DALLAS -- The text of Sen. Barry Goldwater's speech to the Republican National Convention Wednesday night:
Mr. Chairman, delegates, ladies and gentlemen:
A month ago I sat in my den and watched the Democratic National Convention. Speaker after speaker promised the moon to every narrow, selfish, special interest group in the country. But they ignored the hopes and aspirations of the largest special interest group of all - free men and free women.
So, tonight, I feel compelled to talk about freedom.
And let me remind you: extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
What, may I ask, was more extreme than our Revolutionary War? Our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor for that most honorable and noble cause -- freedom.
And I remind you, too, that these men and women who rebelled against tyranny did not have the unanimous support of even their friends, neighbors and relatives. But they were willing to sacrifice, struggle and die for the ideal of liberty -- while others sought more comfortable lives.
And since that time, other Americans have fought, bled and died to protect those God-given privileges -- because, as Tom Paine said in that day, tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.
But last month, those Democrat orators turned their backs on our own heritage. indded, they would have us ashamed of our freedom and our ability to defend it.
To me, the worst part was that they said nicer things about the Soviet Union than about our own military services. And these are the men and women in uniform who are sworn to protect that very freedom that made our country so great.
Let me tell you, the proudest moments of my life have been those times when I wore the uniform of the United States of America. To hav been priviledged to join with the men and women in the defense of freedom was, to me, the ultimate expression of faith in our heritage.
I am proud to be a veteran of the armed forces -- and veteran was a word you never heard from these Democrats on their podium. Let me say to the millions of veterans who are proud, proud, proud to have served our country -- we will not forget you.
To those men and women now in uniform, and to th veterans and the ones to come, I solemly pledge that I will do all I can to see that you never are forsaken -- as you were in San Francisco.
Now this is not easy to say; nonetheless, truth demands it.
It has been the foreign policy and defense weakness of Democrat administrations that have led us to war in the past. And I will be as specific as the Democrats were unspecific in San Francisco.
Every war in this century began and was fought under Democrat admninistrations. You doubt me?
World War I -- Woodrow Wilson, Democrat.
World War II -- Franklin Roosevelt, Democrat.
Korea -- Harry Truman, Democrat.
Vietnam -- Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, both Democrats.
While we are decommissioning our old Polaris submarines, the Democrats would not allow us to build our new Trident submarines.
And while our Air Force pilots are flying 30-year-old B-52 bombers, the Democrats want to take away the B-1 bomber.
The list goes on, while at home and abroad assaults continue on our basic principles of liberty and freedom. The Democrats and their special interest allies are trying to convince the American people that our own armed services are the biggest obstacle to peace and prosperity. They tell us that spending a small portion of our national resources for our national defense is driving up deficits and hurting our economy. But let us never lose sight of this fact: there is no more important step we can take to ensure a strong economy than to ensure a strong defense.
Again, I give you Thomas Paine -- 'Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it'
It's also a fact that the men and women in uniform are our first line of defense in the continuous struggle to maintain our freedom. And it's a fact that the Democrat plan for defense would leave us ill-prepared for any sort of conflict.
A few weeks ago, the chairman of the House Military Appropriations subcommittee released a phony report -- made years ago -- that our armed forces are weaker than four years earlier. Yet, every chief of staff of whom I have asked that question -- and I have asked all of them -- every commander I asked around this world has said, 'Never have we been so strong and never have we had such quality of men and women.'
If we want to ensure forces strong enough to protect our freedom - and we do -- we must give them the tools to do the job.
Thank God, we now have a commander-in-chief -- our president -- who is doing his utmost to provide this nation with those tools. On the other hand, the chairman I just mentioned has not allowed his committee to appropriate sufficient funds for our defense in years. He has refused to provide enough money for the military to protect our freedom.
And at this moment, he is refusing to do so again.
Want to look a little higher to poke some blame? Let's take House Leader Tip O'Neill. He will not allow the House Armed Services Committee to agree with the Senate on a military bill.
Why? He doesn't want a bill until after the election.
Tip, let me tell you. You aren't going to win this election.
I suppose a lot of you are wondering why I chose to speak on this particular subject. It's true that defense is close to my heart. But that is not the reason.
What I am concerned about is our grandchildren and their grandchildren after that. Wherever I may be, I do not want my grandchildren to ask:
'Why didn't Papa do something so we would not have to go off to war now?'
If, in the life left to me, I can prevent that question from ever being asked, then I will have fulfilled my duty to my country and to freedom.
Let me warn those Democrats who made such a mockery out of freedom in San Francisco.
Remember the millions of Americans who cheered, waved flags and felt joy in their hearts and tears in their eyes at the successes of the American men and women in the recent Olympics.
Don't you Democrat leaders try to tell me that Americans don't love and honor America.
Don't you Democrat leaders poke fun at the progress America has made.
Don't you Democrat leaders ever suggest we are not on the right path.
And quit trying to divide America.
There are too many millions of Americans who just won't take that guff.
Members of the convention, we have a leader -- a real leader. A great commander-in-chief -- President Ronald Reagan.
And in your hearts, you know he's right!
My friends, vaya con Dios -- 'til we meet again.