Al Lemmo Tries his hand at Presidential Speech Writing

The following was written in the form of a speech for Senator Robert Dole to give in the 1996 presidential campaign. Although it contains some partisan points, many of the pro-life points can easily be used by candidates of other parties.

Speech for Bob Dole

What are the basic differences between the Republican and Democratic parties? At heart, we Republicans believe in law, especially the highest law of the land, the Constitution. Democrats, by contrast, believe in themselves - so convinced of the righteousness of their causes that law - even the Constitution - is often viewed as little more than a set of obstacles rather than the protective framework our forebears fashioned over many years. They have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to subvert the law and its democratic foundations by having laws destroyed or created by judicial decree with no basis in sound principles. They have demonstrated contempt for the judgment and values of the people as expressed through their duly elected representatives. We can expect the appointment of more presumptive law-givers to judicial posts if more Democrats are elected to key executive positions.

The failure to be faithful to law as set forth in the Constitution is at the root of many of our national problems. The intrusive, overgrown monstrosity that is today's federal government was foreseen by our nation's founders. They designed the Constitution to prevent the situation we have today from ever occurring. But Democrats knew better and they devised a strategy to overcome the people's suspicions of Big Government. The strategy was divide and conquer. They divided our people in a large number of constituencies that were often at cross purposes and gave each a sacred cow to be fed by other taxpayers' money. The price for an uninterrupted supply of feed was to keep Democrats in power who had no qualms about the principles and restrictions of the Constitution. Those who threatened the feed supply had to be defeated at all costs, even if they intended to stop the feed for all sacred cows for the benefit of all the taxpayers. It was an ideal prescription for continued government growth.

We Republicans have long emphasized the benefits of reducing the size and intrusiveness of government for America's families, our society's basic units of management and economic activity. But when we stressed our support for family values our opponents claimed we were demeaning or attacking non-traditional families. Like all effective demagoguery, this had its intended effect. But we can rise above even this kind of scurrilous attack. I propose, therefore, that we speak of American values - values like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; liberty and justice for all; and equal justice under law. Nowhere have these most cherished of our values been so grievously assaulted as in the matter of abortion.

President Clinton claims to have opposed the Vietnam War because it was an unjust war. But he has waged an all-out, unrestricted war on the most innocent and helpless members of the human community that has violated virtually every principle of morality and justice and even violated the laws of war that are recognized in international law.

Every abortion is little more than the most reprehensible act of war - the pre-emptive first strike. Its intention is to deny the target its only defense by acting before the rights of citizenship, which are conferred by birth under the Constitution, can take effect. Nowhere is this savage intent clearer than in partial-birth abortion wherein the victim's head is kept within the mother's body while it is killed so that it has not yet technically been born. This is a horrific mockery of our nations' commitment to any principles of justice.

Several of the criteria for just war are violated by the war on the unborn. They call for a just cause which is seldom to be found in abortions done to cover-up shameful behavior or evade responsibilities to one's children. They call for a competent authority to make a decision to go to war. In what other activity in which society allows the deliberate taking of human life - capital punishment, police action, military strikes - is such a decision permitted without review to a single, often distraught individual who is often a minor and often ignorant of the nature of the act?

Just war criteria call for war to be a last resort. This is virtually never the case in the unjust war on the unborn. There are non-violent alternatives to abortion in nearly all cases.

International law embodies the just war criterion of proportionality which prohibits a military commander from causing more destruction to life or property than is necessary to accomplish a military objective. But the destruction of human life when alternatives are available violates this principle as well, especially when the unborn baby has already reached the point where it can also live outside the womb.

The war on the unborn has violated the principle of immunity of non-combatants by deliberately targeting an unarmed and helpless population. Although commonly violated in modern warfare, this principle still holds. International law prohibits the maltreatment of prisoners of war but no such respect is accorded the prisoners of the womb.

This totally unprincipled war on the unborn was sold to the people of our country on the basis of so- called "hard cases" such as rape and incest. Even if we grant that these unborn babies are legitimate targets - as many of us have out of political necessity - this approach turns the vast majority of abortion victims into little more than collateral damage at rates that would be morally horrendous if practiced in even a single action by the military. The moral approach would be to restrict abortion only to legitimate targets.

But even these so-called "hard cases" are really nothing more than wedge issues. They have been effectively used for decades to divide us from the prenatal portion of the population by posing cases that could happen to anyone regardless of how morally upright their behavior may have been. Faced with such often repugnant circumstances, many have fallen for this ploy. They have been seduced into the outcome- based morality that is so popular with Democrats and abandoned principle-based morality, specifically the only principle that is at stake in the whole matter of abortion - the necessity to protect innocent human life without conditions. It is a curious piece of hypocrisy that our opponents who accuse us of using wedge issues on many subjects should be so enthusiastic about them when it comes to the unborn. This is really just another instance of their failure to see how completely they have betrayed the most basic values and principles on which this nation was founded.

This nation was founded on the principle that our human rights are granted to us by our Creator and are therefore intrinsic with human life. Our Constitution is different from every other in that we the people grant the government only certain carefully restricted powers and retain all others. Those who support abortion want to turn the clock back to a time when human rights were granted to the powerless by the powerful based on only those criteria the powerful chose to recognize. If we accept this principle - and we do not - human rights depend only on whose criteria will prevail. Democrats are smugly self-righteous for their commitment to oppose discrimination on the basis of such criteria as race, sex or religion. But many of them have embraced the basic principles of all discrimination in justifying the fatal discrimination against the unborn on the basis of human characteristics before birth.

Our nation's greatest leader in the fight against injustice and discrimination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere. Toleration of injustice only permits its expansion as people become accustomed to unjust principles and practices and the unscrupulous are encouraged to spread them. Nowhere has this been clearer than in the injustice of abortion. Just one week after Dr. King's birthday we observe the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which permitted an abuse of freedom the like of which this nation had never seen before. We were freed to discriminate fatally on the basis of age, health, sex, appearance, abilities, parentage, or any other criterion, including race, if it were done before birth. Even birth long ago ceased to be a barrier as people who believed themselves to be the arbiters of whose lives possessed sufficient quality to be worth living moved to deny life-saving treatment to handicapped newborns. And those who believe in their own infallible sense of right and wrong have championed these outrages against all law and principles of justice.

There is really only one law that is the basis for all others that have any claim to be just laws. That law is to love one's neighbor as one's self. The failure to heed this law is at the root of all social problems and our nation is suffering greatly for its failures in this regard. It is suffering for having promoted the great injustice of abortion which has ruptured the ties that bind us in many ways. Its easy availability has permitted the sexual exploitation of women and young girls in loveless relationships. It has empowered irresponsible men and devastated the lives of millions of women physically, emotionally and possibly spiritually. It has delivered the unmistakable message that human lives are not worth living unless they are wanted by others who are more powerful. This message has not been lost on the occupants of the lower positions in our society who feel very much unwanted. It has greatly deepened the alienation, anger, hopelessness and rebellion that feed crime and many other social ills. But those who believe in reengineering society to fit their fanciful notions will never accept or understand this. They measure compassion only by how much of your money they can spend on their disastrous solutions to the problems they have caused.

The nation's social ills are a direct result of the liberals' success at decoupling income from work, advancement from merit, certification from achievement, knowledge from schooling, fatherhood from family, responsibility from freedom, religion from moral development, and sex from love, commitment and marriage. More divide and conquer. And they have conquered America, leaving it in social ruins. They have built a nation of broken lives and a culture of dependency on still more government programs. Their socialist vision of utopia is a society of equal outcomes regardless of talent, effort, drive or virtue wherein all authority is vested in an all-knowing central government - God, church and family having been eradicated. It is no accident that the primary target of their benevolence, the African-American community, has borne the brunt of our social pathologies.

But try to speak these truths to those responsible for our present situation and they react with anger and indignation. They accuse those who would suggest such things of being full of hatred and malevolence. But these are merely the tactics of intimidation to squelch all discussion of the true historical record, or psychological projection of their own faults on those who see right through them. Leave it to the Anointed Left to find more creative ways to bully all opponents with self-righteous bluster to divert attention from the disastrous effects of their policies. We can expect only more of the same if we entrust them with the powers of government still longer.

George Orwell created a vision of a totalitarian nightmare in his classic novel, 1984. The totalitarian party in that novel had this slogan: "Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." What this means is that our understanding of who we are and where we are going in the future is shaped by our understanding of how we got here - by our understanding of our past. This understanding of our past is likewise shaped or controlled by those who have the power to teach it to us, that is, those who control the information made available in the present. And who controls the present in America? I propose to you that it is controlled by the liberal news media and their allies in the entertainment industry, especially motion pictures and television. Let's look at some examples of how they have controlled the past and thereby controlled the future by their control of the present.

They have rewritten history to fit their negative view of our nation's origins. They have portrayed even men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who were legends in their own time for their upright character, as immoral adulterers in clumsy and shameful attempts to degrade these outstanding role models that the Hollywood Left could not begin to live up to. They have likewise sullied the reputations of many other positive historical figures. Orwell called this practice of reconstructing history "reality control".

The liberal news media have consistently described conservative Republicans, especially pro-life Republicans, in the most negative possible terms - terms like far right, hard right or extreme right. Corresponding terms like far left, hard left or extreme left are seldom or never heard. Those who could be accurately described as such, especially those who are pro-abortion, are typically only described as moderates. Pro-lifers are described with the negative label "anti-abortion" while abortion proponents are described as "pro-choice" or "pro-abortion rights". When the only thing at issue is the nature of a choice, to describe one side as pro-choice is to approve and condone the choice in question before any discussion even begins. But the media have never been capable of seeing this since they are strongly pro-abortion. To describe this horror as a matter of rights is a contradiction in terms. They even want us to pay for it through Medicaid as a matter of fairness and the present administration has attempted to blackmail the states to cover it against the expressed will of their citizens. If the same approach had been taken in the controversy over slavery, it might still be possible today for poor whites to obtain government assistance to purchase black slaves. Fortunately, our forebears had greater wisdom and moral direction and the Slaveraid program was never even considered.

The news is likewise selectively reported to confirm the viewpoint of the liberals as much as possible. When the newly elected Republican Congress achieved an incredible rate of success in passing the points of its Contract With America the media turned it into a liability by negative reporting. The media even falsely reported many issues as being in the Contract when in fact they were not. Many of these outstanding new members of Congress now face difficult elections for having kept their campaign promises.

When President Clinton shut down the government rather than agree to the appropriations bills that were passed by the Republican Congress it was the Congress that was blamed thanks to the way the liberal media reported it. They controlled the present.

How could it be that during the confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas the vast majority of Americans believed him, but a year later the majority believed Anita Hill? A full year of liberal media reporting with an agenda was to blame.

When President Bush reluctantly agreed to tax increases under pressure from the Democrats in Congress it was blamed for his loss in 92 for having broken a promise. But when President Clinton didn't just fail to come through with the tax cut he had promised but delivered the largest tax increase in history instead, it is hardly an issue in this present campaign. Why not? Because you have been told it isn't important to you by those who control the present.

President Clinton lied his way into office with the full complicity of the liberal media. He called the 1992 economy the worst in the last 50 years. But the worst economy in the last 50 years was under Jimmy Carter, the last Democrat the nation made the mistake of electing. It was Bill Clinton who prolonged and deepened the minor recession in 1992 that the media refused to report was already ending. His bad- mouthing of the economy destroyed consumer confidence and cost thousands of Americans their jobs. It was only after he was elected and the relentless negative messages stopped that the economy immediately took off, long before he actually took office.

[Many other examples are possible here]

Many Americans have tried to make their voices heard by writing letters to the editor of newspapers. But they have often been thwarted, finding the words they wrote barely recognizable after editing by the gatekeepers of the nation's thoughts and information - if they were printed at all. The popularity of computer networks is largely due to their being uncensored. Any individual can be heard but by a much more limited audience.

One of the most damaging issues for Republicans has been the environment. But the public does not see the crucial details of the laws and burdensome regulations that needlessly cost jobs and raise consumer prices. Our party draws many of its leaders from the business community where an occasional, unintentional environmental violation can occur. But these are reported in election campaigns as though they were the rule rather than the exceptions they are. What is never reported is the damage to our cultural and ethical environments caused by liberal Democrats which is the rule rather than the exception. Their philosophical toxic waste has become so prevalent that it has become difficult to distinguish it from the surroundings.

It is no accident that President Clinton finds so much support among the Hollywood Left. They have been working diligently to change our understanding of history so as to more effectively control our future. Consider all the television or movie characters who casually engage in sexual encounters but who seldom or never are influenced by religious values. What few religious characters they present are held up to ridicule or portrayed as hypocrites or villains. This ongoing war on the influence of religion in American life is motivated by the recognition by the Leftist church that genuine, God-centered religion is perhaps the only influence that can contest their control of the present. But it does not stop with entertainment. The Left has waged an unrelenting war against the influence of religion in public life, an influence that the nation's founders regarded as essential and that they expected the public schools to teach. They are incapable of even recognizing the true nature of their own values. They truly believe that their proposed solutions to our problems cannot be criticized as having the stamp of only one religious viewpoint. Let me give just one example to show how wrong they are.

The liberal Left thinks that condom distribution in our public schools is a solution to the problem of teenage pregnancy. Aside from the fact that there is a long, unbroken record of failure for these programs, the underlying message is that we are not moral agents capable of making moral judgments about right and wrong. We are driven by our urges like animals. We are simply meat endowed with intelligence. This view of our humanity is religious in nature and totally contrary to the religious viewpoint that most Americans still want their children to learn. But those Americans who have only one choice as far as where to educate their children will have their children subjected to this subversive, diabolical and destructive message like it or not if the Left has its way. And they are not about to give up on this or any other wrong- headed point of their agenda. Much of their agenda for education is little more than indoctrination in the value system of the Left. They are so totally convinced that they know all the answers for everyone that any criticism drives them into a fury. President Clinton's 1992 campaign manager, James Carville, summed up their attitude in the title of his book: We're Right; They're Wrong.

This contempt for opposing points of view does not end with domestic matters. The present administration has conducted a campaign to force abortion and contraception on other nations that have the audacity to resist. It has been the most egregious campaign of cultural imperialism ever mounted and it has blackened the good name of our country in much of the world. It belies the often repeated claim that they seek to make abortion safe, legal and rare. To the contrary, they have promoted it in every possible way. But let me say this: I will withdraw all opposition to abortion the day it is safe for residents of the womb. The liberals are incapable of even seeing the victims of their policies. They have blotted them out of their minds like all those before them who have practiced the mass destruction of human lives. The imagined benefits of these policies have never materialized but this has not daunted the Anointed Left from pursuing them with religious zeal. I urge you to reject this arrogant cult which has presumed a right to determine who is or is not a member of the human community worthy of its protection. If we accept their principles of injustice which are incompatible with the principles of our nation our social problems will only worsen. It's not and never has been "the economy, stupid." It's the child killing.

Hollywood can reshape the past and pretend we were never a moral nation. But I know better because I have lived in other times before television when religious values were foremost. President Clinton claims he wants to be a bridge to the future but he is really simply unable to face his own past and the historical record of his party. The disasters of the Welfare State are their legacy to all of us. I wish to be more than a bridge to the past but to lead us toward a vision of the future rooted in the values that served earlier generations so well. Today's children deserve no less.