Rep. Allen West (R-FL) speaks in Vermont on August 5, 2012

(Transcript of Remarks)

It’s great to be in the home of the Green Mountain Boys. It’s a great state with an incredible history. You know, we’ve been in Rhode Island. Earlier today we were in Massachusetts, and now we’re in Vermont. And many people would say, why would you want to go to these states that are the bluest of blue? It’s very simple. We will let the other side know that no matter where they are, we are there as well. [Applause!]

We are citizens of the United States of America, and we must, wherever we are, stand upon the principles that made this country great. Now earlier today, for the first time I had the chance to go to the battlefields at Concord, and then at Lexington. When I was there, I thought about what happened on April the 19th, 1775, at those two locations. It was a time when simple men believed in some very basic concepts. Liberty. Freedom.

They made a stand against the greatest empire the world had known at that time. They fired that shot that was heard around the world. And today we stand, 237 years later, enjoying the great blessings of liberty, freedom and democracy. They stood and sacrificed for each and every one of us. Now the challenge for all of us is to make sure that we pass that on to our children and to our grandchildren, so that blessing can continue on for another 237 years. That’s why we must have that spirit.

But, in order to have that spirit, you must understand that for which you are standing. That for which you are fighting for. I think that’s the problem. We are not able to truly articulate our Constitutional Conservative values. And when we get people to understand the incredible choice the American people have to make, Will America continue to be a Constitutional Republic, which is what was left for each and every one of us, or will American become a socialist, egalitarian, welfare, nanny-state, which is the [liberal] vision. [A resounding “NO” from the audience.]

And, we must be able to go out and explain why it is that we are a constitutional republic. Why this is the longest running republic that the world has ever known. We must stand on these basic principles. When you go back and read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, when you understand the words that Thomas Jefferson wrote down, and you talk about the inalienable rights of the individual – of liberty, of freedom, of pursuit of happiness, and life – what he was talking about was a concept that was not known anywhere else in the world. A nation where the preeminent entity would be the individual. And to understand that those rights that you have as an individual citizen of the United States of America, they do not come from man, therefore they do not come from Government. They come from your creator.

When you read the entire Declaration of Independence, and you see the grievances that Thomas Jefferson listed (first and foremost I will challenge you to go and read those grievances later tonight and see the parallels of where we are today). Jefferson [unintelligible] the invasive nature of government and how it will suppress that sense of individual sovereignty. Government cannot take it away. Government did not give it to you in the first place. So, therefore, when you have a president who stands up and talks about the fact that our small business owners, our entrepreneurs, that indemonstrable spirit that made this country what it is in 236 years – for him to say that you did not build that, that goes at the fundamental principles and values that Jefferson wrote down in the Declaration.

And, it was built upon by men like James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton when they took Jefferson’s concept and said here we will create a Constitution that is based upon a government that cannot do, not what government can do. Limited government is what we are and who we are.

And, with limited government comes fiscal responsibility. Because when government becomes bigger and more overarching and more intrusive and more invasive, therefore government continues to grow. And that’s why we have a $16 trillion debt in the United States of America. That’s why we have had four years straight of trillion dollar plus deficits. Why? Because this is what de Tocqueville wrote about in his book, Democracy in America. When you get to the point where politicians start to promise more and more largess from the public treasury, then the electorate will vote for the politicians that promises them the most. That is where we are in our country today. That’s not what this country was meant to be.

This country was meant to understand your individual sovereignty. It is equality of opportunity that is afforded to you. When you think about where I came from, where I grew up in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia, the same neighborhood as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and for me now to be representing the highest per-capita income zip code in the United States of America, to be standing here before you all in Vermont, that is a testimony to the exceptionally… [Drowned out by applause]. That story does not happen anywhere else in the world. That story happens because there is no such thing as the Chinese Dream. There’s no such thing as the Japanese Dream. There’s no such thing as the English dream. There’s no such thing as the Somalian Dream. There’s no such thing as a Nigerian Dream. There’s only the one dream that people come to these shores to be a part of, and that’s the American Dream. [Applause!]

And, at the heart of the American Dream is the free marketplace of ideas. It says that if you have a concept, if you a vision, if you have something that you want to create, based upon your own individual industry, your own investment, your ingenuity, your innovation, you can take that dream, you can take that concept, you can take that idea, you can take bring it to fruition, and you can grow a business that can thrive. And, you can hire Americans. And those Americans can have a spin off idea, and they can grow a business. And, businesses can come together and make corporations. That’s what makes this country great.

I’ve been in thirteen different countries, in three different combat zones, and you look at what we have achieved in 236 years, it’s all because of limited government, fiscal responsibility, individual sovereignty, and a free marketplace. But now we live in a country where the government is doing everything that is counterproductive to that free market system. We live in a country where government crony capitalism is now the way to go. We live in a country where the onerous tax and regulatory policy is crushing out businesses. We live in a country where people don’t understand that small business owners operate a subchapter S or LLCs using their personal income tax rate so they can sit around and play this class warfare game about how they’re going to target tax rate increases on certain individuals. Those are the individuals that make the free marketplace grow. Those are the individuals… [Drowned out by applause]….

The capital gains tax is going from 15 to 25% Dividends tax is going from 15% to 43.4%. The Death Tax is going from a 35% bracket to a 55% bracket and the minimum exemption level is going from $5 million down to $1 million. That’s not our government. That’s not the vision our founding fathers laid forth. What it is ends up looking more like the great book that was written in the 1950’s by Ayn Rand called Atlas Shrugged.

Bad tax policy, bad regulatory policy, crushes the individual indomitable spirit. This is all about a government that wants to grow the entitlement class, and what do I mean by “entitlement class?” Where people can dial up and they can get food stamps from the United States of America. Where government is going out and spending taxpayer dollars to get people to go on food stamps. There’s been 257% increase in food stamps in the last ten years. 45% increase in food stamp recipients in the last three and a half years. A forty-six year high of Americans going into poverty. 9.3 million more Americans in poverty in the last three-and-a-half years. What happens to people who want to grow businesses when they look around and they see that everything that they are doing means nothing? There is no incentive for production. There is no incentive for manufacturing. There is no incentive for you to grow your ideas. And, producers stop producing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re at a tipping point. 47% of wage earning households pay no federal income taxes, yet this is what we hear coming out of the Administration. It’s all about economic equality. It’s all about fairness. It’s all about a fair share. Well, when you go on and see all your liberal friends here in Vermont, ask them, what is fair? Ask them, what does it mean when the top one percent of wage earners pays 37% of federal income taxes. Ask them, what is fair for the top 25 % of wage earners in America that pay 90% of federal income taxes. Ask them, is it fair for the lower 50% here to only pay 2.3%.

What happens when that number gets on the other side to 51%? Or 52%? That’s the race that we are in. We will see our free market being destroyed, and it will be replaced by a failed system of nationalizing production. You don’t believe me? Dodd/Frank and the finance industry. Healthcare. The automobile industry. Lisa Jackson and the EPA, look at what they’re doing to the coal industry and the energy sector. Look at what the National Labor Relations Board did when they told a private sector company where they could relocate their factory to. That’s not America. And even still, you have a mayor not too far away from here in Boston, and one is Chicago that want to penalize people for their own personal beliefs. Trying to penalize their concept of business. That’s not America.

What America is and what our founding fathers left us is the belief in traditional values. You know, it was families who came here to Vermont and established this great state. There were families who drove their children across the great expanse of the Western frontier. And, when they came up to the Mississippi River, they didn’t turn around and say, now who from the government’s gonna build us a bridge? [Laughter/Applause]

Families. Strong, tough, American families figured out a way. And they crossed the bridge and they continued to expand this great republic westward. That’s why we believe in families. Why, also, do we believe in families? Because it is the core unit of success in this country. My wife Angela and I have been married for twenty-three years. But the sad thing is this: my wife Angela and I represent 28% of the black community.

28% of black children in America have a mother and a father in the home. When Daniel Patrick Moynihan saw what they were trying to do with the Great Society programs – saw that they were going to reward women for having children out of wedlock with a paycheck – he said you will destroy the family unit in the black community. And, what do we have today? Second, third generation welfare. 28%.

When I grew up, everyone had a mother and father at home. Look at where we are today. What does that end up doing? It goes against limited government. It goes against fiscal responsibility, because our government is paying. It destroys our self-esteem, and it reduces the level of individual sovereignty. My mother once said, self-esteem comes from doing esteem-worthy things. If you stay at home in section 8 housing waiting for a paycheck from the government, it’s not self esteem, ladies and gentlemen. And that is where we are, and we believe in… [Drowned out by applause].

What we believe in is that any child born in America, or no matter where you come from to these great shores, you get a ladder. And, that’s the ladder of success. That’s the ladder of achievement. Now, as you climb that ladder, there are times when you may slip off. Conservatives believe there should be a safety net because we want you to bounce back up and continue to climb, and to reach whatever heights that you want. But, our friends on the other side don’t see a safety net. They see it as a hammock. And the more people that we get swinging away in the hammock, the closer we’re going to get to the destruction of America.

And the last thing that you all have to believe in is Ronal Reagan’s three simple words; “Peace through Strength.” A strong national defense. A deterant… [Drowned out by applause].

How horrible is it that you have a commander in chief that would like to have on his resume the decimation of the most powerful military, the most superior military that the world has ever known? This thing called sequestration will mean that the Army and the Marine Corps – now I know we have a Gold Star Mother here of a Marine who lost his life in combat. God bless you, ma’am. The Army and the Marine Corps will go down to 1940’s levels. The United States Navy will go down to 1915 levels. And, let me put it in perspective: In 1990 we had 573 naval warships. Today we have about 285. Sequestration will take it down to 230. Now I know you guys aren’t too close to the coastline, but 70 to 75% of the surface of the earth is what? It’s water.

The Panama Canal, that we built, America, is now being run by Chinese contractors. The Suez Canal is now under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Straits of Hormuz, being threatened constantly by Iran. If we don’t have a strong, dominant, maritime presence, we cannot protect the sea lanes of commerce. We cannot make sure we have good strong international trade. And we cannot make sure that our most staunch ally in the Middle East, the state of Israel, is protected… [Drowned out by Applause].

And, I won’t forget my brothers in the Air Force, because when you’re a paratrooper you’ve got to have a plane in order to be a paratrooper. But the Air Force will go down to be the smallest Air Force sine we created the modern United States Air Force. Nine tactical fighter/bomber squadrons will be lost.

But, even worse than that, think of a Commander in Chief who would unleash his campaign political cronies on the state of Ohio to bring a lawsuit that says that our men and women in uniform don’t deserve voting privileges. They’re just the same as everybody else out there. How can we have a commander in Chief that puts his own re-election priorities above protecting the men and women in uniform? That’s reprehensible.

It’s about a government that is fiscally responsible. It’s about individual sovereignty. It’s about traditional values. It’s about a strong national defense. Those are the fundamentals that established this great nation. And, if we don’t stand for those fundamentals, if we don’t learn to articulate them to the other side, next thing you know, ladies and gentlemen, the great blessing that is the United States of America will be lost for future generations.

You cannot look at yourself in the mirror on the evening of the 6th of November and not be able to say I did everything I could possibly do. And, that’s why I’m here in Vermont. I’m here in Vermont because – you know this is a great book that was just given to me, written by Joseph Covais. In this book, [Battery!], he details the history of the 319th Field Artillery Regiment, and he had no idea that that is my regiment that I served with. [Applause]. Now the important thing about that story is to remember what happened the night before D-Day. The men of the 82nd and the 101st Airborn divisions jumped in behind the enemy lines. And, they had very specific missions. But as the German AAA, antiaircraft artillery, shot through the sky, the pilots dropped them down to levels that were lower than their drop altitude. Three hundred feet. They scattered all over the place to try to avoid the gunfire. Many of those paratroopers landed without their weapons, without their equipment, but the important thing is this: wherever their feet hit the ground, they knew their mission and they fought. They stood, because they knew there were people who depended upon them.

So, this is my challenge to you: wherever you are here in Vermont, wherever your feet hit the ground, fight. Make a stand upon the principles and values of this great nation. Because, it is up to each and every one of you to not cower. To have the courage, to have the confidence, the commitment, conviction and the character. I need you to talk to five people who don’t believe as you do, and just get three. Get three to change their mind and see it differently. I got to tell you folks that thirty-five to forty percent of this country is probably stuck on stupid anyhow. All I’m looking for is sixty percent. And back when I graduated from the University of Tennessee, that was a passing grade. [Laugher/Applause]

We’ve got to win outside the margin of cheating. If it’s close, there’s going to be shenanigans. The reason why I’m so hopeful for the future of America, you look at what happened in Wisconsin… [Drowned out by Applause]. Don’t forget, they called that race one hour after the polls closed. It was not as close as they thought it was going to be. The American people are awakening. Just the same as those soldiers at Lexington and Concord. Just the same as those paratroopers on the evening before D-Day. That’s the history of this great nation. Wherever we go, we stand on principle, and we stand on the legacy of this great nation. May God bless you all, and God bless these United States of America, and God bless the state of Vermont, which we are going to take from blue to red! [Applause!]

 

2 thoughts on “Rep. Allen West (R-FL) speaks in Vermont on August 5, 2012

  1. What a terrific Reaganesque talk! It made me proud I supported Allen West when he first ran, and again this year. I hope many others jump in to keep his powerful voice strong.

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