yet unborn. That is my goal --and I believe it is America's destiny.
years ago, after my flight in Friendship 7, I spoke to a joint session of
Congress and closed with these words:
our knowledge of the universe in which we live increases, may God grant us the
wisdom and guidance to use it wisely."
I stand at the threshold of an even greater journey, my feelings are the same. I
seek your support and God's guidance as once more I ask to serve my country.
With confidence that my life has prepared me for this challenge,
dedication to the promise of opportunity and the pursuit of peace,
a firm belief that guided by the light of old values we can again reach new
I declare my candidacy for President of the United States.
Source: John Glenn Senate Office Press Release John Glenn Archives at The Ohio State University