I have declared my candidacy for President of the United States.
Ours is a great nation and I make one pledge to you... to use our greatness for goodness.
We are a great nation because our greatness is built on the foundation of fundamental goodness. If ever we lose our goodness, we will surely lose our greatness. Our purposes, from the time of our nation's founding, have always been bigger than we are. They must be if we are to fulfill our destiny.
But destinies are built on daily achievements. Inch by inch, step by step, we press on to our higher calling. Today I wish to state what I believe those next steps are, for our nation and for our people.
Two hundred years ago this year, a little known British Parliamentarian by the name of William Wilberforce finally achieved success after a lifetime of effort to end the slave trade in the British Empire. A committed Christian who believed his faith should be a force for good in Britain and around the world, Wilberforce had two great passions: ending the slave trade and renewing the culture. Although his goals appeared impossibly lofty, both were achieved.
He used Britain's greatness for goodness.
Our mandate today has a similar feel. If William Wilberforce were alive today, I believe he would be passionately fighting for the dignity of every human life everywhere, without regard to race, wealth, or status. He would also feel compelled to take up the vital cause of renewing the family and the culture.
These are our fights today.
We must fight for the downtrodden, the voiceless, and the powerless. We must fight for freedom and justice. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of our heritage.
But, our land needs healing.
Our people need hope.
Our world needs help.
We need reconciliation. Lincoln properly observed that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." We are too divided and need healing.
We need to rebuild our families. We need stronger families! We need people belonging and committed! By doing so, we will reduce poverty, strengthen our nation, and increase hope.
We need to support the foundational institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman for life. We should support marriage, not tax it? It's wrong to take away welfare benefits just because someone gets married. Marriage remains the best place to raise children-not the only place, but the best.
We must stop wasteful spending that steals a families' income and then insults them by throwing their money away on pork-barrel projects.
And we need more opportunities-not more taxes. I've never voted for a tax increase, and I certainly will never sign one!
But that's not enough. We need a different income tax system altogether. This one, the Internal Revenue Code, should be taken behind the barn and killed with a dull axe.
I propose the creation of an alternative flat tax, which lets the people choose which system works for them.
We need a social security system in which all Americans are given a choice in how to prepare for their retirement; a choice they do not presently have. No one should be required to leave the current system, and everyone must be guaranteed their current level of benefits. Every American should be given this freedom.
We are a large nation. Let's start embracing American-sized goals that lift us up and pull us together!
Let's put our energies into conquering the number one fear in America...the fear of getting cancer. We can end deaths by cancer in ten years. The last two years have seen a decrease in deaths by cancer. It's time to put this killer to death. With our intense effort, we can make it a chronic-rather than as a terminal-illness. What a gift to humanity!
We need high quality, affordable health care for everyone. Here, let me step back for a moment. I am a conservative. A conservative that believes in addressing problems, not ignoring them. We must address our health care problems with market-based solutions, not government-run health care. We can...and we must. This topic requires our urgent attention.
We must be energy self reliant in North America in the next fifteen years-at the same time we need to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. This is possible using our ingenuity, resources, and determination.
Also, we need judges who want to be judges...not legislators.
And for goodness sakes, the last thing we need in America is to take God out of our public lives and institutions! We need to embrace our nation's motto "In God We Trust," not be ashamed of it. Search the record of history. To walk away from the Almighty is to embrace decline for a nation. To embrace Him leads to renewal...for individuals and for nations.
Something most people feel deeply in their hearts is the need for a culture of life-a culture that doesn't allow the strong to exploit the weak-a culture of compassion instead of a culture of convenience. Life is beautiful. We all know this. Let's start following our hearts and work to protect all innocent human life.
We are a nation at war. I just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our troops-the finest, most courageous people our nation has to offer, are fighting for the cause of liberty in places that have never known her. It is a long fight. We will win. We cannot lose our will to win! We must win to redeem our troops' sacrifice. Let us resolve to have a bipartisan strategy for the war. We need unity here...to win over there. This is not the time for partisanship on any side. Lives-and our future-are at stake.
We will achieve these goals, not through government action, but by tapping into our innate goodness as a society and working together. This is how America has always achieved great goals.
At the end of the day, it comes back to the basics: faith, family, and freedom. America is great because she is good. That goodness is not based in Washington, or New York, or even Topeka. It is based in the hearts of the American people. This is a goodness whose Author is the Divine. A goodness that doesn't let us rest until our neighbor is at peace. A goodness that feels the chains of another rub on our own skin. A goodness from God that demands our vigilant action.
How much better we will be as we seek to live the Great Commandment to love God and one another.