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Fortunately, the time has long passed when people liked to regard the United States as some kind of melting pot, taking men and women from every part of the world and converting them into standardized, homogenized Americans. We are, I think, much more mature and wise today. Just as we welcome a world of diversity, so we glory in an America of diversity -- an America all the richer for the many different and distinctive strands of which it is woven.
The pursuit of peace resembles the building of a great cathedral. It is the work of a generation. In concept it requires a master-architect; in execution, the labors of many.
Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.
It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.
For the first time in the history of mankind, one generation literally has the power to destroy the past, the present and the future, the power to bring time to an end.
I think the worst thing this nation could do for humanity would be to leave any uncertainty as to our will, our purpose and our capacity to carry out our purpose.
In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears. Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be.
People in places many of us never heard of, whose names we can't pronounce or even spell, are speaking up for themselves. They speak in languages we once classified as exotic but whose mastery is now essential for our diplomats and businessmen. But what they say is very much the same the world over. They want a decent standard of living. They want human dignity and a voice in their own futures. They want their children to grow up strong and healthy and free.
The great challenge which faces us is to assure that, in our society of big-ness, we do not strangle the voice of creativity, that the rules of the game do not come to overshadow its purpose, that the grand orchestration of society leaves ample room for the man who marches to the music of another drummer.
The hardest job for a politician today is to have the courage to be a moderate. It's easy to take an extreme position.
There are those who say to you -- we are rushing this issue of civil rights. I say we are 172 years late.
This, then, is the test we must set for ourselves; not to march alone but to march in such a way that others will wish to join us.
You cannot go around and keep score. If you keep score on the good things and the bad things, you'll find out that you're a very miserable person. God gave man the ability to forget, which is one of the greatest attributes you have. Because if you remember everything that's happened to you, you generally remember that which is the most unfortunate.
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