当前位置:首页 > 特色教学 > 悦读 > 列表
2013-06-09 16:00:05 | 点击: | 悦读
The Last Speech (里根的最后一次演说)
Madam Chairman, delegates to the convention, and fellow citizens, thank you for that warm and generous welcome. Nancy and I have been enjoying the finest of Southern hospitality since we arrived here yesterday. And believe me, after that reception I don't think the ``Big Easy'' has ever been bigger than it has tonight. And with all due respect to Cajun cuisine cooking and New Orleans jazz, nothing could be hotter than the spirit of the delegates in this hall, except maybe a victory celebration on November 8th. In that spirit, I think we can be forgiven if we give ourselves a little pat on the back for having made ``Republican'' a proud word once again and America a proud nation again. Nancy and I are so honored to be your guests tonight, to share a little of your special time, and we thank you.

Now I want to invoke executive privilege to talk for a moment about a very special lady who has been selfless not just for our party but for the entire Nation. She is a strong, courageous, compassionate woman; and wherever she's gone, here in the United States as well as abroad, whether with young or old, whether comforting the grieving or supporting the youngsters who are fighting the scourge of drugs, she makes us proud. I've been proud of her for a long time, but never more so than in these last 8 years. With your tribute to Nancy today, you warmed my heart as well as hers, and believe me, she deserves your tribute. And I am deeply grateful to you for what you have done.

When people tell me that I became President on January 20th, 1981, I feel I have to correct them. You don't become President of the United States. You are given temporary custody of an institution called the Presidency, which belongs to our people. Having temporary custody of this office has been for me a sacred trust and an honor beyond words or measure. That trust began with many of you in this room many conventions ago. Many's the time that I've said a prayer of thanks to all Americans who placed this trust in my hands. And tonight, please accept again our heartfelt gratitude, Nancy's and mine, for this special time that you've given in our lives.

Just a moment ago, you multiplied the honor with a moving tribute, and being only human, there's a part of me that would like to take credit for what we've achieved. But tonight, before we do anything else, let us remember that tribute really belongs to the 245 million citizens who make up the greatest -- and the first -- three words in our Constitution: ``We the People.'' It is the American people who endured the great challenge of lifting us from the depths of national calamity, renewing our mighty economic strength, and leading the way to restoring our respect in the world. They are an extraordinary breed we call Americans. So, if there's any salute deserved tonight, it's to the heroes everywhere in this land who make up the doers, the dreamers, and the lifebuilders without which our glorious experiment in democracy would have failed.

This convention brings back so many memories to a fellow like me. I can still remember my first Republican convention: Abraham Lincoln giving a speech that -- [laughter] -- sent tingles down my spine. No, I have to confess, I wasn't actually there. The truth is, way back then, I belonged to the other party. [Laughter] But surely we can remember another convention. Eight years ago, we gathered in Detroit in a troubled time for our beloved country. And we gathered solemnly to share our dreams. When I look back, I wonder if we dared be so bold to take on those burdens. But in that same city of Detroit, when the 20th century was only in its second year, another great Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, told Americans not to hold back from dangers ahead but to rejoice: ``Our hearts lifted with the faith that to us and to our children it shall be given to make this Republic the mightiest among the peoples of mankind.'' Teddy said those, years ago. In 1980 we needed every bit of that kind of faith.

That year, it was our dream that together we could rescue America and make a new beginning, to create anew that shining city on a hill. The dream we shared was to reclaim our government, to transform it from one that was consuming our prosperity into one that would get out of the way of those who created prosperity. It was a dream of again making our nation strong enough to preserve world peace and freedom and to recapture our national destiny. We made a determination that our dream would not be built on a foundation of sand -- something called ``Trust Me Government'' -- but we would trust, instead, the American spirit. And, yes, we were unashamed in believing that this dream was driven by a community of shared values of family, work, neighborhood, peace, and freedom. And on the night of July 17th, 1980, we left with a mutual pledge to conduct a national crusade to make America great again. We had faith because the heroes in our midst had never failed us before. Tom Paine knew what these Americans with character of steel could do when he wrote: ``The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.'' And my fellow citizens, while our triumph is not yet complete, the road has been glorious indeed.

Eight years ago, we met at a time when America was in economic chaos, and today we meet in a time of economic promise. We met then in international distress and today with global hope. Now, I think we can be forgiven if we engage in a little review of that history tonight -- as the saying goes, just a friendly reminder. I've been doing a little remembering of my own because of all that inflated rhetoric by our friends in Atlanta last month. But then, inflation is their specialty.

Before we came to Washington, Americans had just suffered the two worst back-to-back years of inflation in 60 years. Those are the facts, and as John Adams said, ``Facts are stubborn things.'' Interest rates had jumped to over 21 percent, the highest in 120 years, more than doubling the average monthly mortgage payments for working families -- our families. When they sat around the kitchen table, it was not to plan summer vacations, it was to plan economic survival. Facts are stubborn things.

Industrial production was down, and productivity was down for 2 consecutive years. The average weekly -- you missed me. [The President referred to a background noise.] [Laughter] The average weekly wage plunged 9 percent. The median family income fell 5\1/2\ percent. Facts are stubborn things.

Our friends on the other side had actually passed the single highest tax bill in the 200-year history of the United States. Auto loans, because of their policies, went up to 17 percent, so our great factories began shutting down. Fuel costs jumped through the atmosphere, more than doubling. Then people waited in gas lines as well as unemployment lines. Facts are stupid things -- stubborn things, I should say. [Laughter]

And then there was the misery index. That was an election year gimmick they designed for the 1976 campaign. They added the unemployment and inflation rates. And it came to 13.4 percent in 1976, and they declared that our candidate, Jerry Ford, had no right to seek re-election with that kind of misery index. But 4 years later, in the 1980 campaign, they didn't mention the misery index. Do you suppose it was because it was no longer 13.4 percent? In those 4 years it had become almost 21 percent. And last month, in Atlanta at their convention, there was again no mention of the misery index. Why? Because right now it's less than 9.2 percent. Facts are stubborn things.

When we met in Detroit in that summer of 1980, it was a summer of discontent for America around the world. Our national defense had been so weakened, the Soviet Union had begun to engage in reckless aggression, including the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The U.S. response to that was to forbid our athletes to participate in the 1980 Olympics and to try to pull the rug out from under our farmers with a grain and soybean embargo. And in those years, on any given day, we had military aircraft that couldn't fly for lack of spare parts and ships that couldn't leave port for the same reason or for lack of a crew. Our Embassy in Pakistan was burned to the ground, and the one in Iran was stormed and occupied with all Americans taken as hostages. The world began to question the constancy and resolve of the United States. Our leaders answered not that there was something wrong with our government but that our people were at fault because of some malaise. Well, facts are stubborn things.

When our friends last month talked of unemployment, despair, hopelessness, economic weakness, I wondered why on Earth they were talking about 1978 instead of 1988.

And now we hear talk that it's time for a change. Well, ladies and gentlemen, another friendly reminder: We are the change. We rolled up our sleeves and went to work in January of 1981. We focused on hope, not despair. We challenged the failed policies of the past because we believed that a society is great not because of promises made by its government but only because of progress made by its people. And that was our change.

We said something shocking: Taxes ought to be reduced, not raised. We cut the tax rates for the working folks of America. We indexed taxes, and that stopped a bracket creep which kicked average wage earners into higher tax brackets when they had only received a cost-of-living pay raise. And we initiated reform of the unfairness in our tax system. And what do you know, the top 5 percent of earners are paying a higher percentage of the total tax revenue at the lower rates than they ever had before, and millions of earners at the bottom of the scale have been freed from paying any income tax at all. That was our change.

So, together we pulled out of a tailspin and created 17\1/2\ million good jobs. That's more than a quarter of a million new jobs a month -- every month -- for 68 consecutive months. America is working again. And just since our 1984 convention, we have created over 11 million of those new jobs. Now, just why would our friends on the other side want to change that? Why do they think putting you out of work is better than putting you to work?

New homes are being built. New car sales reached record levels. Exports are starting to climb again. Factory capacity is approaching maximum use. You know, I've noticed they don't call it Reaganomics anymore. [Laughter]

As for inflation, well, that too has changed. We changed it from the time it hit 18 percent in 1980 down to between 3.5 and 4 percent. Interest rates are less than half of what they were. In fact, nearly half of all mortgages taken out on family homes in 1986 and more than a third of those in 1987 were actually old loans being refinanced at the new lower rates. Young families have finally been able to get some relief. These, too, were our changes.

We rebuilt our Armed Forces. We liberated Grenada from the Communists and helped return that island to democracy. We struck a firm blow against Libyan terrorism. We've seen the growth of democracy in 90 percent of Latin America. The Soviets have begun to pull out of Afghanistan. The bloody Iran-Iraq war is coming to an end. And for the first time in 8 years we have the prospects of peace in Southwest Africa and the removal of Cuban and other foreign forces from the region. And in the 2,765 days of our administration, not 1 inch of ground has fallen to the Communists.

Audience members. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!

The President. Today we have the first treaty in world history to eliminate an entire class of U.S. and Soviet nuclear missiles. We're working on the Strategic Defense Initiative to defend ourselves and our allies against nuclear terror. And American and Soviet relations are the best they've ever been since World War II.

And virtually all this change occurred -- and continues to occur -- in spite of the resistance of those liberal elites who loudly proclaim that it's time for a change. They resisted our defense buildup. They resisted our tax cuts. They resisted cutting the fat out of government. And they resisted our appointments of judges committed to the law and the Constitution.