Jimmy Carter photo

Houston, Texas Remarks at a Rally for Carter/Mondale Volunteer Workers.

September 15, 1980

To Chairman John White, to all of you, let me say that on election day on November 4th, there can be no more important State than Texas. And I'd like to ask you a question: How many of you believe that Fritz Mondale and I are going to be re-elected on November 4th? [Applause]

That's a pretty good majority. How many of you believe we're going to carry Texas? [Applause] Right on. Well, what happens here in the biggest city in the biggest county in the biggest continental State of all will have a great deal to do with what happens in Texas and what happens throughout the country.

As you know, in the past crucial results have come from how Texas people voted. When the average working Texans who are interested in the principles on which our Nation was founded, who believe in equality and hard work and dedication, a better life for our children, strong military, peace, go out and vote, the Democrats always win.

As a matter of fact in 1960, if a few people in Illinois and about 28,000 Texans had changed their votes, then John Kennedy would never have been President. Lyndon Johnson would not have been Vice President and later President, and the future of our Nation would have been dramatically changed.

I know from experience how the people of this Nation look upon the office of President. Because what our Nation is, what our Nation can be, the vision of our Nation is shaped in the Oval Office. No easy decisions come there. No easy questions are answered there, because the easy questions and decisions are solved and answered somewhere else—in the county courthouse or the city hall or the State legislature, the Governor's office, in private businesses, private homes. But those questions that arrive in the Oval Office are complex, difficult, and profoundly important—for our people, individually and personally in a home, for our Nation, and indeed for the entire world.

There is no way to win against massive campaign treasuries as are being raised in Texas for my opponent and the influence of powerful people who don't have the best interests of this country at heart, except by dedicated work from volunteers who believe in the future of our country. And that's why I have confidence in you and the outcome of the election the first week in November.

If people know the facts, that's the most important single thing we can do. If the American people realize accurately the unvarnished truth about what we have achieved in the past and what we hope to achieve and expect to achieve in the future, there's no doubt in my mind about the outcome of this campaign.

We've faced some difficult, troubled times on a worldwide basis the last 3 1/2 years, tremendous economic shocks that have actually brought down the governments of many foreign countries and created chaos in others. Our country has made steady progress. In the last 3 1/2 years, we have added 8.6 million net new jobs for Americans: Hispanic Americans, the employment rate has gone up 22 percent; black Americans, the employment rate has gone up 18 percent. That kind of progress has been made, in spite of a tremendous increase in OPEC oil prices, in spite of tremendous increases in worldwide inflation.

And that kind of progress is going to be continued in the future. It's important to a family to have the right to a good education and the right to self-respect, the right to dignity and the right to a job-and as you know, the Democratic Party is the party of jobs and the Carter/Mondale administration is the administration of jobs—now and in the future.

There's another element, too, and it's basic human rights—civil rights—the self-respect that can come to someone whose family happens to be poor or who happens to be black, who happens not to speak English very well. When I took over as President there was not that kind of belief among the minorities and among the poor people of this country. The elderly were afraid that social security was going to go bankrupt. Everywhere I went mayors came to me and said: my city is going down the drain, Mr. President—at that time, Governor. We've put together programs that guarantee the honoring of civil rights.

We've added 73 percent to expenditures for better education. We have a good bilingual education program. And I think you all know that 4 or 500 delegates to the National—to the National—I started to say National Education Convention-to the Democratic Convention were teachers and educators, because they recognize that they share with me a responsibility for the Nation's future. It's important for a teacher or a school administrator to know that the future of education is bright in America. But it's even more important to a child or to a father or to a mother interested in their children having a better life. So, the Democratic Party is a party of better education. I might say this: There is not a child, a young person in this country now who will be deprived of a college education because of the poverty of a family. We've got a complete, comprehensive program intact that will take care of that need.

I just want to make two other points in order to be brief. One is it's important for us to keep our Nation militarily strong. My background is as a professional military officer. I went to Annapolis. I was a submariner. I spent 11 years in the Navy. When I became President I realized that for 8 years under the Republican administrations that the commitment in real dollars to our Nation's defense had been going down. Our country had lost the respect that should come from a commitment to military strength and to will, a respect for government and to national honor. The Vietnam war, the Watergate disgrace, combined with what I've just described to you, had weakened our country in international councils. The spirit of our Allies in NATO had been shaken. We've had a steady real increase, since I've been in office, in commitments to military strength, and also we've strengthened our alliances.

This has not been designed for war. It's been designed for peace. And the reason we've kept our country at peace for 4 years and are going to keep it at peace for 4 more years is because our Nation is strong, and we're going to stay strong.

And we've brought strength to other people as well, and we've brought peace to other people as well. In Israel, Egypt, Zimbabwe, China, Latin America, there's been a constant strengthening of the relationships between our country and those people and in the process an enhancement of freedom and democracy and a better life. We now have good relationships with a billion new friends in China. We've not lost our friendship and trade opportunities with Taiwan. Mexico, our neighbor to the south—we've increased this year trade with Mexico 60 percent. We'll sell them 10 million tons of American grain. We have tripled trade levels with Mexico in the last 4 years, and have a good relationship not only with Mexico but with Canada, Japan, and others.

This kind of thing, the raising of an American banner of decency and honor and strength, not only helps us internationally, but it helps every family in our country, because now we've built upon a good energy policy in order to provide for us a better future life.

Our economy has been deteriorating in the past. You can't expect American workers to be efficient with outmoded tools and factories. We are now getting ready to spend the 1980's building on the foundation that we have laid so tediously and with so much difficulty, to create millions and millions of jobs.

We have during the next few weeks a chance to tell an accurate story because one of the things that a President must do is tell the truth. Sometimes the truth is not popular, and sometimes the political consequences of it are severe. But a campaign in a democracy like ours is a time to explain, to inventory, to dream, and to describe those dreams when people have their ears attuned to hear. When the lever is pulled on November the 4th, that decides what kind of future our Nation will have and, more importantly, what kind of future that person will have. Will civil rights be honored? Will freedom be enhanced? Will the worth of a human be recognized? Will education be better? Will housing be better? Will we have a better transportation system? Will we have jobs? Will we have progress? Will we have peace? Will we have strength? Will our elderly be secure? Will we honor one another? Will our Nation be unified? Can we be proud that our Government is truthful and decent and honorable? Will there be adequate communication between people and the Government leaders? These are decisions we'll be making all at once on November the 4th when we vote. And if people will listen between now and then and think and assess where should our country be in the 1980's and the rest of this century and the future, I have no doubt that with your help we'll win a tremendous victory on November 4th.
God bless you. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 2:06 p.m. in the Imperial Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Jimmy Carter, Houston, Texas Remarks at a Rally for Carter/Mondale Volunteer Workers. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251080

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