Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks to Members of the Sheriff's Posse in Sun City, Arizona

May 06, 1983

The President. Let me say, I really enjoyed watching that handcuff demonstration. And I'm more determined than ever to behave myself, especially in Sun City. [Laughter]

Someone told me about the Sun City Posse's theme song. And I'd like to read a few lines of it because it really does capture the attitude here. So, turn on those network cameras—because maybe a lot of these people already know it—it's for you I'm saying this. [Laughter]

"When we're called, we want you to know that the Sun City Posse is rarin' to go.

"We may be grey; but we've still got the stuff to do the job when the going is rough."

Well, I know that the residents here are very grateful that you are out there on the streets keeping the crime rate low. And I've just had a demonstration from the sheriff on that also and some figures that show that probably this is the lowest crime rate spot in the United States. I think that the people are grateful that you've made Sun City a safer and more reassuring place to live. And, of course, all this is a volunteer effort, which makes it even more admirable.

America's citizens are more involved today in the safety of their communities than they've been since the days when it was a necessity for us to look after each other. And you are following in that tradition. You are willing to avail yourself or give of yourselves to help others. And that truly is the volunteer spirit, which is another way of saying that's the American spirit.

We all know how frightening crime is to the old and the young. Yet older Americans also require protection from other aspects of modern life. Remember the terrifying bully called inflation, that ate away at pensions and savings—and that was a form of robbery also. Inflation was running in double digits in 1980. And right now it's running at—just about for the last 6 months less than one-half of 1 percent. And it showed its first actual decline, below zero level—quarter decline, just recently, in nearly 25 years.

Just a few short years ago, who would have thought—and certainly no one was saying that we could ever return to the low inflation of the 1950's and the '60's. Well, this morning, just before coming here, I got some figures that are going to be made public and released today, probably already have in the East, and that is the figures on the other part of this recession that is the one that bothers all of us the most—unemployment.

Now, I have to confess to you, there are things about the unemployment statistics that still baffle me, because they say there's no change in the unemployment percentage rate; but there are 250,000 more people working in April than were working the month before. And since December, there have been 650,000 added to the list of those employed.

The recent amendments to the Social Security Act are another way that we're protecting older Americans. This legislation guarantees social security will provide a secure and a stable base so that the retired can live in dignity. It assures them that America will keep the promises made in troubled times a half a century ago. And it also protects those who are still working. Their basic human needs must be met with compassion as well as efficiency.

This administration is dedicated to the kinds of programs and policies that will allow the vast majority of senior citizens, older Americans, to continue to live independent lives. This is not just a matter of economic common sense, it's a matter of basic human dignity.

As the proclamation I'm about to sign states, "The future of older Americans should be as sweet as the memories of our youth." I do believe the future of our elderly holds as much promise as the achievement of our past. I had to make a couple of changes in the notes here. The young lady who typed up my notes for me thought she was being tactful and had me referring to them as "the elderly" or—well, as "them" instead of "us"— [laughter] —and I had to change a few "theirs" to "ours"— [laughter] .

But this month we're recognizing that potential by celebrating Older Americans Month, and that's what the proclamation is. And now I'm going to make it official by signing the proclamation.

See, these Federal pens will only sign one word. [Laughter] It's signed and—

.Ms. Barkdoll. Thank you, sir.

The President. One for you.

Ms. Barkdoll. Mr. President, thank you for honoring the Sheriffs Posse of Sun City so completely by coming out and signing the proclamation in our behalf here. At this time, I understand that when you were in Sun City last, which was about 1976, you weren't eligible to become one of our members. [Laughter]

The President. With perseverance, I made it.

Ms. Barkdoll. Well, I think you have made it in another way also. It's our pleasure, as the members of the Sheriffs Posse of Sun City, to have you as our honorary member. And to complete that partially, we have this hat. [Laughter] In addition, we have one of our intermediate yellow shirts with the emblems on. [Laughter]

The President. Thank you.

Ms. Barkdoll Now, if you are going out on patrol, there are certain things that you must know and must abide by. This book of rules and regulations contains it all. [Laughter]

The President. Thank you very much.

Ms. Barkdoll. We also have one other thing. There's just one more thing. I'm sorry I couldn't get your ID card but I must get clearance from the White House and from the FBI before I can give it to you. [Laughter]

The President. Thank you very much.

Well, now that I'm an honorary member of the patrol, I imagine that makes me duty officer for the day. So, you're dismissed. [Laughter] Let's be careful out there.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:10 a.m. at the posse's headquarters. Maurine E. Barkdoll is commander of the posse.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks to Members of the Sheriff's Posse in Sun City, Arizona Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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