Ronald Reagan picture

Radio Address to the Nation on the Presidential Campaign

October 27, 1984

My fellow Americans:

When I was asked recently what's been the greatest highlight of our campaign, I said the tremendous number of young people at our rallies and the tremendous outpouring of their spirit for America and our future.

To all of them, I just have to say: Your generation really sparkles. In my travels I have met you by the thousands, and I've seen enthusiasm and patriotism in your eyes that convince me you get high on America. Historians may look back at the strength of your spirit and common sense as key to the great American renewal in the 1980's.

Our generations are separated by more years than I care to admit; yet I feel a special bond of kinship with you. I think we share not only a great love for America but also an appreciation for the secret of America's success—opportunity.

America works best when we unite for opportunity, reaching for the stars and challenging the limits of our potential. And America's greatest progress for everyone-whites, blacks, young, and old—begins not in Washington, but in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, and voluntary groups across this land.

We weren't meant to be a nation divided; we weren't meant to be a nation second-best. We were meant to be, as our Olympic athletes showed last summer, a people with faith in each other, courage to dream great dreams, opportunities to climb higher, and determination to go for the gold.

Providing opportunities for all of us to make this great, free nation greater and freer still is what we've been trying to do since we made a great sea change in 1981—a change to reverse the flow of power to Washington and begin restoring sovereignty to the people.

We knew that inflation and the highest interest rates since the Civil War were making it impossible for people to buy homes, start up businesses or, for that matter, even find jobs. So, we reduced spending growth and cut tax rates for everyone. We knew that our defenses had become dangerously weak. So, we started rebuilding to be strong again.

We've only begun to clear away the debris from decades of bad policies. Many people still need help. Nevertheless, America already has made a great comeback. Inflation, taxes, interest rates, and crime are down, but confidence, jobs, investment, growth, and achievement in our schools are up. And unlike 4 years ago when the Soviets were gaining influence and spreading instability throughout the world, since 1981 not 1 square inch of territory has been lost to Communist aggression. That's what makes the world a safer place.

Today our nation is at peace and our economy is in one piece. We're poised to meet great challenges for the future. We can reduce personal tax rates further, creating new jobs and opportunities for every American with nobody left behind. We can pass initiatives like enterprise zones to rebuild the distressed areas of our country and push on toward much greater progress in education, science, technology, and space.

This month an American woman, Kathryn Sullivan, made history walking in space, then returned to the space shuttle in which some of the great scientific and medical advances of the future will be made. That's why we support the space shuttle and why we've committed America to build a permanently manned space station within a decade.

And by keeping America strong and prepared for peace we'll have the best chance to begin reducing nuclear weapons and, one day, God willing, banish them entirely.

But before we do anything, you must choose: Will we keep moving forward on a new path toward a better future, or will we turn back to my opponent's philosophy—weaker defenses, inflationary spending, and huge tax increases?

The difference between us is that we look at a problem and see opportunity, and he looks at opportunity and sees a problem. We seek a tax system that rewards work and investment and stimulates growth. Mr. Mondale would bring back the very policies that destroy incentives, destroy opportunity, and destroy economic growth—policies that would cause enormous hardship and send many of you from the graduation line to the unemployment line.

We can do better, much better. We want you to have an America every bit as full of hope, confidence, and dreams as our parents left us. Come November 6th, I hope millions of you will make history by voting for your future—voting for opportunity, voting for leadership that trusts in you and the power of your dreams. If you do, we'll bring this nation together with new strength and unity. We'll make sure America's best days are yet to come.

Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:06 p.m. from Camp David, MD.

Ronald Reagan, Radio Address to the Nation on the Presidential Campaign Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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