(en) Clinton Speech

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Mon, 16 Jun 1997 18:58:00 +0000


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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 13:37:39 -0700 (PDT) From: Lester <maxim@netcom.com> Subject: Clinton Speech To: KPFA list <progressive-radio@tango.rahul.net>

Excerpts from Clinton speech (draft 1):

Dear San Diego graduates:

Today we celebrate your achievements at a truly golden moment for America. The cold war is over, the arms budget remains unimaginably high, NATO is mushrooming, and freedom is ascendant around the globe, with more than half the people of the world living under governments of America's choosing. Our economy is the healthiest in a generation. There is a Guinness record boom in prison construction. Concentration of wealth in the hands of a few has attained unprecedented intensity, and our social problems -- such as homeless people badgering playgoers out to see "Rent" -- will surely bend under the latest round of hellish and draconian legislation.

Of course, there are still challenges for you out there. Beyond our borders we must battle terrorism, which takes an unspeakable toll. One Oakland statistician estimates that for every nine hundred thousand lives lost to malnutrition, smoking, preventable disease, pollution, and misallocation of resources, fully one is lost to terrorism.

Here at home, we must continue to fight the scourge of drugs which is daily exacerbated by the wily machinations of our intelligence community and its collegial banker-launderers.

But I believe the greatest challenge we face among all those that Coleen talked about is the problem of race. Can we become one America in the 21st century?

I know, and I've said before, that there is nothing material or practical I can do to further race relations. You may think that what is needed is an abundance of decent jobs, so that anger and frustration over unemployment cannot be channeled towards one group or another. Believe me, I have had many cards and letters from well-meaning people, people like yourselves, asking that I make good on Congressional pledges of full employment -- pledges that were made decades ago, and which lay as empty and neglected as the peace dividend.

Well, as you and I also know, our business leaders would be very, very, upset with me if I tried to honor that pledge. If you've been reading the papers, you are aware that the slightest decrease in unemployment rates is usually enough to send financial markets into a plunge and a tizzy. Heck, if there was a decent job for everyone that wanted one, the pressure to pay a living wage, even to food workers, would be irresistible. And if that happened, how would our business elites compete with their counterparts in other lands, where leaders are even now telling young graduates what I'm telling you? Surely, you don't expect me to dictate to businessmen what's best for America.

No, my friends, the answer to the problem of race relations cannot come from full employment, or anything else tangible. It must come solely from the human spirit. I and my colleagues have conditioned our spirits to see the problem as one of attitude, or as one of better education. We say this unashamedly, even though there are millions of college graduates like yourselves who feel lucky to land any miserable job, even a temporary one, where they get barked at by a beezer with a Napoleon complex for a few bucks an hour and no benefits. I rely on you to use your spirit to adapt to this reality, and be thankful for it. It's a small price to pay for living in the greatest country on the face of the earth.

After all, if we were to set the table to accommodate everyone, then those who have hoarded so much of the food would have to thin their grotesquely-overstocked larders. Is that really an America you would like to see?

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