YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE STATE OF THE UNION : Text: 'Put on Your Work Shoes, We're Still on Job'

January 26, 1988|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Here is the prepared text of President Reagan's State of the Union address Monday night:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, distinguished members of the House and Senate:

When we first met here seven years ago--many of us for the first time--it was with the hope of beginning something new for America.

We meet here tonight in this historic chamber to continue that work.

If anyone expects just a proud recitation of the accomplishments of my Administration, I say let's leave that to history; we're not finished yet.

So my message to you tonight is: Put on your work shoes--we're still on the job.

History records the power of the ideas that brought us here those seven years ago.

Ideas like: the individual's right to reach as far and as high as his or her talents will permit; the free market as the engine of economic progress; and as an ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu, said: Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish; do not overdo it.

These ideas were part of a larger notion--a vision, if you will, of America herself.

An America not only rich in opportunity for the individual but an America, too, of strong families and vibrant neighborhoods; an America whose divergent but harmonizing communities were a reflection of a deeper community of values--the value of work, of family, of religion--and of the love of freedom that God places in each of us and whose defense he has entrusted in a special way to this nation.

All of this was made possible by an idea I spoke of when Mr. Gorbachev was here: the belief that the most exciting revolution ever known to humankind began with three simple words: "We The People"--the revolutionary notion that the people grant government its rights, and not the other way around.

And there is one lesson that has come home powerfully to me, which I would offer to you now: Just as those who created this republic pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor; so, too, America's leaders today must pledge to each other that we will keep foremost in our hearts and minds not what is best for ourselves or for our party, but what is best for America.

In the spirit of Jefferson, let us affirm that, in this chamber tonight, there are no Republicans, no Democrats, just Americans.

Yes, we will have our differences.

But let us always remember: what unites us far outweighs whatever divides us.

Those who sent us here to serve them--the millions of Americans watching and listening tonight--expect this of us.

Let's prove to them and to ourselves that democracy works even in an election year.

We have done this before.

And as we have worked together to bring down spending, tax rates, and inflation, employment has climbed to record heights; America has created more jobs and better, higher-paying jobs; family income has risen for four straight years, and America's poor climbed out of poverty at the fastest rate in more than 10 years.

Our record is not just the longest peacetime expansion in history but an economic and social revolution of hope, based on work, incentives, growth, and opportunity; a revolution of compassion that led to private sector initiatives and a 77% increase in charitable giving; a revolution that--at a critical moment in world history--reclaimed and restored the American dream.

'Look Up to America'

In international relations, too, there is only one description for what, together, we have achieved: a complete turnabout, a revolution.

Seven years ago, America was weak and freedom everywhere was under siege; today, America is strong and democracy is everywhere on the move.

From Central America to East Asia, ideas like free markets and democratic reforms and human rights are taking hold.

We've replaced "Blame America" with "Look Up to America."

We've rebuilt our defenses; and, of all our accomplishments, none can give us more satisfaction than knowing that our young people are again proud to wear our country's uniform.

And in a few moments, I'm going to talk about three developments--arms reduction, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the global democratic revolution--that, when taken together, offer a chance none of us would have dared imagine seven years ago, a chance to rid the world of the two great nightmares of the postwar era.

I speak of the startling hope of giving our children a future free of both totalitarianism and nuclear terror.

Tonight, then, we are strong. Prosperous. At peace. And we are free.

This is the state of our union.

And if we will work together this year, I believe we can give a future President and a future Congress the chance to make that prosperity, that peace, that freedom, not just the state of our union, but the state of our world.

Toward this end, we have four basic objectives tonight.

First, steps we can take this year to keep our economy strong and growing, to give our children a future of low inflation and full employment.

Los Angeles Times Articles