| Home > 2000 Presidential Documents > pd18de00 Remarks at a Special Olympics Dinner...
pd18de00 Remarks at a Special Olympics Dinner...
adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Though separated by more than 150 years, these two documents are not dusty relics of a distant past--the ideas they so powerfully express continue to shape the destiny of individuals and nations across the globe. Because the rights guaranteed by these documents, such as freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom from arbitrary arrest, are such an inherent part of America's history and national character, we at times may take them for granted. We sometimes forget that people elsewhere in the world are suffering, struggling, and even dying because these rights are denied them by oppressive governments. In countries such as Afghanistan, Burma, and the Sudan, men and women are harassed, arrested, and executed for worshipping according to their conscience. In many corners of the world, modern-day slavery still exists, with criminals trafficking in women and children and profiting from their servitude. But there is hope for the future. Globalization and the revolution in information technology are helping to break down the former barriers of geography and official censorship. People fighting for human rights in disparate places around the world can talk to one another, learn from one another, and shine the light of public scrutiny on the dark corners of the world. Free nations can work in concert to combat human rights abuses, as the United States did last spring when we joined with the Philippines and more than 20 other Asian and Pacific nations to develop a regional action plan to combat trafficking in persons and protect trafficking victims. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., once said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. We have seen the truth of that statement in the history of America, where each generation has strived to live up to our founders' vision of human dignity: that we are all created equal and that we all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But that statement holds true for the world's history as well; in our own lifetime, we have seen the fall of the Berlin Wall and the triumph of democracy in the Cold War. More people [[Page 3050]] live in freedom today than at any other time in history. But that march toward freedom is not inevitable; it is advanced by individual acts of courage and will; by the strong voices of people refusing to be silenced by their oppressors; by the willingness of free people and free nations to defend the rights of men, women, and children. Heroes like Lech Walesa in Poland, Vaclav Havel in the Czech Republic, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma are powerful reminders of how precious our human rights are and how high the cost is to sustain them. The Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that we celebrate this week are not merely proud words preserved on paper; they are a pledge written on our consciences and to oppressed people everywhere, so that they too will some day know the meaning of dignity and the blessing of human rights. Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 10, 2000, as Human Rights Day; December 15, 2000, as Bill of Rights Day; and the week beginning December 10, 2000, as Human Rights Week. I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate these observances with appropriate activities, ceremonies, and programs that demonstrate our national commitment to the Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and promotion and protection of human rights for all people. In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this Ninth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth. William J. Clinton [Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 8:45 a.m., December 13, 2000] Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on December 14. <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 3050-3051] Monday, December 18, 2000 Volume 36--Number 50 Pages 3041-3100 Week Ending Friday, December 15, 2000 Remarks at ``Christmas in Washington'' December 10, 2000 Thank you very much. First, I would like to thank my good friend Gerry Levin, George and Michael Stevens. Thank you, Sarah Michelle Gellar. I thank The Corrs for what they said about the work we've tried to do for peace in Ireland. Thank you, Billy Gilman. I think you've got a future. [Laughter] Thank you, Brian McKnight, Jessica Simpson, Marc Anthony, and my old friend Chuck Berry. Our family looks forward to this ``Christmas in Washington'' every year. But tonight, as many have noted, it's more special than ever to us, because it's our last one here. It also is the first Christmas of the new millennium. Tonight I am grateful that we can celebrate in an America blessed with unprecedented peace and prosperity, a nation that, as we see when we look at all of these young people who sang for us tonight, is growing increasingly more diverse, and yet, at least if the young are our guide, increasingly more united as one community. So this is a time for us to be grateful for our good fortune and to rededicate ourselves to the lessons of love and reconciliation taught by a child born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. As people all around the world gather this season to decorate trees and to light menorahs, we should remember the true meaning of the holidays, the spirit of giving. A gift was given to us, and we should in turn give--to bring a little light into every child's life, to give a little love and laughter and hope to those who don't have it. That's really what Christmas is all about and what this celebration, and the work of the Children's National Medical Center, has been about. They've been at it for 130 years. In healing children, they remind us that every one of our children is a miracle. As we rejoice in their lives, let's also take time tonight, when we look at the Navy Glee Club, to remember our men and women in uniform and all those around the world working for peace who will not be home this Christmas. [[Page 3051]] Finally, let me just thank all of you and the American people for giving Hillary, Chelsea, and me this incredible opportunity to share this joyous season and seven previous ones with you in the White House. Thank you. God bless you. Merry Christmas. Note: The President spoke at 7:27 p.m. at the National Building Museum. In his remarks, he referred to Gerald M. Levin, chairman and chief executive officer, Time Warner, Inc.; George Stevens, Jr., executive producer, and Michael Stevens, producer, ``Christmas in Washington;'' actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, master of ceremonies; musicians Billy Gilman, Brian McKnight, Jessica Simpson, Marc Anthony, and Chuck Berry. ``Christmas in Washington'' was videotaped for broadcast at 8 p.m. on December 17. <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 3051-3059] Monday, December 18, 2000 Volume 36--Number 50 Pages 3041-3100 Week Ending Friday, December 15, 2000 Interview With Forrest Sawyer for the Discovery Channel December 6, 2000 Mr. Sawyer. Good evening, Mr. President. The President. Good evening. Mr. Sawyer. Thank you for talking to us. The President. Glad to do it. Mars Mr. Sawyer. Let us talk about Mars. It is much in the news right now, some new discoveries on Mars that suggest there is at least a real possibility that this was once, some good long time ago, a land of lakes. That puts it on the radar screen. The President. Yes. All along, our people have thought there was some chance, based on other research that had been done, that there might have been some kind of life on Mars, at least for the last couple of years we've had some evidence of it. Now, these new pictures that we've seen indicate that there might have been water there, quite near the surface, and much more recently than had previously been thought. So I think it's important that we continue our exploration, that we continue to take photographs, and that we keep working until we can set a vehicle down and get some things off the surface of Mars and bring it back home so we can take a look at it. We had a couple of difficult missions there, but we learned some things from them. NASA was very forthright, and they came up with a new plan, and I think we should keep going at it. Mr. Sawyer. The question is how you should keep going at it. As you mentioned, there had been a couple of losses, and that's been a hard public relations blow to get by. This new information at least raises what's going on in Mars, to the public's attention, a little higher. Do you continue more aggressively than you had before? The President. Well, I think the NASA people will be the best judge of that, but they are and they should be committed to Mars exploration. They should continue to do more, I think, with the photographs. We should get as much information as we can from observation, in the greatest detail we can. And I think they should keep working on trying to get a vehicle to land on Mars that will be able to not only give us more immediate photographs but actually, physically get materials off the surface of Mars that we could then return to Earth. I think they should keep working on it. Priorities for the Space Program Mr. Sawyer. Look out a little further with me. You recall President Kennedy saying there should be a concerted effort to put a man on the Moon. Should there be a concerted effort to go that much greater distance and put humans--men and/or women--on Mars? The President. I think it's just a question of when, not if. I think that now that we are committed to space exploration in a continuing way, now that we've got the space station up and the people there are working, and they're there 3 years ahead of the original schedule--I'm very proud of them--I think that what we should do from now on is to figure out how much money we can devote to this and what our most immediate priorities are. The space station, I think, is going to prove to be an immense benefit to the American people and, indeed, to all the people of the world, because of the research that will go on there and what we'll find out. And so I think it's just a question of kind of sorting [[Page 3052]] out the priorities, and the people who will come here after me in the White House and the space people and, of course, the interested Members of Congress will have to make those judgments. Possibility of Life in Space Mr. Sawyer. Do you think there is life out there? The President. I don't know. But I think the--what we know from Mars is that the conditions of life may well have, for some sort of biological life, may well have obtained on Mars at some point in the past. Now, we know also that our solar system is just a very tiny part of this universe, and that there are literally billions of other bodies out there. And we're only now really learning about how many they are, where they are, how far away they are. And we can't know for sure what the conditions are on those bodies. We just can't know yet, but I think that we will continue to learn. And I hope we will continue to learn. International Space Station Mr. Sawyer. The International Space Station is not without controversy, and you have pushed hard for it. It is expensive. It is challenging. It is, in good measure, risky. Why do this project in this way? The President. Well, first of all, it is expensive. It will cost us about $40 billion over about 10 years. That includes the cost to put it up, our part of the cost, and then to maintain our part of it over 10 or 15 years. But I think it's important for several reasons. First of all, it is a global consortium. There are 16 nations involved in it, each of them making some special contributions. The Russians, for example have--because they had the Mir station and we conducted some joint missions to Mir, I think nine of them over the last 2 years and 3 months--have made it possible for us to expand the size of the station and the number of people we can have there. I think that it's important because we can do a lot of basic research there in biology. We can see without the pull of gravity what happens with tissues, with protein growth. We've got a whole lot of things that we might be able to find out there that will help us in the biological sciences. Secondly, I think we'll learn a lot about material science without gravity, how can you put different kinds of metals together and things like that. And the revolution in material science here on Earth is a very important part of America's productivity growth. It's just like our revolutions in energy that are going on now, our revolution in information technology. Advances we've made in material sciences are very important to our long-term productivity and our ability to live in harmony with the environment here. Then there are a lot of basic physics things we're going to find out there. So I think the whole range of scientific experiments that we'll discover will be enormous. Now, there are a lot of corollary benefits, too. When countries are working together, they're less likely to be fighting. And we've been able to keep literally hundreds of Russian scientists and engineers occupied who otherwise would have been targets of rogue states to help them produce nuclear or biological or chemical weapons or missiles or do some other mischief-making thing. So I think that's been a positive side effect. But I believe in the potential of the space station, and I think that over the years we will come almost to take for granted a breathtaking array of discoveries, what they'll be beaming back to us. Mr. Sawyer. The critics are saying, Mr. President, we've been doing work in weightless conditions for 20 years. This is not new. And when you take 16 nations, each one of them contributing a piece, this is enormously complicated; it makes it much more expensive; and frankly, for the astronauts, it can make it more risky. The President. First of all, we're ahead of schedule. We're doing well up there, and we have never been able to keep people up, essentially, continuously. There were limits to our previous manned missions in outer space and the period of time in which weightlessness was available to them. You're going to have now, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 52 weeks a year, for more than a decade, to see this work done and develop. And I believe in its potential. The scientists who believe in it sold me a long [[Page 3053]] time ago, and I've never wavered in my belief that it's a good investment, and it'll pay back many times over what we're doing. Mr. Sawyer. I think you said $40 billion for the United States part. The President. But over 15 years, total. Mr. Sawyer. Correct. And what the critics say, not the right calculations. In fact, all you have to do is look at the Russians right
Other Popular 2000 Presidential Documents Documents:
|GovRecords.org presents information on various agencies of the United States Government. Even though all information is believed to be credible and accurate, no guarantees are made on the complete accuracy of our government records archive. Care should be taken to verify the information presented by responsible parties. Please see our reference page for congressional, presidential, and judicial branch contact information. GovRecords.org values visitor privacy. Please see the privacy page for more information.|
Supreme Court Decisions
104th Congressional Documents
105th Congressional Documents
106th Congressional Documents
107th Congressional Documents
108th Congressional Documents
1994 Presidential Documents