Jimmy Carter photo

Clemmons, North Carolina Remarks at a Carter/Mondale Fundraising Reception.

October 09, 1980

Thank you very much, my good friend, Jim Hunt. Jim Hunt calls me often enough to tell me what North Carolina needs— [laughter] —and in between times, Bob Morgan is right there at my elbow to make sure that I never forget. He says, "I want you to be as good a President for North Carolina as Jim Hunt would be if he was in the Oval Office." And that's a pretty high standard to meet, but I try to meet it. [Laughter]

This is a beautiful place—isn't it?and a beautiful nation, with people who have confidence in the future, people who have never failed to meet any challenge presented to us, people who are confident in one another, who believe in God, who love the land, who want strong families and communities that are making progress; a nation that's strong militarily and economically, whose political influence is felt beneficially all over the world; a nation committed to peace, peace not through weakness, but peace through strength; a nation whose government is admired and emulated in many parts of the world; a nation that's unselfish, that sometimes tries to help others maybe a little too much; a nation which has always kept intact the commitment to high principles and moral standards that never change; a nation that faces tribulation and answers questions and overcomes obstacles and solves problems without fail; a nation that's on the cutting edge of progress, that looks to the future not with doubt and fear and trepidation, but with anticipation and hope. That's the kind of nation we have.

God's really blessed us, and I'm very glad to be here today to share that blessing with you.

This is an election year. We're running a hard, difficult campaign. It's not easy. We face enormous bankrolls with all kinds of groups, financed with unlimited resources that don't even count, as you know, in the campaign for United States Senator here, when Bob Morgan is attacked every day with thousands and thousands of dollars from outside the State—a man who's courageous and who's committed to those principles that I've outlined to you. I'm glad to be on a ticket with him and with Steve Neal and with Jim Hunt.

The Democratic Party is one that's not perfect. We've made mistakes perhaps in the past, but those mistakes were always open. They were not mistakes of the devious kind. They were made after consultation with people. We couldn't always anticipate what OPEC was going to do. We couldn't always anticipate the difference between the emphasis on jobs and the control of inflation. That's not possible for anyone to do. But the Democratic Party is a party of competence and commitment and compassion. I'm proud to be a part of it.

I'm also proud to be a southerner. As I told the people at the fairgrounds, my people came from North Carolina way back. My cousin, Willard Slappey, Dr. Willard Slappey, is back here with his wife. Our people moved down from North Carolina to Georgia 10 years before the Revolutionary War, but our ties have always been close ones. And I think the concepts that I've just outlined to you have epitomized the concepts of the South.

I'm the first President elected from the South since James Polk was elected in 1844. It was not possible prior to the change in civil rights laws for a southerner to be considered seriously for President. That change was not easy. I look out on this crowd and see black and white people, friends, neighbors, sharing the present, sharing the future. It's an exhilarating, almost emotional thing for me. But that concept has stood us in good stead.

And we in this country have to remember that we are a nation of refugees, we're a nation of immigrants, each one of us different, family blood ties to almost every nation on Earth, which gives us a great advantage, because we have a special sense of the preservation of the past, which is part of the southern consciousness too, and a knowledge of the diversity of human beings which makes us respect every single person, no matter how great, no matter how small. And that's part of our strength. That doesn't fragment us one from another. It just let us put together our varied kind of interests and talents and abilities and concepts and commitments in a beautiful mosaic that makes up America.

We've opened up the rest of the world for new friendship. Africa was never part of the political consciousness of this country before I became President. This week we had the president of Nigeria, the greatest black nation on Earth. When Henry Kissinger was Secretary of State not long ago, he tried to go to Nigeria; they wouldn't let him come in. We've seen Zimbabwe, a new nation formed recently, democratic nation, free elections, majority rule, equality—great step forward. We helped do that. Lately we've opened up the People's Republic of China, a billion people, one out of every four people on Earth, with whom we haven't had any diplomatic relationships in decades. And now they're our friends. In the process we've expanded trade with Taiwan. This gives us a new opportunity to let the benefits of America be expressed all over the world.

Finally, let me say that this election in less than 4 weeks is crucial. It'll determine the future of our country. It'll determine whether that progress continues, whether we can work as the Democratic Party for the things that I've outlined to you as guiding lights in our life. And I say that with a proper degree of humility and also a proper understanding of the difficulties we face, but with confidence, because I believe that with partners like you-President, in one of the most difficult jobs on Earth, a sometimes lonely job, dealing with crises that you never know about unless the President makes a mistake, and then a crisis becomes something that might devastate your life or change the life of every person on Earth.

The job that I have is a good one. It's the highest office certainly in the free world. It's one revered by American people. It's one where difficult problems and questions arise, because if you can't solve a problem in your own life or in your home, county courthouse, city hall, State legislature, Governor's office, it comes to me, and I work with the Congress and try to deal with it.

Well, it could be lonely and unpleasant, but it's not because I don't feel alone. I feel that every one of you, in a tangible way, is my partner, and that's why I've come here to North Carolina again to let you know that in this next 4 weeks I need you. I need you to do more than just contribute $500—that's a lot—I need for you to set as your goal an all-out commitment to success for the Democratic ticket on November the 4th, because the decision made that day could be one of the most important decisions in your lifetime. It could be more important than the level of your income next year. It could be more important than what kind of college your child might attend in the future. It could be more important than the quality of automobile you buy or exactly where you live in a neighborhood.

And I hope that you will set aside a substantial portion of your time and contact directly the people that look to you for leadership and who trust your judgment. There's no one in this group that can't reach 100 people, most of you can reach 1,000, maybe 10,000 people, to say, "I've got confidence in Bob Morgan and Jim Hunt, Steve Neal, Jimmy Carter, and I hope you'll help them continue to lead our State and our Nation."

That's why I've come here, to thank you, first of all, and let you know you're my partners. And I believe with that partnership we'll make the greatest nation on Earth even greater in the years ahead.

Thank you very much. And now, I'll go around and shake hands with all I can reach.
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:30 p.m. outside the Tanglewood Park Clubhouse.

Jimmy Carter, Clemmons, North Carolina Remarks at a Carter/Mondale Fundraising Reception. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250876

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