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|First Inaugural Address||Richard Milhous Nixon|
First Inaugural Address
|Page 2 of 4||
Our crisis today is the reverse.
We have found ourselves rich in goods, but ragged in spirit; reaching with magnificent precision for the moon, but falling into raucous discord on earth.
We are caught in war, wanting peace. We are torn by division, wanting unity. We see around us empty lives, wanting fulfillment. We see tasks that need doing, waiting for hands to do them.
To a crisis of the spirit, we need an answer of the spirit.
To find that answer, we need only look within ourselves.
When we listen to "the better angels of our nature," we find that they celebrate the simple things, the basic things--such as goodness, decency, love, kindness.
Greatness comes in simple trappings.
The simple things are the ones most needed today if we are to surmount what divides us, and cement what unites us.
To lower our voices would be a simple thing.
In these difficult years, America has suffered from a fever of words; from inflated rhetoric that promises more than it can deliver; from angry rhetoric that fans discontents into hatreds; from bombastic rhetoric that postures instead of persuading.
We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another--until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.
For its part, government will listen. We will strive to listen in new ways--to the voices of quiet anguish, the voices that speak without words, the voices of the heart--to the injured voices, the anxious voices, the voices that have despaired of being heard.
Those who have been left out, we will try to bring in.
Those left behind, we will help to catch up.
For all of our people, we will set as our goal the decent order that makes progress possible and our lives secure.
As we reach toward our hopes, our task is to build on what has gone before--not turning away from the old, but turning toward the new.
In this past third of a century, government has passed more laws, spent more money, initiated more programs, than in all our previous history.
In pursuing our goals of full employment, better housing, excellence in education; in rebuilding our cities and improving our rural areas; in protecting our environment and enhancing the quality of life--in all these and more, we will and must press urgently forward.
We shall plan now for the day when our wealth can be transferred from the destruction of war abroad to the urgent needs of our people at home.
The American dream does not come to those who fall asleep.
But we are approaching the limits of what government alone can do.
Our greatest need now is to reach beyond government, and to enlist the legions of the concerned and the committed.
What has to be done, has to be done by government and people together or it will not be done at all. The lesson of past agony is that without the people we can do nothing; with the people we can do everything.
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|First Inaugural Address
Richard Milhous Nixon
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