"Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of a great party is not to defeat its opponents, but to provide superior leadership and a great cause. It's not to denounce the past, but to inspire our nation to a better future."
Jack Kemp is known for his American Idea. A major piece of this grand vision for what America is and ought to be is economic opportunity for all, which then HUD Secretary Kemp professed in a moving speech before the 1992 Republican National Convention crowd in Houston, Texas. Introduced by Texas legend and football star Roger Staubach and met with thunderous applause and cheers, Jack stepped onto the stage to present the goals of the Republican Party and the successes of democracy and capitalism around the world.
The words of Jack Kemp reflect a movement towards better governance and fighting for the people, building upon the foundations of the party of Lincoln. In reflecting on what the Republican Party stands for, he said,
"We don't believe in an America that pursues equality by making rich people poor, but by allowing poor people, indeed all people, to become rich. Not just rich in creature comforts, but rich in the opportunity to achieve your God-given potential. The party of Lincoln does not believe people are a drain on resources. People ARE our resources. We don't believe children are just mouths to feed. They are hearts, minds, and souls for our future. And they deserve our protection not only after their birth, but before they are born. We don't believe compassion should be measured by the size of the safety net, but by the number of rungs on the ladder of opportunity."
These words reflected a passion for better governance in the 90s and are so true for today. As we await the arrival of the 2020 Republican National Convention at the end of August, we should all reflect on the words of Jack Kemp.
To see Jack Kemp's speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention on CSPAN, please click the link below. His speech starts at 6:25.