A Time for Optimism -- and Hard Work
At a speech, Jack Kemp pointed out that nearly a hundred years ago, we started this century with an air of boundless confidence and enthusiasm. Fourteen years later, the world was at war and over 5 million men -- or over 5,600 a day for five years -- paid the ultimate price.
The horror of World War I led to protectionism and isolationism of the West in the '30s. This left the ground fertile for Nazism, fascism and communism, with the dead eventually measured in the tens of millions. Kemp pointed out, "We have spent an exhausting century undoing the mistakes -- reclaiming the lost promise of 1900."
Then his boundless optimism emerged in his talk, and he pointed out that history offers few second chances but providentially we have been granted a fresh start, a blank slate, another chance this time to get things right. He said once again we could "see the momentum of hope and freedom in the sweep of history. We see it in the end of the Cold War, when the last shovel of dirt was placed on the grave of totalitarianism."
In South Africa, where men and women waited a lifetime to be treated according to their God-given rights as human beings in the land of their birth, there are now free elections and a prisoner has become the president. In Asia, whole regions are being lifted out of poverty by the most powerful impulse in history -- the human desire for freedom and creativity. And throughout our own hemisphere, over 96 percent freely elect their leaders.
Yes, this is a good time. Dr. Martin Luther King stated unequivocally that, given the choice, he would choose to live in his time. But there is an enormous amount yet to be done, so all of us should build on the victories of the past to make our future even better. If we do, I really will see you at the top!
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