Bill Clinton photo

Remarks to the Saxophone Club in Culver City, California

June 10, 1996

The President. Thank you very much.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you. First of all, let me say a special thank you to Don Fowler, the chairman of the Democratic Party, for coming out here to California with me. Thank you, Don. I want to thank Alec Baldwin for his years of support and for his wonderful, loyal devotion to this country. You know, I heard Alec up here giving this speech, and I thought, if he ever gets tired of making movies, he'd be a pretty good candidate, wouldn't he? [Laughter] He did well. I want to thank Joe Walsh and his band. And since he played "Rocky Mountain Way"—you may not know that since you've been in here, Colorado won the Stanley Cup, the hockey championship tonight, so I thought that was good. I want to thank John Fogerty for all of his music and everything he's done over the years. Thank you, John. I thank my good friend Whoopi Goldberg for being here earlier. She had to leave, but I know she was great and did a great job for you.

And let me thank all of you who have been part of the Saxophone Club, especially the people who have been working on it. There are people here who have been working on this idea of the Saxophone Club for years now. And the whole idea was we would find a way for Americans who maybe didn't have a lot of money to participate, to contribute, to be a part of our political campaign and our movement to change America, beginning back in 1992, especially younger Americans.

And as I look out at you tonight, I know you've been having a good time, and we ought to spend most of our time just sort of listening to music and chanting, "Four more years!" It's been a hard week; I like hearing that. [Laughter] But I'd like for you to think just for a couple of minutes about what this election is about, because most of you are considerably younger than I am, and most of you therefore have a much bigger stake in the consequences of the election in the future than I do. And I want you to think about it.

When I was out here shaking hands during the music, one young woman over here said, "Take care of us, Mr. President." And I said, "I'm sure trying to do that." And I am. But what does that mean? What does that mean? If you think about all the things that are going on in our country today and in our world, all these incredible changes, most of them are working out pretty well for most of you. The future is going to be a time when there will be more different things for people to do to live out their dreams than at any point in human history.

And if we do the right things in America, the best days of this country are still ahead of us, because there's no country in the world that is capable of creating opportunity for so many people; no country in the world as capable of bringing together so many different peoples across all the racial and ethnic and religious and other lines that divide us, into a common family; no nation in the world so capable of leading the world toward greater peace and freedom and human dignity and prosperity. And that's really what this election is all about.

You are lucky enough to be living through the period of greatest change that our country has experienced in the way we work, the way we live, and the way we relate to the rest of the world in 100 years, since we've moved from farm to factory and from the country to the city. Now we're moving from a national economy and the cold war to a global village, away from an industrial age to one dominated by information, technology, computers. Bill Gates, the great computer genius, says that the microchip has launched the greatest revolution in communication not in 100 years but in 500 years. That's what all of you have inherited. And we have to decide what we're going to do with it. And that's what this whole debate is about.

I believe the purpose of my office and your Government is to, first and foremost, create opportunity for everybody; to give every person, without regard to where they start in life, a chance to live out their dreams. I believe that, therefore, it is worth fighting to do what we've done. We've cut the deficit by more than half. Our economy has produced almost 10 million new jobs. We're moving forward in a dramatic way. I think that's important.

But not everybody has the opportunity to participate in this, and I won't be satisfied until everybody does. That's why, if you will reelect me, I'll do everything I can to guarantee that every single American citizen has a guarantee of 2 more years of education after high school— for every single, solitary person—that every American will be able to afford to go to college, and that you will be able to deduct the cost of college tuition from your income taxes, that every American will always have access to lifetime education. Most of you will be doing things 10 or 20 years from now—or many of you will— you'll be doing work that literally has not even been invented yet. And if I could do one thing for this country as President to create a structure of opportunity that would carry us way into the next century, it would be create a seamless web of lifetime education that every American could move in and out of, just like rolling down a river—very important.

Second thing I want to say to you is, it's very fashionable for people to condemn Government and say that Government is the source of all of our problems. But Government is nothing more or less than the rest of us; it is our reflection. And there are things we have to do in common. We need safe streets in common. We need a clean environment in common. We need a commitment to maintaining our own security against terrorism and dangerous weapons and drug runners and organized crime in common. We need these things in common.

And so when people tell you that they're going to get the Government off your back, you just remember it was our administration that reduced the size of the Federal Government by 240,000 people. But when California had an earthquake, when California had a fire, when California was broken down by the cutbacks in defense, you did not need weakness. You needed people to come in and help with the emergencies, to help with defense conversion, to help to rebuild this State, to help to rebuild this country.

Audience member. Four more years!

The President. And I just want to say one other thing. Every election time we're asked to blame one another for our problems. You just think about it. Every election time, somebody comes along, they find out who is not happy, and they try to tell you some other group of Americans you can blame for your difficulties. But the truth is, we're going into the future, up or down, together. The truth is, no great democracy has ever existed with as much diversity as this one has today. This county where we are tonight, this single county, has people from 150 different racial and ethnic groups. And I say, thank God for it. It is our ticket to success in a global economy.

So if you believe with me that this election is about creating opportunity for every American, not a guarantee but an opportunity to live out your dreams; and if you believe we have to do some things in common, give our children safe streets and a clean environment, good schools and a brighter future; and if you believe that this country still has a mission to stand up for freedom and decency and honor around the world wherever we can, so that we can grow together in a world that's coming together instead of coming apart, that's what's worth fighting for in this election.

This is not an election like 1992, where it's change against the status quo. This is an election where there are two very different deeply held views of change. And you have to pick which road you're going to walk right into the next century and what your country's road will be for 20 or 30 or 50 years. That is the choice that devolves on you. And I'll say again, most of you in this crowd tonight are younger than I am. Most of you still have more tomorrows than yesterdays. Your life, your children, your grandchildren's life, that's what's really at stake.

We're having a great time. I want you to love being in the Saxophone Club. I want you to go to more rallies and scream and shout and say hallelujah and have a good time and show everybody that we like what we're doing and we believe in it and we're feeling good. I want you to do that. But I don't want you to forget that this enterprise in which we're engaged is by no means resolved. This election is 4 months and 3 weeks and 1 day away. [Laughter] And that is an eternity. And I'm telling you, every one of you, every day between now and then, every single one of you will come in contact with someone that you can influence, someone you can get involved in a discussion about your country, someone you can force to think about the problems and the promise of America in a different way, someone you can convince that their vote makes a difference, that they really can shape the future of this country.

So I want to ask you, if you like being here tonight, if you're proud of what you're doing, if you believe in what we are trying to do together, then promise yourself when you walk out of here you're going to be a good citizen every single day between now and election day, November, and you will have the future that you deserve and that you can dream of.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:40 p.m. at the Smash Box photography studios. In his remarks, he referred to Donald L. Fowler, national chairman, Democratic National Committee; actor Alec Baldwin; musicians Joe Walsh and John Fogerty; and comedienne Whoopi Goldberg.

William J. Clinton, Remarks to the Saxophone Club in Culver City, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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