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Radio interview
Alan Keyes on Straight Talk with Mychal Massie
October 5, 2004

MYCHAL MASSIE, HOST: With me, again, is Ambassador Alan Keyes. He's running for the Senate in Illinois. You can look and see what's going on in the Keyes camp at, and everything about Alan and his campaign is right there. I encourage all of my listeners to go there and see about how they can be involved in Alan's campaign.

Alan, are you hearing me better now, Ambassador?


MASSIE: Again, why don't you pick up where I left off with what's taking place in America, and then just go right through there.

KEYES: I think, sadly, we are in a time when people neglect the fact that if we are to maintain our liberty, we've got to maintain the moral character and culture that's needed to support it. And the admiration for people who are basically not observing the need for self-discipline, for strong family life, this is really tearing down the culture, but we also see it in public policy, like abortion, like what's happening with the court assault on traditional marriage. It's as if people have forgotten that you can't sustain freedom in the absence of that moral foundation which is needed in order to have people who can use that freedom with respect for law, with respect for decency, with respect for family life. And with the virtues that are needed, including risk-taking and courage and integrity and honesty, to sustain a free enterprise system and an economic way of life that relies upon the initiative, courage, and effectiveness of individuals and families.

All of this requires that we respect the moral culture of our liberty--and I think that we are forgetting that in our politics, and a lot of our political leaders are forgetting that.

MASSIE: You're running against a gentleman who, by all indications, one would think would embrace the aspects and virtues that we look at as conservatives that has made America great. And yet, the gentleman embraces those disciplines which I believe will not encourage our young people in America to participate, and take risks, and take those chances that you mention; [instead,] it's more of the same: a handout, as opposed to "do it yourself."

When did it happen? How has it happened that a message like yours which should resonate throughout our country--and by the way, I have an email from the police force in Illinois that says, "Please shake Mr. Keyes' hand for me. Let him know that I admire him and appreciate his straightforwardness. I would love to live in a city where people look at each other as just that: people. P.S. Alan Keyes has my household vote." But why is it that your message is so hard for people to accept?

KEYES: Well, I don't think it is. I think it's just hard to get through the media sometimes, but it seems wonderfully well-accepted around the state of Illinois, and I think it's because of the contrast. Barack Obama is basically a socialist. He is somebody who believes in the power of government--and I think that's partly because he doesn't see the reality that there can be a decent, ordered liberty, that people who are given choices and allowed freedom in their economic life, allowed control over their schools and their own resources, can build better and more effectively for the future than bureaucrats who are constrained within government to serve the power and ambition of particular political groups or parties. I think this results from the fact that he doesn't seem to take seriously the moral culture of liberty.

MASSIE: Ambassador, we'll be right back. We have to go into a break.


MASSIE: We're back. I'm Mike Massie. You're listening to Straight Talk. We're working our way through some audio technical difficulties here, but I'm glad you stayed with us. We'll have them worked out. We're with Ambassador Alan Keyes, who's running for the Senate. He's a Republican senatorial candidate for Illinois. is his website, where you can go and see how you can become involved and explore and find all of what takes place with Alan in Illinois.

Ambassador, as we were going into break, I said I'd like for you to share with us your vision for Illinois when you're elected. What is your vision, and how would you, your being in Washington, be better for the people of Illinois and also better for America?

KEYES: Well, first of all, I think it's important that I'm putting together what I call a community of principle, to replace the coalition of selfish politics that's represented by the little clique of machine politicians that now dominates the State of Illinois. I think it's a great disservice to the whole state that we have a handful of people who do not, apparently, share the heart and values of the people. They are taking stands on key moral issues that are contrary to the faith and belief of, I think, a majority of people in Illinois, including folks in Chicago who have been voting for this machine and yet seen their faith and values betrayed by it.

So, we're going to bring together people from all over the state who share a common heart, share values, and also share common sense about the things that are needed to move this state forward. You have folks who are committed to socialism like Barack Obama, who talk jobs and then kill the businesses that provide the jobs, with excessive government domination and fees and overregulation and approaches that really ignore the fact that if you want a dynamic economy, you've got to get government out of the way of the dynamism of the American people.

I think that also is true of the impact that these trade agreements have had in Illinois, where I think we have been getting unfair results that have been killing jobs, exporting them overseas, destroying the prospects for a lot of our people because we haven't been getting the kind of results we need. That's an area where I will have direct experience and background. I have been involved in the multilateral fora where a lot of these agreements are negotiated. I understand the kind of sacrifice of our interest that is being made, and I will be both listened to with respect and capable of articulating different approaches that will help to remedy this problem and get better results for our workers and our people.

I also think that we need to look at fundamental areas like education, where I think the lack of confidence in the decency of people and the responsibility of parents leads folks like Barack Obama to prefer this government-dominated approach, when what's really needed is school choice: where the money we spend on education follows the choice of parents; where they can send their children to schools that best reflect and serve their faith, their values, their children's future; where they can put together new schools, if need be, that will better serve people; and where this can be done in a way that includes empowerment for poorer parents, so that the money that the public is spending will be used in a way that they think makes sense for their children.

I think this is a fundamental divide between Barack Obama and Alan Keyes. He puts his faith in these coercive government approaches; I think we need to be putting our faith in people, in real self-government. And that's true in the economic area, in the area of schools and how we approach other problems, including the medical system where I believe in medical savings accounts and things that will empower individuals with greater choice and also greater responsibility.

MASSIE: You've touched on something that I think is critical: not only greater choice, but greater personal responsibility.

When I listen to Barack Obama speak, I do hear "more of the same." I do hear a dependence on others and a lack of responsibility for one's actions.

Ambassador, besides your foreign policy experience, that would certainly, one would have to believe, serve you very well in the trades and so forth in Illinois, besides your position on education, your message of true empowerment through self-reliance and opportunity and also personal responsibility, that's a message that has, if we look at people today, from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to Associate Justice from California Janice Rogers Brown to yourself to any number of people, that is what has allowed and permitted them to ascend the ladder to the height that they are at today. I think, and certainly I would think that you would agree, that by encouraging anything other than that, we harm our young people and do them a severe disservice. You would agree with that?

KEYES: I certainly do, and I think one of the keys to that, obviously, is to restore a sense of real integrity in family life. One of the things that breaks my heart and has for many years, when I was writing my book Masters of the Dream in particular about the black community, one of the things I think is most devastating is the breakdown of the family structure and the fact that you have so many children growing up in fatherless households, where they don't have the balance, they don't have the guidance. Particularly young men are growing up without that necessary guidance and discipline. And I think that undermines the prospects for all of life, undermines economic prospects, undermines the development of real stability in one's personality, undermines the sense of self-confidence, undermines the sense of responsibility that can then lead one to dedicate oneself to one's own children and to building family life for them.

I think we need to put a priority on recasting what we are doing in this society in terms of building marriage-based family, strengthening them, developing in people the expectation that they will devote themselves to childbearing and childrearing in the context of a lifelong commitment to marriage.

And I think that's one of the reasons why the defense of traditional marriage and issues like abortion are so important: because they directly affect the heart that's needed and the sense of responsibility and the moral culture that's needed to develop family life with its strengths and to pass on a culture of self-respect and self-discipline, instead of a culture of "self-esteem" and self-indulgence.

MASSIE: Ambassador, your position on school choice, religious freedom, property rights, marriage, that you've just touched on; the creation of jobs, healthcare, immigration; your position on taxation and government spending, the United Nations and our sovereignty--these positions notwithstanding, I'd like to hear your thoughts, and I've just rambled some of them off. And ladies and gentlemen, you can go to to see where Ambassador Keyes stands on the issues, to read what others have said, to see his messages, there's a picture of his family there. Critical issues that he has addressed an his experience and why he is the right man for Illinois, it's right there. That's I encourage everyone to go and participate in Ambassador Keyes' campaign as much that you are able.

Ambassador, I wanted to touch on abortion and marriage. Because in the society today, it's so often we hear, especially in the minority communities, that somehow the Republicans are out to harm us, and they're out to keep us back, and they're holding us down, and they're locking up our men in jail, and it's hurting the family. The threat of extinction, so to speak, of the minority community seems to be abortion, but it's not being talked about. In America today, the greatest, the largest, the number one killer of black people is abortion.

We're going to the break. We'll be right back.


MASSIE: We're back. I'm Mike Massie. You're listening to Straight Talk. We've got Ambassador Alan Keyes on the line. And again, I encourage you to go to his website,, to read his positions and to find out more about his campaign and how you can be involved, how you can contribute to it.

In the time remaining, Ambassador, we were talking about the threat, the unspoken threat of abortion to the minority community and to the community as a whole. We'll wrap there. Your thoughts?

KEYES: Well, I think this is a key area, and I've been doing a lot to bring it to the attention of folks, particularly in Illinois, because I think it's one of those things--if you look at the history of black America, and look at lynching or some things like that, the numbers of deaths that were involved, even through the whole period when lynching was going on, paled in comparison with the 14 million minority lives that have been taken in the holocaust of abortion.

It has already had its effect demographically, in terms of black Americans no longer being the largest minority population. But it also has moral and psychological effects. Imagine a situation where you are telling fathers that they have no role in the life of that child in the womb; they must stand by, harden their hearts, turn away while the child is killed, without any decision or participation from them. And yet, one of the major problems we face right now is just that--fathers turning away from their responsibility to their offspring.

In one sense, this abortion holocaust hardens the heart of fathers against their children, because we are telling them that they play no role in that child's life in the womb, and they are turning away from their proper role in that child's life in the world.

So, it's twofold: it's a physical destruction of life, but it's also a moral destruction of the very heart that's needed for family life, and its results are devastating for the community.

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