I believe there are millions of Americans who know our security and prosperity are at risk if we don't address the challenges of our time - the global threat of terrorism; taxes and spending that will bankrupt future generations; and a government that can't get the most basic responsibilities right for its citizens.
In 1994 when I first ran for the Senate, I advocated the same common-sense conservative positions I hold today. They are based upon what I believe to be sound conservative First Principles, reflecting the nature of man and the wisdom of the ages. It is a basic recognition that our rights come from God and not from government. Essentially, it's about freedom. A government big enough to do everything for us is powerful enough to do anything to us.
These principles lead me to believe in lower taxes, free markets, private property and fair competition. These principles made America great, and we should rededicate ourselves to them, not abandon them.
When we look to Washington, we see a bureaucratized government increasingly unable or unwilling to carry out basic governmental functions, including securing our borders against illegal immigration and enforcing our laws. A nation that can't protect its border will no longer be a sovereign nation. We see a Congress more politicized and divided than ever and disconnected from the American people. Is this the government that some would have play an even greater role in running our lives? We must do better.
Recently, I talked to a young Marine at Walter Reed Hospital. He had lost both legs in Iraq but was looking to the future. I asked him what he planned to do, and he said he wanted to work with a nonprofit organization that was doing a lot to help people. Then he looked at me and said, "I just thought it was time I gave something back."
That young man, who has given so much for America and yet still asks to give more, is typical of the men and women of the United States armed forces. Our country has shed more blood for the freedom of other people than all the other countries in the world combined. We are steeped in the tradition of honor and sacrifice for the greater good.
I believe that Americans are once again ready to achieve this greater good, which is nothing less than the security, prosperity and unity of our country.
Former Sen. FRED THOMPSON of Tennessee is seeking the Republican nomination for president.
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