A few years ago while preparing for a radio show I took the time to read President Jimmy Carter's "Malaise" speech that he gave in July of 1979. I was surprised to find it a very good speech on several levels and knew that we would find ourselves in the same "mood" soon.
I graduated that year from High School and was aware enough of what was going on to know that there wasn't a job waiting to be laid at my feet, the economy was in shambles, Gasoline had doubled (and I had a 1965 Chevelle 327 Super Sport = less than 10 miles to the gallon), the price of gold had gone from $104 in 1976 to over $840 January 1980, Silver had peaked at over $48, the Selective Service started back up and as a young man of 18 I was being pushed economically and socially to go fight the Iranians for their having their revolution of 1979 against the CIA's man "The Shah of Iran". Ayattolah Khomeini was
the bad guy then and was the reason for the chants to "glass over"
Iran (BTW - Saddam Hussien was our 'friend' - along with a bunch of
other tyrants that we would later oppose after having placed them into
I think that President Carter understood the power of the individual, but still was of the mind that government was "our tool". He tried and he failed. His solutions required the massive actions of a government that would focus its efforts in support of a central plan to serve the people of America. It failed miserably and for predictable reasons that every Washington D.C. lobbyist could explain in detail.
Ronald Reagan understood how to inspire Americans to work our way out of the problems, but underneath the rhetoric was much more of the same. It would come unraveled during Daddy Bush's administration.
1992 would bring a bit of understanding of just how bad things were and how much worse they were going to get if we continued down the same path. Ross Perot had the attention of millions of Americans that for the first time started to see the writing on the wall,... and how the Lame-Stream Media did their best to hide it.
Over the years, no matter what was done, the electoral process produced more politicians that would expand government and increase the debt at an ever increasing rate.
The music of the time communicated a great deal of what we felt. 'We grew up in the shadow of the mushroom crowd' as the band Queen would phrase it. The fear was a constant stream with every effort made to keep the "Atomic War Clock" at a minute or two from Midnight/Armageddon (The "Doomsday Clock" was our generation's version of Homeland Security's colored 'Alert Levels').
As my 2 boys and 2 girls all move into adulthood (18 - 22) I do my best to get their attention long enough to make it clear to them that they are experiencing the same things that we did and for the same reasons. However,...
The wrong courses of action taken then, in the quest for the "Largest Robbery in History", has left the next generation subject to a marketing campaign that will constantly try to convince them that they are somehow responsible for the loss.
Things are going to get bad,... moving to the mountains, growing food & raising chickens in downtown Gotham bad. But from this will come a much stronger family structure that will create a much stronger and more enlightened culture. The human spirit may gain a little more of the spirituality that each of us finds at various levels inside ourselves, but this discovery will likely come after a casting off of many of the religious institutions that aligned themselves with government inside their do-dependent Matrix.
The speech of President Carter's has been in the back of my mind for some time after I read it a few years ago. Carter was slow and methodical in his presentation and that gave it a slow pace. But it read very well. I edited the speech years ago without changing a single word (you can follow along with the text version below). I took the time to take out a great deal of the pauses and long delays that caused the speech to be criticized so much. The pace of the speech was to make certain that the words were clear and understood, but the spirit was lost with the effort. I did this with the plan to air the speech on the air during my radio show when our society reached the point that we find ourselves at now, but FreedomsPhoenix has grown to be a far more prolific media. And without the time restraints we can hear the whole speech without speeding it up so that it has the effect that was intended by President Carter.
Our children can't fully understand a world that doesn't have instant replay, YouTubes, Google Video archives and bootleged $2 DVDs in High Definition of documentaries that were created within 2 months of an event of interest to the Universe. So I share this bit of history, text version and the original version. The large Link below to the speech is the unedited version that was the master that I worked from. Very important and worth listening to.
I think you'll be surprised at what you learn, and what you are reminded of.
Publisher - Ernest Hancock
Malaise Speech, 1979
by Jimmy Carter
This is a special night for me. Exactly 3 years ago, on July 15, 1976, I
accepted the nomination of my party to run for President of the United States.
I promised you a President who is not isolated from the people, who feels your
pain, and who shares your dreams and who draws his strength and his wisdom from
During the past 3 years I've spoken to you on many occasions about national concerns,
the energy crisis, reorganizing the Government, our Nation's economy, and
issues of war and especially peace. But over those years the subjects of the
speeches, the talks, and the press conferences have become increasingly narrow,
focused more and more on what the isolated world of Washington thinks is important. Gradually,
you've heard more and more about what the Government thinks or what the
Government should be doing and less and less about our Nation's hopes, our
dreams, and our vision of the future.
Ten days ago I had planned to speak to you again about a very important
subject -- energy. For the fifth time I would have described the urgency of the
problem and laid out a series of legislative recommendations to the Congress.
But as I was preparing to speak, I began to ask myself the same question that I
now know has been troubling many of you. Why have we not been able to get
together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?
It's clear that the true problems of our Nation are much deeper -- deeper
than gasoline lines of energy shortages, deeper even than inflation or
recession. And I realize more than ever that as President I need your help. So,
I decided to reach out and listen to the voices of America.
I invited to Camp David people from almost
every segment of our society business and labor, teachers and preachers,
Governors, mayors, and private citizens. And then I left Camp
David to listen to other Americans, men and women like you. It has
been an extraordinary 10 days, and I want to share with you what I've heard.
First of all, I got a lot of personal advice. Let me quote a few of the typical
comments that I wrote down.
This from a southern Governor: "Mr. President, you are not leading this
Nation -- you're just managing the Government."
"You don't see the people enough any more."
"Some of your Cabinet members don't seem loyal. There is not enough
discipline among your disciples."
"Don't talk to us about politics or the mechanics of government, but
about an understanding of our common good."
"Mr. President, we're in trouble. Talk to us about blood and sweat and
"If you lead, Mr. President, we will follow."
Many people talked about themselves and about the condition of our Nation.
This from a young woman in Pennsylvania:
"I feel so far from government. I feel like ordinary people are excluded
from political power."
And this from a young Chicano: "Some of us have suffered from recession
all our lives."
"Some people have wasted energy, but others haven't had anything to
And this from a religious leader: "No material shortage can touch the
important things like God's love for us or our love for one another."
And I like this one particularly from a black woman who happens to be the
mayor of a small Mississippi
town: "The big-shots are not the only ones who are important. Remember,
you can't sell anything on Wall Street unless someone digs it up somewhere else
This kind of summarized a lot of other statements: "Mr. President, we
are confronted with a moral and a spiritual crisis."
Several of our discussions were on energy, and I have a notebook full of
comments and advice. I'll read just a few.
"We can't go on consuming 40 percent more energy than we produce. When
we import oil we are also importing inflation plus unemployment."
"We've got to use what we have. The Middle East has only 5 percent of
the world's energy, but the United
States has 24 percent."
And this is one of the most vivid statements: "Our neck is stretched
over the fence and OPEC has a knife."
"There will be other cartels and other shortages. American wisdom and
courage right now can set a path to follow in the future."
This was a good one: "Be bold, Mr. President. We may make mistakes, but
we are ready to experiment."
And this one from a labor leader got to the heart of it: "The real
issue is freedom. We must deal with the energy problem on a war footing."
And the last that I'll read: "When we enter the moral equivalent of
war, Mr. President, don't issue us BB guns."
These 10 days confirmed my belief in the decency and the strength and the
wisdom of the American people, but it also bore out some of my longstanding
concerns about our Nation's underlying problems.
I know, of course, being President, that government actions and legislation
can be very important. That's why I've worked hard to put my campaign promises
into law -- and I have to admit, with just mixed success. But after listening
to the American people I have been reminded again that all the legislation in
the world can't fix what's wrong with America. So, I want to speak to you
first tonight about a subject even more serious than energy or inflation. I
want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy.
I do not mean our political and civil liberties. They will endure. And I do
not refer to the outward strength of America, a nation that is at peace
tonight everywhere in the world, with unmatched economic power and military
The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of
confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit
of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the
meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our Nation.
The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the
social and the political fabric of America.
The confidence that we have always had as a people is not simply some
romantic dream or a proverb in a dusty book that we read just on the Fourth of
July. It is the idea which founded our Nation and has guided our development as
a people. Confidence in the future has supported everything else -- public
institutions and private enterprise, our own families, and the very
Constitution of the United
States. Confidence has defined our course
and has served as a link between generations.
We've always believed in
something called progress. We've always had a faith that the days of our
children would be better than our own.
Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the
ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our
democracy. As a people we know our past and we are proud of it. Our progress
has been part of the living history of America, even the world. We always
believed that we were part of a great movement of humanity itself called
democracy, involved in the search for freedom, and that belief has always
strengthened us in our purpose. But just as we are losing our confidence in the
future, we are also beginning to close the door on our past.
In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit
communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship
self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what
one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and
consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that
piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no
confidence or purpose.
The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us. For
the first time in the history of our country a majority of our people believe
that the next 5 years will be worse than the past 5 years.
Two-thirds of our
people do not even vote. The productivity of American workers is actually
dropping, and the willingness of Americans to save for the future has fallen
below that of all other people in the Western world.
As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches
and for schools, the news media, and other institutions. This is not a message
of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning.
These changes did not happen overnight. They've come upon us gradually over
the last generation, years that were filled with shocks and tragedy.
We were sure that ours was a nation of the ballot, not the bullet, until the
murders of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. We were
taught that our armies were always invincible and our causes were always just,
only to suffer the agony of Vietnam.
We respected the Presidency as a place of honor until the shock of Water gate.
We remember when the phrase "sound as a dollar" was an expression
of absolute dependability, until 10 years of inflation began to shrink our
dollar and our savings. We believed that our Nation's re sources were limitless
until 1973, when we had to face a growing dependence on foreign oil.
These wounds are still very deep. They have never been healed.
Looking for a way out of this crisis, our people have turned to the Federal
Government and found it isolated from the mainstream of our Nation's life. Washington, D.C.,
has become an island. The gap between our citizens and our Government has never
been so wide. The people are looking for honest answers, not easy answers;
clear leadership, not false claims and evasiveness and politics as usual.
What you see too often in Washington
and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable
of action. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds
of well financed and powerful special interests. You see every extreme position
defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or
another. You often see a balanced and a fair approach that demands sacrifice, a
little sacrifice from everyone, abandoned like an orphan without support and
Often you see paralysis and stagnation and drift. You don't like, and
neither do I. What can we do?
First of all, we must face the truth, and then we can change our course. We
simply must have faith in each other, faith in our ability to govern ourselves,
and faith in the future of this Nation. Restoring that faith and that
confidence to America
is now the most important task we face. It is a true challenge of this
generation of Americans.
One of the visitors to Camp David last week
put it this way: "We've got to stop crying and start sweating, stop
talking and start walking, stop cursing and start praying. The strength we need
will not come from the White House, but from every house in America."
We know the strength of America.
We are strong. We can regain our unity. We can regain our confidence. We are
the heirs of generations who survived threats much more powerful and awesome
than those that challenge us now. Our fathers and mothers were strong men and
women who shaped a new society during the Great Depression, who fought world
wars, and who carved out a new charter of peace for the world.
We ourselves and the same Americans who just 10 years ago put a man on the
Moon. We are the generation that dedicated our society to the pursuit of human
rights and equality. And we are the generation that will win the war on the
energy problem and in that process rebuild the unity and confidence of America.
We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One
is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and
self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp
for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant
conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a
certain route to failure.
All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises
of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the
restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our Nation
and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin to solve
our energy problem.
Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this Nation, and
it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of energy
we can win for our Nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of
our common destiny.
In little more than two decades we've gone from a position of energy
independence to one in which almost half the oil we use comes from foreign
countries, at prices that are going through the roof. Our excessive dependence
on OPEC has already taken a tremendous tool on our economy and our people. This
is the direct cause of the long lines which have made millions of you spend
aggravating hours waiting for gasoline. It's a cause of the increased inflation
and unemployment that we now face. This intolerable dependence on foreign oil
threatens our economic independence and the very security of our Nation.
The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger
to our Nation. These are facts and we simply must face them.
What I have to say to you now about energy is simple and vitally important.
Point one: I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States.
Beginning this moment, this Nation will never use more foreign oil than we did
in 1977 -- never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will
be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long
growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks
right now and then reversed as we move through the 1980's, for I am tonight
setting the further goal of cutting our dependence on foreign oil by one-half
by the end of the next decade -- a saving of over 4 1/2 million barrels of
imported oil per day.
Point two: To ensure that we meet these targets, I will use my Presidential
authority to set import quotas. I'm announcing tonight that for 1979 and 1980,
I will forbid the entry into this country of one drop of foreign oil more than
these goals allow. These quotas will ensure a reduction in imports even below the
ambitious levels we set at the recent Tokyo
Point three: To give us energy security, I am asking for the most massive
peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our Nation's history to develop America's own
alternative sources of fuel -- from coal, from oil shale, from plant products
for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the Sun.
I propose the creation of an energy security corporation to lead this effort
to replace 2 1/2 million barrels of imported oil per day by 1990. The
corporation will issue up to $5 billion in energy bonds, and I especially want
them to be in small denominations so that average Americans can invest directly
Just as a similar synthetic rubber corporation helped us win World War II,
so will we mobilize American determination and ability to win the energy war.
Moreover, I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation
of this Nation's first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal
of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000.
These efforts will cost money, a lot of money, and that is why Congress must
enact the windfall profits tax without delay. It will be money well spent.
Unlike the billions of dollars that we ship to foreign countries to pay for
foreign oil, these funds will be paid by Americans to Americans. These funds
will go to fight, not to increase, inflation and unemployment.
Point four: I'm asking Congress to mandate, to require as a matter of law,
that our Nation's utility companies cut their massive use of oil by 50 percent
within the next decade and switch to other fuels, especially coal, our most
abundant energy source.
Point five: To make absolutely certain that nothing stands in the way of
achieving these goals, I will urge Congress to create an energy mobilization
board which, like the War Production Board in World War II, will have the
responsibility and authority to cut through the redtape, the delays, and the
endless roadblocks to completing key energy projects.
We will protect our environment. But when this Nation critically needs a
refinery or a pipeline, we will build it.
Point six: I'm proposing a bold conservation program to involve every State,
county, and city and every average American in our energy battle. This effort
will permit you to build conservation into your homes and your lives at a cost
you can afford.
I ask Congress to give me authority for mandatory conservation and for
standby gasoline rationing. To further conserve energy, I'm proposing tonight
an extra $10 billion over the next decade to strengthen our public
transportation systems. And I'm asking you for your good and for your Nation's
security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation
whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed
limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy
conservation like this is more than just common sense -- I tell you it is an
act of patriotism.
Our Nation must be fair to the poorest among us, so we will increase aid to
needy Americans to cope with rising energy prices. We often think of
conservation only in terms of sacrifice. In fact, it is the most painless and
immediate way of rebuilding our Nation's strength. Every gallon of oil each one
of us saves is a new form of production. It gives us more freedom, more
confidence, that much more control over our own lives.
So, the solution of our energy crisis can also help us to conquer the crisis
of the spirit in our country. It can rekindle our sense of unity, our
confidence in the future, and give our Nation and all of us individually a new
sense of purpose.
You know we can do it. We have the natural resources. We have more oil in
our shale alone than several Saudi
Arabias. We have more coal than any nation
on Earth. We have the world's highest level of technology. We have the most
skilled work force, with innovative genius, and I firmly believe that we have
the national will to win this war.
I do not promise you that this struggle for freedom will be easy. I do not
promise a quick way out of our Nation's problems, when the truth is that the
only way out is an all-out effort. What I do promise you is that I will lead
our fight, and I will enforce fairness in our struggle, and I will ensure
honesty. And above all, I will act.
We can manage the short-term shortages more effectively and we will, but
there are no short-term solutions to our long-range problems. There is simply
no way to avoid sacrifice.
Twelve hours from now I will speak again in Kansas City, to expand and to explain further
our energy program. Just as the search for solutions to our energy shortages
has now led us to a new awareness of our Nation's deeper problems, so our
willingness to work for those solutions in energy can strengthen us to attack
those deeper problems.
I will continue to travel this country, to hear the people of America. You
can help me to develop a national agenda for the 1980's. I will listen and I
will act. We will act together. These were the promises I made 3 years ago, and
I intend to keep them.
Little by little we can and we must rebuild our confidence. We can spend
until we empty our treasuries, and we may summon all the wonders of science.
But we can succeed only if we tap our greatest resources -- America's people, America's
values, and America's
I have seen the strength of America
in the inexhaustible resources of our people. In the days to come, let us renew
that strength in the struggle for an energy-secure nation.
In closing, let me say this: I will do my best, but I will not do it alone.
Let your voice be heard. Whenever you have a chance, say something good about
our country. With God's help and for the sake of our Nation, it is time for us
to join hands in America.
Let us commit ourselves together to a rebirth of the American spirit. Working
together with our common faith we cannot fail.
Thank you and good night.