Preface - Speech to Republican
Women of Huntsville
January 11, 2000
Morning, ladies and Gentlemen!
What I have been asked to do today is to repeat a speech that I made back
in the month of May in the last year of the last century. In other words
this past spring. At that time I gave the speech you are about to hear
to some 200 tenth grade students meeting at Jacksonville University under
the sponsorship of the Hugh O'Brian Youth Organization. Each student was
specially selected for his academic and leadership potential, and there
were students from a great many of the high schools throughout the state.
In other words my audience was an excellent cross section of the best
of our youth in Alabama.
I can say with confidence that this will be the most politically incorrect
speech you have ever heard. When I gave it at Jacksonville it was followed
by puzzled looks and mostly silence, then intermittent applause interspersed
with sidewise glances from the audience to each other, followed by more
intermittent applause. I was a member of a panel of four, the other three
being members of the Alabama Legislature. During the Question and Answer
period I got perhaps as many questions as the other three together. As
they came to the microphone most of my questioners prefaced their remarks
with the assurance that they disagreed with me. Interestingly, though,
and I must say encouragingly, several sidled up to me afterwards and in
low voices announced their agreement with me. Some time after the other
speakers had departed the adult sponsors had to ask a number of students
who had lingered with more comments and questions to take their seats
so that the next event could proceed.
Here, then, is the speech that I gave. Please remember that I am addressing
you as though you were a tenth grader. Also I should tell you that I had
been asked to speak on the matter of what I might wish for Alabama in
the new century.