Public Papers - 1992
Remarks at a Community Picnic in Brookville, Ohio
Thank you very, very much. Hey, listen, thanks for that warm Brookville welcome, and thanks for inviting me to this great picnic. My thanks to the Brookville High School Band, pressed into service out of school but playing well.
May I salute Ohio's Governor, Governor Voinovich, an old friend doing a great job for this State, and our Lieutenant Governor, Mike DeWine, an old friend of mine and of Barbara's, he and his Fran. We want to see him win this year. Mayor Duncan, may I thank you, sir, and your wonderful family for making us feel so welcome and salute all the present and future legislators.
I see a sign back here that I agree with: ``Let's Change Control of the United States Congress.'' Let's change that Congress.
May I salute a man I just threw a horseshoe with, Cloyce Copley, 97 years old. Boy, I hope I'm like that when I'm 97, and I bet the rest of you do, too.
Let me just start by a comment about the world we live in, particularly seeing these children here. We have changed, literally since I have become President, we have changed the world. Now we want to use that leadership to make things better in the United States of America. Just think of it: The Soviet Union and Soviet communism are no more. The Berlin Wall is down. Ancient enemies are talking to each other in the Middle East, and we're going to move peace forward in that area. Democracy is on the move in Latin America. And these young kids go to sleep at night without the same fear of nuclear weapons that their parents had. That is fantastic for the United States of America.
It's a new world, and it's a fantastic challenge in it. When we kicked, with the help of many young men and women here, kicked Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, we said, ``Aggression will not stand.'' That is an important principle.
So you couldn't tell it from listening to the Democratic Convention, which I was spared because I was fishing in Wyoming, but I might say, foreign affairs and the national security of this country are still important. We still don't know what's going to crop up in the terrorist field or some unpredictable enemy. As long as I am President I will keep the United States of America strong and number one. We cannot forget that.
So the question now comes: With the help of the American people we have changed the world; it is a more peaceful world. Now let us take that involvement with the world to make us the most competitive nation on the face of the Earth. Let's change things.
That's why I am running for reelection. We've changed the world; now help me change America for the better. Education, winning the battle against drugs, driving criminals out of our communities: We can do it if we pull together.
But I think it's particularly appropriate here at this marvelous community celebration to think about another threat, another threat facing us more dangerous than a missile. I'm talking about the breakdown of the American family. Here today we see it strong, and I want to protect it and help strengthen it.
The opposition would have you believe that family values is merely a slogan. I don't look at it that way at all. I don't believe that. Here's what Ruth Ditmer Ream of Brookville said, here's her poem: ``Describe a world short on hope where there is so much pain, how can we mend the golden thread to weave our dreams again?'' We can mend that thread, but we have got to find ways to strengthen the traditional American family.
You see, I have a different approach than the opponents. I believe the family can do things no Government program can do. Let's take a look at Brookville and share it with the rest of this great country of ours. Where would you find a Government program that would guarantee that Brookville High School would have a 95-percent attendance record? Government cannot do that. Family can. Where would you find a Government program that motivates six of your best and brightest to earn perfect grade scores, and the class of '92 right here in Brookville to earn more than a quarter of a million dollars in college scholarships? Now, Government cannot do that, but the family can if they help those kids.
Let me give you an example. Where would you find a Government program to teach and shape a good, solid young man like Derek Brown, who can become a national merit scholar? Government alone can't. They can help, but they cannot do it. His family can. Your families can.
So let the other side ridicule family values. I'm talking about work, responsibility, loving thy neighbor, respect for the Creator. Family teaches us right from wrong and discipline, and it teaches us kindness, too. So let me tell you how I want to see the Government help in strengthening the traditional American family.
Here we are. It's expensive to raise a family today. I believe the Government can help ease that burden. Yesterday I signed a law expanding financial aid to students, young and old, not just the poor but also the middle class who are desperately strapped by economic times. We did this so that your son and daughter can go to college and chase a dream. Parents who want to go back to college and finish the degree, even if it has to be one course at a time, you all deserve our support. This legislation will help give you that support.
Let me tell you another area. What about the young children of working parents who need quality day care? I have fought for an important new effort to help assist the working parents, and I stood for principle against those who said that only government-sponsored day care will do. It will not. I ask what's wrong with day care in an aunt's house or even in a church? Today I am pleased to announce that we are issuing the first regulations implementing historic child care legislation guaranteeing that parents who get Federal help in paying for child care will get the kind of care they choose. It is not the Government to tell them. You see, it is my belief that the fathers and mothers know best how to care for these kids and should have a choice in how child care works when it comes to the kids.
I also believe that same principle of choice ought to apply to our schools. When I got out of the service they had the GI bill. It didn't say what school you had to go to. It said you could go to any one, religious, private, or public school. I now have the ``GI bill'' for children that permits just that, giving the parents choice in where their kids go to school.
There are other ideas. This economy has been sluggish. I have had incentives to get this economy moving, and the Congress, thinking those same old thoughts, refused to think new ones. I'd like to see a ,000 tax credit to help young families share in the American dream and buy their first home. Get the Congress to pass that.
I want the families to be able to use their IRA's without penalty for unexpected health care costs. Get the Congress to get off its -- get the job done.
We know that in recent years the number of single-parent families have exploded. Half the kids in single-parent homes live in poverty, 5 times the rate of others. Well, the Berlin Wall crumbled. Russians trooped to the polls. The Poles opened a new stock exchange. We got all these things going, but we need to help these children and help these families. That's what this program is all about.
One last point, and then we'll let you get back to having some fun, one last point. When I talk about change, take a look at one institution that has not changed in the last few years. Presidents come and go; different parties have come and gone. But look at the United States Congress. One party has controlled the House of Representatives for 36 years. The result: They can't run a little tiny post office, and they can't do anything but screw up a bank. So if you want to get done what I know you do, getting this balanced budget amendment, if you want that line-item veto, if you want to help me move this economy forward, change the control of the United States Congress.
There's another point. Terms of Presidents are limited. What's wrong with limiting the terms of some of these old geezers that have been there forever?
Let that new ticket talk about change, and I'll lay my record up against them any single day for constructive change for the United States. We have changed the world; now help me constructively change the United States of America.
Thank you all, and God bless you. Thank you very much.
Note: The President spoke at 1 p.m. in Golden Gate Park. In his remarks, he referred to Mayor Michael A. Duncan of Brookville.