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Speech at the Christian Coalition Dinner
Alan Keyes
February 6, 1999
Manchester, New Hampshire

Ladies and Gentlemen, Alan Keyes....

Alan Keyes: Thank you! Praise God! Thank you very much.

There are so many different things that are crossing my mind this evening.

The first thing is that I kinda did have to feel a bit of a pang that I am kinda the cleanup batter this evening. But this is the first time that the prospect of my speaking has emptied a head table. But I also managed to keep under control the pang of joy I was supposed to feel when Steve said I was on his short list. I don't know how I managed to do that.

I do want to say, though, on a semi-serious note that I'm not sure if one should be judged so much by who's on the short list as by whose not on it.

And I will tell you here and now for all the harm it may do me in New Jersey, and in New York, and in California, that Rudy Guliani will not be on my short list, and Christine Todd Whitman will not be on my short list, and that Pete Wilson will not be on my short list. And if and when the Republican Party makes the error of putting any of them anywhere on the national ticket, I will have a short list of things to do that will begin with leaving the Republican Party behind.

And I can't forbear this evening--in such wonderful company, it may be difficult to remember, but I too would have to say that I have compared the present situation of America with the Titanic. I think that it's not an accident that in this particular period that film is so popular. I don't think that many people who went to see it realized what God was trying to tell them, but I certainly did.

On the other hand, even though we don't want to admit it right now because it casts aspersion on the judgment of the people of the United States, I look at that analogy and I've got to be honest with you, I don't think Bill Clinton is Captain. I think Bill Clinton is the iceberg. And I think we better do something about it BEFORE we go down.

And if that's the case, I would want to ask all of you to do me a favor. Much as it might just smack of apologies to all and sundry--and especially to you, Shelley, I will apologize for mentioning the rope in the hangman's house--but I have to say this right now. In the course of the next week, the Senate of the United States is going to be confronting issues, and it will be preparing itself to take a critical decision.

There is that old saying about how the game isn't over until the fat lady sings. And I mean no insult to the Christian Coalition or any other conservatives in America, of whom I consider myself a part--but y'all, it's time that we remembered before we are even tempted to throw in the towel, that we are the fat lady and we better start singing now. We better start picking up the phone right now and start writing letter right now.

Don't give up this battle! Don't let the Senators off the hook! Don't tell them that they can rest easy!

On the day . . . I, for one, am unwilling to conclude that this process is anywhere near over. And I will not conclude it until I see the proof. And until then, I think we ought to send a message to every Senator--Republican and Democratic--that the future of this nation is on the line, and so are their political futures, and we will not forget!

We can joke about it all we like. But as long as Bill Clinton remains in office, I, too, would like to sound notes of optimism about America's future. But I have to be honest with you: we are at a crossroads in this nation's life. And right now it looks as if we have chosen the wrong fork of the road. Right now it looks as if we have placed upon the throne lying and dishonesty and lack of integrity, and right now it looks as if there are too many Americans tempted to go down on their knees and worship that vice.

And don't let anybody fool you. The liberals and the socialists and the totalitarians don't like Bill Clinton in spite of his vices, but like him because of his vices. They like him because he is the poster boy of moral depravity; because they can point to him and point to the polls that support him as proof that the American people do not have the moral virtue, do not have the moral judgment, do not have the moral discipline and competence to exercise their freedom.

It's easy enough to stand up here and tell you all the things that we conservatives believe in. We want to return power to the people and let them have control of the schools so that we can have quality education. Applaud! It's a wonderful idea. We want to return control of the money to the people so that they can have the use of every cent of their hard earned dollars and give the government a preemptive claim to not one penny. We want to do all these things, and we will stand and applaud and say how wonderful it is.

You want to know the truth though? Not one single element of that agenda--not the control of our schools, not the control of our money, not the right to keep and bear arms--is going to be defended successfully if we are not able to restore the moral self-confidence of our people.

Every time we stand up to make these arguments that are true and right for America, what do the liberals tell us? It's quite simple. It's always the simple refrain, "Oh, we would love to do that, but we can't trust people to do what is right." "We would love to let you have control of your money, but we can't trust you to take care of the elderly, we can't trust you to take care of the poor, we can't trust you to take care of those in need. We would love you to have the control of your schools, but we can't trust you to take care of the education of your children. We would love to respect your Second Amendment rights, but we can't trust you to use those weapons only in defense of your lives and freedom."

The fundamental premise of liberalism is the moral incapacity of the American people.

But we can defeat liberalism, and we can defeat socialism, and we can defeat totalitarianism on every issue, on every front, ONLY when we have restored the truth that we are a people capable of the moral discipline required for liberty.

And if that is so, here in this room with folks that are strongly committed to the restoration of America's strength and the future that we so dream of for the country, I think that we have to realize at some point that in the critical hour that this nation now faces, the challenge for us has changed a little bit. It's a greater challenge then it was.

If what I just said is true, then there is not a single element of the right agenda for America that is going to succeed if the moral agenda fails.

Do you understand what I just said?

That means that we can't afford to back folks who put the moral issue somewhere on their agenda. That's not good enough. Because the issue that we face, the issue of discernment, that we have before us, is not where they stand on the issues--because they have their pollsters and they will spend their money to buy their fancy consultants to tell just the kind of lies they have to tell when they stand up on this podium and speak to you. There is only one proof in this pudding. And that is to know where the issues of moral concern stand on their agenda. And if it's not right at the top, don't give them the time of day.

But what is a challenge for the candidates is also a challenge for us, because I greatly respect the work that has been done to lay the foundations for a strong and committed influence from those that have committed their heart to God and to Jesus Christ.

And in light of the history we face, there was a time when it was quite enough that we should organize to participate, that we should organize to be part, that we should organize that they wouldn't forget we were there. But America has reached a critical hour--the hour when, if we do not face the moral crisis of this country, our republic and our freedom will be no more.

And I say to you now, and I say to every Christian conservative and to every moral conservative in America that it is not time to follow. It is time to lead!

No more! No more deals! No more compromises! No more chances to get into somebody else's good graces!

There is only one thing that I believe we should see, and it should not be based on faith in ourselves, and it should not be based on faith in our strength, and faith in our future. It should be based on faith in our God because He is the only one who can save us now.

So I ask you here, with everything that is in my heart, to face that challenge in the months and in the days ahead. And you will be making a critical--and in some ways, I guess--difficult decision. But it's far less difficult than people think.

I remember, during the course of the late, unlamented primary season in 1996, I had so many folks come up to me after speeches like this and tell me what a wonderful message it was and so forth and so on. But if I made the mistake of asking them who they were going to vote for, they would say, "Somebody else." And if I made the mistake of inquiring a little further as to why, they would always give me some version of, "Well, they are the ones that have a chance of winning."

Gary, have you heard that? Gary has heard that one too, I have to say.

But I have to tell you something. First, since we are so far away from the outcome, how do these people know who the winner is? I would really like to know this. Where do they get this information? Are they privy to some information? Because if they also place odds on horse races I would like to know about that, wouldn't you?

But then they treat the presidential race as if it's a horse race, don't they? They treat it as if the job we have is to choose the winner. Look, some people went out last time, they've done it several times, "Bill Clinton was the winner." What did they get? What did the country get? Oh yeah, there was a prize, all right. A prize of shame and a prize of humiliation, and a prize of the destruction of the conscience of our children and the moral integrity of our nation. We won a prize, all right, with that winner!

I think it's time that we stopped allowing ourselves to be brainwashed. If you go out and look to pick a winner then you will have to read the paper and the polls will tell you who the winner is. And they are the same polls that tell us that Bill Clinton is supported in his depravity by 86% of the people in the United States. If you believe those polls you will get the candidates that you deserve.

And I suppose that we could allow, meaning no offense to any rich people in this room, I suppose that we could allow the moneybags to decide. The person who has the most money . . . Look, if we are going to decide who the best candidate is based on who has the most money, that means that the people who have the most money will be choosing the candidate, isn't that right?

Now tell me, is it your experience that in this country that with what has been happening with the gambling interest, with the pro-abortion money in the Republican Party, do you really think that we can trust the moneybags in politics to pick the best candidates for office? Do you think we can trust them? Because I don't. I think we better forget about the moneybags and forget about the polls.

If we want to have Representatives, and Senators, and Presidents who will stand for principle, no matter what, then we will have to become voters who will vote for principle, no matter what. And that is what I would ask you to do.

I suppose that I am supposed to get up here and tell you that you should vote for me and so forth and so on. But what I want to see happen: I want to see folks like Gary Bauer and myself get up and I want to see us act with such integrity that we will give you a hard time deciding between us.

I'm going to see that happen.

And then I want you to put aside all the calculations and put aside all the question of who is the winner, because no winner is decided until you decide; because no hope is dashed until you dash the hope; and no future for America is lost until, in your loss of conviction, you throw it away.

But if you are willing to stand for what is right--if you are willing to stand, no matter what it looks like, no matter how bleak the predictions behind those who look not to polls, look not to money, look not to power, but look only to the Lord our God to guide their steps--then I believe that you will stand where America needs you to stand, and that this republic, for all the danger we are in, will win through to that day when we cannot only look back upon a heritage of liberty that has shone to inspire the world, but forward to a heritage of freedom renewed because we have not only spoken, but acted the truth that this is one nation that lives or dies not by the strength of man, but by the will of God.
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