Remarks of the Vice President at Trainside Rally, Ann Arbor, MI
Thank you very much. May I say, first of all, we want to express our appreciation to all of you who came, but all of you, too, who have made this meeting the wonderful and colorful and tremendous success that it is, and I just got a list here of the high school bands that are here - the Ann Arbor High School band, Manchester, Ypsilanti, Willow Run.
I am particularly privileged to have the opportunity to speak here at Ann Arbor again. I have spoken here on two previous occasions, in 1952 and 1956, but I will only say with regard to the crowd today as compared with the crowd then, that this is three times as big as those two put together, and we thank you for making it so.
And just to show you how things go in this election campaign, the beautiful young lady who presented the roses to Pat was Sue Kennedy.
You will have to pardon my hoarseness this morning, but in riding in an open car in the rain yesterday, I seem to have picked up a little cold, but if you will bear with me, I do appreciate the opportunity to discuss on this occasion what I think is the most important decisions that you who are of voting age will make during your lives. I know you often hear that said. Those of us who are running for public office, for us people, think, well, it's important for that fellow, but I'm not so sure about us, and I think people too sometimes think of Washington being very, very far away, after you will elect a President and a Vice President, a Senator and a Congressman, and they get down there and argue about things and now and then make the headlines, but as far away from Ann Arbor and the problems of Michigan, and the things you have to do and the problems you meet in your everyday lives.
But today, I'm sure I do not need to tell this audience in this great university community that things have changed. I am sure I do not need to tell you that, as we enter this critical period of the sixties, everything we do in Washington, everything we do, will not only affect Washington, will not only affect America in the general sense, but it will affect every family in this country.
I could spell it out in great detail, but let me just point it up with a few examples. First of all, I think it's vitally important for us to bear in mind that when we talk about our government in Washington, or our government here in the State of Michigan that the decisions that are made there not only affect what we call the State budget and the Federal budget, but they can't help but affect the family budget - and, when you vote, for example, for Paul Bagwell, as I hope you will - and Michigan certainly deserves a good Governor. When you vote for us at the national level, for George Meader, your Congressman, and we certainly hope you vote for him, for Al Bentley as U.S. Senator, for your candidates for President and Vice President - when you vote for them, it cannot help but affect you, because what, for example, is done in the State of Michigan - you have seen what has happened. When government is irresponsible in Michigan, when it adopts spending policies, for example, which drive business away from the State rather than attracting it to it, as it should, with all the resources, human and natural, that you have here, then it's time for a change, and it's time to get a good Governor in the form of Paul Bagwell.
Now, at the national level, you have a pretty good choice, and a very definite choice. There's one thing in which there's no question, and that is, as far as the spending programs of my opponent are concerned and mine, they differ in this respect: He will spend a great deal more money - about $15 billion a year more. Now, at first blush, of course, people will say, "Well, after all, doesn't that make it better, doesn't that mean he's more for what we want?" And the answer to that: Whose money is he spending? Is it his or yours?
What I'm really trying to say is this: That what we must have in this country is progress. What we must have in this country is progress. We must move ahead in education. We must move ahead in all areas, but, my friends, the way to move ahead is not through turning over everything to the Federal Government in Washington. The way to progress is to bring the best out of 180 million individual Americans, as well as your State and local government - and that's our program.
And I say to you that those of us who do think, who do think, before we spend, who do say before we approve a program in Washington, are we getting our money's worth for it; can we do this job better at the local level than at the Federal level; could this money be better spent by the people back in Michigan than in Washington. I say we are the ones who are thinking of the people and our opponents are not thinking of the people, and let the record be straight on that point.
Now, let me turn now to what is perhaps, without question, the greatest issue of our time. I say the greatest issue advisedly and particularly since we are meeting in this great university community, a university community which has contributed so much to government in Washington.
I know with my good staff that I have - I know what it has contributed there - government which has also contributed to the cause of peace and understanding throughout the world.
I know of the travels of the president of your university, for example, abroad and the recommendations he has made for more exchange, recommendations which I have always supported. But, my friends, basically, in the field of foreign policy the American people have a choice that is one that is again clear cut. It's between two teams, between our team and theirs. Now, naturally, I'm prejudiced. I am prejudiced because I have had the opportunity to work with the President of the United States and with Cabot Lodge over the last 7½ years.
And, with regard to my opponent, I will say what I have said every place in this country: That there is no man, in my opinion, who has done a better job fighting for the cause of peace and freedom than Henry Cabot Lodge as our Ambassador to the United Nations.
Also, may I say in connection with that that I am proud that on the great issue of civil rights, which no longer can be thought of as a local American issue, because it affects our prestige throughout the world, that my colleague and I are proud to stand together and we speak with one voice and not two voices, as do our opponents.
I say this because, my friends, when we talk about prestige in Africa, when we talk about prestige in Asia, when we talk about what's going to happen in the Middle East - I have been there. I have seen these countries, and 90 percent of the peoples of these countries are not white, and it is tremendously difficult for one who represents the United States to preach, as we do, and as we must stand for, for equality of opportunity abroad and then to have Mr. Khrushchev come here and to point the finger to us and say, you practice prejudice at home. And, so, if I could leave one message at this point with all of the students here: Whatever you do, some of you will enter public life, I hope, but whatever you do, as you spread into the communities throughout this Nation, proclaim the ideals you have in your colleges and in your high schools. See to it that Americans live up to the American ideal of equality of opportunity, because this is something that has happened by laws in Washington. It's something that is handled by what people feel, and they believe in their own hearts and what they practice in their own communities.
Now, if I could go on to this whole field of foreign policy, first of all, my colleague and I have not only served with the President. We also have had the opportunity of meeting and knowing Mr. Khrushchev.
We have sat opposite him at the conference table. We, too, know we believe - something about how he operates, and I think I can say that we're not going to be fooled by him, because we have had the practice in dealing with him in the past.
Now, I do not say to you that this problem is easy. I will say to you on the other hand that there has never been a problem that has confronted the United States and that has confronted freemen, which is more serious, more difficult, than the challenge presented by the international Communist movement. Why? Because they are bent on conquering the world. Why? Because they are driving approximately a billion people, driving them unmercifully to overtake us economically, militarily, and otherwise. But, my friends, we will win, and we will win provided we don't get a second-class psychology in the United States about what we believe in this country and what we stand for.
And in that connection, let's just set the record straight. My opponent has - and again I quote him, and I'm going to quote him without notes, because I know what he said. He has referred to the fact that in education in America, education in America has become second, that science in America is second. He has said that our economy is going to become second, that we're drifting away as far as our prestige. He has also indicated that as far as the U.S. position generally in the world is concerned, that we've been standing still, and that our opponents have been moving ahead. It's time to set the record straight, and I set it straight today. My friends, there are things wrong with this country. We've got to move our education ahead. We've got to see to it that no young American who has the ability to have a college education is denied that opportunity because of lack of finances, and we have a program that will do it.
We've got to see to it that we move ahead in science, and we've a program for breakthroughs that will move ahead imaginatively in this field.
We have to move ahead in atomic energy, particularly in its peaceful uses. I announced a program for that last night. In all of these areas, we must move ahead, but let's see where we are now and let's get the truth. Economically, we're twice as productive as the Soviet Union, and we're going to stay that way if we remain true to our principles.
Education: Now, look, I have seen universities in the Soviet Union, and I have seen them here. Scientifically; I have seen their scientific institutes abroad, and I have seen them here. We are ahead overall in science; we're ahead overall in education, and we'll stay ahead if we don't ape their atheistic scientific materialism in the United States.
Remember, our scientists are trained not just to be technicians, as are theirs. They are trained to be citizens of the world. They are trained in the humanities. They have beliefs other than in simply godless materialism, and let's be proud of it, and recognize that that's one of the reasons we have, because we realize all the opportunities of men and all their initiative, why we will stay ahead in this critical area.
Now, if I can say just one other thing about our foreign policy: The grave problem, my friends, is this: How do you keep the peace without surrender? How do you keep it by avoiding belligerence on the one side and avoiding lack of firmness on the other?
We have an example, the example of Cuba. Here is a terribly difficult problem for us. For many months, a little demagog by the name of Castro has been kicking the United States around. He has been thumbing his nose at the United States. He has been confiscating our property. And, so, here in the United States people say: "Why don't we get rid of Castro?" And some people say: "Why don't we do what Teddy Roosevelt might have done or one of our earlier Presidents? Let's send in the Marines." And let me say this, my friends - let me tell you something: We could do that, but, my friends the President of the United States has been right in not using the great power of this country to destroy 5 million Cubans like Hungary was destroyed by the Soviet Union. Let's remember that.
Now, what have we done, then? What we have done is the right thing. We have protected our property. We have quarantined Mr. Castro politically and economically, so that the Cuban people will see what kind of man he is, and in their own good time - and it will be a good time, and sooner, I think, than you think - they will get rid of him in their own way. But, my friends, let me say this: we announced this program, and then what do we find? Well, you remember the story about the Hydra-headed monster. That's the problem that Cabot Lodge and I have in this campaign in fighting our opponents. We cut off one head, or they cut their own off, and then they grow another one. For example, take the problem of Cuba. My opponent said when we announced a quarantine program: Too little; too late. And what did he say we ought to do? And I quote him exactly. He said that we should support - the U.S. Government should support - the anti-Castro forces in and out of Cuba. What happened? This had a terrible effect all over Latin America. It would have broken five treaties of nonintervention we had if that kind of Government intervention had occurred. It also had a terrific effect all over this country. Editorial writers throughout the country said this was madness, that it was wrong. And, so, my opponent then said, "Well, I didn't mean it that way." Well, all I can say is this: If he had made that mistake as President, he wouldn't have had a second guess - and we can't afford such. * * *
But no sooner had he cut off his own head on that issue than we found Mr. Stevenson, who apparently is his chief foreign policy adviser, saying not that this is too little and too late, but that this is dangerous policy; it is an aggressive policy; it is going to lead into the hands of Khrushchev; it's going to drive Castro into his hands.
Now, I ask you: Which are we to believe? Are we going to believe Mr. Stevenson or are we going to believe Mr. Kennedy? All that I can say is this: I say the American people don't want to go Mr. Kennedy's way. They don't want to go Mr. Stevenson's way. They want to go Eisenhower's way - and that's our way, and that's the way we're going.
Now, the last point that I make is one that I make particularly because I know of the great concern the people in these university communities have for the cause of disarmament. People have often spoken to me - my friends who are Quakers, as I am, have written to me - and they have said, "Mr. Nixon, why doesn't the United States show a more flexible attitude? Why don't we take the first step toward disarmament?" Let me tell you what we have done. We have not only taken one step; we have not only taken two steps, but we have gone the second mile, the third mile, way down the line on disarmament. The point is: the Soviet Union is blocking the road to disarmament, blocking the road to stopping tests. Why? Because they want a closed society and they want no inspection.
"But," some people say, "Mr. Nixon, why don't we show we have faith? If they say they are going to take our word on faith, why don't we take their word on faith?" Well, my friends, they don't have to worry about faith as far as we are concerned. We don't do anything in this country that newspapermen don't learn about the next hour, or even before it happens, for that matter. Now, that is as it should be, and we wouldn't change it. But go to the Soviet Union, a closed society, and you find you do not have that situation at all. And let's remember one thing: what keeps the peace of the world today? The fact that the United States and our allies are the strongest in the world militarily. This is a force for peace. Whenever that balance changes, whenever the Soviet Union gains strength as against our strength, war's danger increases, because they are wanting to use their strength not as we are, for peace, but to conquer the world. So, anytime we make a disarmament agreement which does not have inspection, under which they might increase their strength as against ours, it increases the risk of war. That's why I say that we stand for peace when we say, as President Eisenhower says: Yes, we will go to Geneva and discuss disarmament and stopping tests; yes, we will go to the summit and discuss disarmament and stopping tests. Yes, but we will never agree to an agreement unless the Soviet Union is going to require inspection as well as the United States. This is the road to peace. The other is the road to war.
And, now my last point: we have been talking about hard issues, so-called, hard issues in the sense of diplomacy and strength and economics; but, above everything else, if you will remember this I will appreciate it: whoever is elected President of this country in the years to come will be strong only if the American people are strong in their minds and in their hearts and in their souls, because I want to tell you this: when you travel abroad, what America is respected for primarily is not our military strength, which they know, not our economic strength, which they also know, but for the things in which we believe.
I remember our visit to Poland. I remember a quarter of million people shouting and cheering, "Long live America," and over half of them with tears running down their cheeks. Why? Because they knew America stood for freedom - not only for ourselves, but for people everywhere. Because they knew we stood for more than just atheistic materialism, that we stood for faith in God.
My friends, what we need in this country is a zeal and devotion to the ideals of the American Revolution. They are very simple - our faith in God; our faith in our ideals, and our belief that these ideals belong to the whole world.
If you will strengthen America at home in that way, and the young people of America can do it, in your communities, in your homes, in your churches, then the President of the United States can lead a great crusade, a crusade for peace, a crusade for freedom, a crusade in which all men will have progress and peace in the years ahead.
Thank you very much.
Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President at Trainside Rally, Ann Arbor, MI Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273892