Newt Gingrich Warns of Critical Time in Nation's History as He Speaks at Mount Union
April 6, 2006
"We are at the most critical time in our nation's history since early April of 1861, prior to the shots being fired at Fort Sumter," said Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the United States House of Representatives speaking on the campus of Mount Union College on Thursday evening, April 6.
According to Gingrich, who spoke at a brief media press conference before making his formal remarks later in the evening in the College's Timken Physical Education Building, the country needs to make some hard decisions in dealing with the numerous challenges it faces today.
"The current government model does not work," he said. "We need a 21st century model that can deal with all the issues we currently face - from AlQueda, to Iran and North Korea, to illegal immigration, and to the economic competition we face from the likes of India and China, along with a host of other issues."
He touched briefly on a number of those issues, including illegal immigration.
"I am extremely disappointed in the so-called compromise package Congress and the President have come up with in terms of dealing with the illegal immigration problem this country faces. We have a real security threat that is not being addressed. Eleven million people, who are here illegally, are being offered amnesty - pure and simple. They do not want to use that word "amnesty" but that is what is happening. Why would you ever want to reward someone who breaks the laws of this country? And by entering illegally, you are violating the law of the land."
"I wish the President would stop talking so much about successes and just tell the American people it is going to be tough. Some time things are just difficult and take time."
He went on to comment that the overall war on terror may last 50 or even 70 years.
The architect of the "Contract With America" also discussed five rules that he often stresses when speaking to the very young - dream big, work hard, learn every day, enjoy life and be true to yourself.
"Time" Magazine's 1995 Man of the Year took time to address the young people in the audience during his formal remarks.
"If you are not prepared to be a citizen, you are not prepared to be an American," he stated. "In a truly free society, leadership is not the job of the elite, a handful of people, or the aristocracy. Leadership is the job of every person."
"A government of the people, by the people and for the people was a really bold concept, a concept that has not reached Beijing, Darfur and only on occasion reaches Moscow."
Gingrich challenged youngsters in the audience to make a difference.
"You will get to decide, one by one, if you are willing to pay the price to be an American. Every one of you is a potential Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Henry Kissinger. You are limited only by the courage you bring."
On the challenges the country faces and the role today's youth will eventually play in dealing with those challenges, Gingrich had a warning.
"The next 20 years certainly are not going to be boring."
First elected to Congress in 1978, Newt Gingrich served the Sixth District of Georgia for 20 years. In 1995, he was elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives where he served until 1999. Under his leadership, Congress passed welfare reform, the first balanced budget in a generation and the first tax cuts in 16 years.
Currently, he is the founder of the Gingrich Group, a communications and consulting firm, and serves as a political analyst for FOX News Network.
Other speakers in Mount Union's "Call to Public Service: The Future of Our Nation and State" Speaker Series, have included U.S. Representative Ted Strickland, a democratic candidate for governor of Ohio, David Gergen, former advisor to presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Sr. and Bill Clinton, and John Edwards, former U.S. senator and vice presidential candidate.