An Era of “Pride and Hope” 1979
By Bill Clinton
Vol. 3, No. 2, 1981, pp. 4, 18
As we celebrate this new beginning, I want to explain as clearly as my command of the language will allow what kind of governor I will try to be.
Like anyone else, I will tend to make decisions that reflect the values and principles I have come to cherish over the years of living and strugg ling to grasp what understanding I can of the human condition.
For as long as I can remember, I have believed passionately in the cause of equal opportunity, and I will do what I can to advance it.
For as long as I can remember I have deplored the arbitrary and abusive exercise of power by those in authority, and I will do what I can to prevent it.
For as long as I can remember, I have rued the waste, and lack of order and discipline that are too often in evidence in governmental affairs, and I will do what I can to diminish them.
For as long as I can remember, I have loved the land, air, and water of Arkansas, and I will do what I can to protect them.
For as long as I can remember, I have wished to ease the burdens of life for those who, through no fault of their own, are old or weak or needy, and I will try to help them.
For as long as I can remember, I have been saddened by the sight of so many of our independent, industrious people working too hard for too little because of inadequate economic opportunities, and I will do what I can to enhance them.
Today, we begin anew the people’s business in a time that is confusing, uncertain, and sometimes difficult to understand. In the recent past, we have learned again the hard lesson that there are limits to what government can do—indeed, limits to what people can do. We live in a world in which limited resources, limited knowledge, and limited wisdom must grapple with problems of staggering complexity and confront strong sources of power, wealth, conflict, and even destruction, over which we have no control and little influence.
Let us not learn too much of this lesson, however, lest caught in the thrall of what we cannot do, we forget what we can and should do. We are a people of pride and hope, of vision and skill, of vast capacities for work. We have the prospect, for which we have waited so long, of economic growth which does not require us to ravage our land and so to reject our heritage. We have the immeasurable benefit of living in a state in which the population is sufficiently small and widely dispersed for people of all kinds still to know and trust each other, still to believe in and work together for the elusive common good.
We have an opportunity together to forge a future that is more remarkable, more rich, and more fulfilling to all Arkansas than our proud past, and we must not squander it.
There is much to be done.
In education, we have lingered too long on or near the bottom of the heap in spending per student and in teaching salaries. We must try to reverse that. However, we must be mindful that higher quality education will not come from money alone. The money must be but part of a plan which includes better accountability and assessment for students and teachers, a fairer distribution of aid, more efficient organization of school districts, and recognition of work still to be done in programs for kindergarten, special education, and gifted and talented children.
In energy, we have been too undisciplined and tardy in our efforts to
provide for future energy supply that we need for sustenance and growth at prices the people can afford. The Energy Department I have proposed will attempt to marshall and intensify our efforts to promote conservation, develop alternative energy sources, and develop more effective and fairer utility regulatory policies.
In human services and health care, we have a great deal to do, especially for those at the far ends of life’s spectrum—our senior citizens and children. The proposals of this administration will provide to senior citizens tax relief, a uniform probate code, greatly expanded and improved home health care, and advances in nursing care. For children, we will seek to complete an effective care network for those who are emotionally disturbed and to create a system of perinatal care that will be a model for the nation.
In economic development, we must move quickly to intensify advances all across our state and to make more efforts for more development in the areas of our state that need it the most. The Economic Development Department I have proposed will lead this effort with its new emphasis on marketing our products abroad, expanding existing enterprises at home, and more vigorous attempts to help local communities help themselves.
Last evening, after our gala, a friend of mine from Washington who travels this country and speaks to many groups in many places, said that he felt in that crowd two emotions which are not found in other places today: Pride and Hope. Pride and Hope. With those two qualities, we can go a long way. We can bring on a new era of achievement and excellence—we can fashion a life here that will be the envy of our nation. The future lies brightly before us. With pride and hope, and the grace of God to take our hands and lead us on, we shall not fail! Thank you, and God bless you all.