Home > 2000 Presidential Documents > pd18de00 Remarks at a Special Olympics Dinner...

pd18de00 Remarks at a Special Olympics Dinner...

Web GovRecords.org

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 

[[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 
    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, 

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on 
December 14.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[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 

[[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.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[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.


    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 
    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 
    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 
    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 

[[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 

Pages: << Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Next >>

Other Popular 2000 Presidential Documents Documents:

1 pd05jn00 United States-European Union Summit Statement on a New World Trade...
2 pd01ja01 Statement on Signing the Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY 2001...
3 pd24jy00 The President's Radio Address...
4 pd11se00 Checklist of White House Press Releases...
5 pd07fe00 Videotape Address to the People of Puerto Rico on Efforts To Resolve the...
6 pd27no00 Remarks to the Vietnamese Business Community in Ho Chi Minh City,...
7 pd31ja00 Interview With Jim Lehrer of PBS' ``NewsHour''...
8 pd17ja00 Statement Announcing Assistance to Colombia's Counterdrug Efforts...
9 pd17jy00 Remarks on Presenting the Congressional Gold Medal to Father Theodore M....
10 pd26jn00 Proclamation 7324--50th Anniversary of the Korean War and National...
11 pd23oc00 Remarks at a Reception for Governor Gary Locke in Seattle...
12 pd19jn00 Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Luncheon in Minneapolis...
13 pd04de00 Statement on a Study on Tobacco Use and Lung and Bronchial Cancer Rates...
14 pd24ap00 Memorandum on Waiver and Certification of Statutory Provisions Regarding...
15 pd22my00 Proclamation 7308--National Defense Transportation Day and National...
16 pd13mr00 Memorandum on Delegation of Authority To Transmit Report on Cooperative...
17 pd06mr00 Statement on Emergency Assistance to Fishing Communities...
18 pd25se00 Remarks to the Michigan State Bar Association in Detroit, Michigan...
19 pd28fe00 Proclamation 7275--Registration Under the Military Selective Service Act...
20 pd21fe00 The President's Radio Address...
21 pd20mr00 Remarks to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Luncheon in...
22 pd16oc00 Telephone Remarks to a Reception for Hillary Clinton...
23 pd14au00 Letter to Congressional Leaders Transmitting a Report on Cyprus...
24 pd20no00 Statement on Signing Legislation To Establish National Birmingham Pledge...
25 pd10ap00 Contents...
26 pd13no00 Acts Approved by the President...
27 pd18de00 Remarks at a Special Olympics Dinner...
28 pd10jy00 Remarks on Departure for Camp David, Maryland, and an Exchange With...
29 pd01my00 The President's Radio Address...
30 pd08my00 Statement on the Legal Framework Agreement for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan...

Other Documents:

2000 Presidential Documents Records and 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.
House Rules:

104th House Rules
105th House Rules
106th House Rules

Congressional Bills:

104th Congressional Bills
105th Congressional Bills
106th Congressional Bills
107th Congressional Bills
108th Congressional Bills

Supreme Court Decisions

Supreme Court Decisions


1995 Privacy Act Documents
1997 Privacy Act Documents
1994 Unified Agenda
2004 Unified Agenda

Congressional Documents:

104th Congressional Documents
105th Congressional Documents
106th Congressional Documents
107th Congressional Documents
108th Congressional Documents

Congressional Directory:

105th Congressional Directory
106th Congressional Directory
107th Congressional Directory
108th Congressional Directory

Public Laws:

104th Congressional Public Laws
105th Congressional Public Laws
106th Congressional Public Laws
107th Congressional Public Laws
108th Congressional Public Laws

Presidential Records

1994 Presidential Documents
1995 Presidential Documents
1996 Presidential Documents
1997 Presidential Documents
1998 Presidential Documents
1999 Presidential Documents
2000 Presidential Documents
2001 Presidential Documents
2002 Presidential Documents
2003 Presidential Documents
2004 Presidential Documents

Home Executive Judicial Legislative Additional Reference About Privacy