Lowell,  Massachusetts
April  30,  1991

[Remarks Prepared for Delivery |  C-SPAN Video]

Two hundred years ago, our Founding Fathers gave us a democracy.  It was based upon the simple, yet noble, idea that government derives its validity from the consent of the governed.

That consent must be constantly renewed.

And it can only be renewed by a full and vigorous debate on the issues that confront our nation.

Today that search for renewal begins.

Today that search for consent proceeds as the Constitution has provided.

Today the national debate will commence.

It begins here in this city.

Lowell is my home.  It is where I drew my first breath.  It is where I will always derive a sense of place and a sense of belonging.

It is what I am.  And you, my neighbors and friends, are what I am as well.

I am an American.  I love this country.

You are Americans.  You love this country.  Together we are entrusted with the principles that represent mankind's greatest political and social achievement.

America is hope.  It is compassion.  It is excellence.   It is valor.

It is humanity.  Its values have drawn us from every corner of the globe.

These values are our manifest destiny.

The leadership in Washington has squandered that promise.

We were never meant to be the world's greatest debtor nation.  We were never meant to have our ancestors' patrimony sold to the highest foreign bidder.

We were never meant to have American workers rank ninth in the world in wage scales.

We were never meant to have dysfunctional schools or imploding cities or racial disharmony or an environment at risk.

America is more than this.  We are more than this.  Our destiny is greatness and we must return to its fulfillment.

Enough of this is Washington avoidance.

Enough of this is Washington mediocrity.

We must return to the glory of our forebearers by unleashing the greatness of our people.  We need leadership that calls upon the best of what we are.  We need leadership that embraces a higher vision.

Today that leadership is not in Washington.

That leadership is here and across America.  It is in the hearts and minds and souls of the American people.  I want to deploy the leadership to meet the challenges that face us and to restore America's greatness.

That is why I declare today my candidacy for the President of the United States.

Today I begin a journey of purpose.  I ask you to come with me.

On this journey we will reaffirm the values of our ancestors -- hard work, determination, will, thrift, productivity, perseverance.  And through that affirmation we will again be the greatest economic power on earth.

On this journey we will rediscover the caring and compassing for one another that has been dishonored during the Reagan-Bush years.  And in that discovery we will look upon each other as brothers and sisters, as a community which nurtures its young and its ailing and its less fortunate.

On this journey we will reach into the future and commit ourselves to thinking in generations.  We are a continuum.  Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead to our children and their children.  And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.

That sense of sacredness, that thinking in generations, must begin with reverence for this earth.  This land, this water, this air, this planet-this is our legacy to our young.  Yet the Reagan-Bush years have been a time of cynical avoidance of one environmental issue after another -- acid rain to energy conservation to depletion of the ozone layer to global warming to uncontrolled world population.

Journey with me to a true commitment to our environment.  Journey with me to the serenity of leaving to our children a planet in equilibrium.

Thinking in generations also means enabling our young to have a decent standard of living.  Not the Reagan-Bush legacy to our children of an additional $3 trillion of debt.  That debt will forever burden and handicap them.

George Bush promised "Read my lips, no new taxes."  It won an election.  But what he meant was "Read my lips, add more debt."  That is generationally immoral.

Our children deserve better.  On this journey of purpose, I commit myself to making this country a thriving, striving, triumphant competitor in the world marketplace.  I commit myself to an America where our standard of living, our educational and health care systems and our industrial output are second to none.  I commit myself to economic security for this generation and those that follow.

This obligation to our young is as old as civilization.  In the Apache tongue the world for grandfather and grandson is the same.  They understood linkage.  They understood honor.  They understood mutual obligation.

In Washington there is no such wisdom.  It is all here and now.  It is all polling data.  The vision extends only to the next election.

It is time to look to our children and feel our responsibility to then.

That is my journey of purpose.  I want to meet that responsibility so that we can rest easy in our guardianship of this time and this place.

From a viable economy to the full funding of Headstart, from a clean environment to true equality for women, from a strong military to a commitment to racial brotherhood, from schools that are honored to streets free of excessive violence.

These are our responsibilities to them.  I will devote myself to the search for their fulfillment.

Finally, this journey of purpose must be a journey of choice.  We must choose action.
We must choose commitment.

I offer a different path: harder but more hopeful.  Longer but more compelling.  Steeper but more worthy.

Seven and half years ago I began my own journey.  For me and my family it was a time of adversity.  But during that adversity I derived a deeper faith.  And born out of that adversity was a commitment to devote myself to those people and to those issues that truly matter to me.

Today, together with Niki and Ashley and Katina and Molly, I pledge to fulfill that commitment.

We all journey in this world.  It is our calling.  America is the sum of all our journeys as we search for our national community and our national culture.

Come with me.

We are a great nation.

We are a great people.

May God give us strength to be worthy of this greatness.

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Tsongas spoke for about 13 1/2 minutes, sticking quite close to his prepared remarks and adding a few remarks about the rainy weather.