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Hey, it’s that special time of the year again — it’s “National
Character Counts Week.”

Actually, it was last week. I know that because President Clinton
reminded the nation, as he does every year, with a proclamation.

“The character of our citizens has enriched every aspect of our
national life and has set an example of civic responsibility for people
around the world,” he began.

Yeah, you know what he means. If it wasn’t for character, heck, our
whole country would just fall apart. I mean, a solemn oath wouldn’t be
worth the Bible your hand was placed upon. People all over the world
look up to the United States because we are honest, fulfill our duty and
are good to our word.

“The diligence and determination that are part of our nation’s work
ethic have strengthened our economy, and the firm convictions of our
spiritual leaders have helped guide our communities, fostering unity,
compassion, and humility,” he continued.

Everybody grows up in America understanding that there are certain
things you must do to be a productive member of society. You need to get
yourself a good job in the work force and apply yourself, start at the
bottom, be humble, assume personal responsibility for yourself and the
wellbeing of your family and work toward achieving the American Dream.
If you do all that, one day you could wind up being president of the
United States.

“In this dynamic time of unparalleled opportunity and possibility,
our children will encounter a variety of new challenges that will test
the strength of their character and convictions. As the dawn of the new
millennium fast approaches, we must work together — parents, public
officials, educators, entertainers, and business and religious leaders
– to impart to our youth the core values they need to be good
citizens,” the president added.

And those core values are, as we all understand: Honesty, integrity,
fidelity and humility — those virtues so well exemplified by the
president himself.

“We know that parents play a critical role in imparting moral values
to their children. But in today’s complex and fast-paced society, when
parents must spend longer hours at work and more families are headed by
a single parent, parents have less time to spend with their children –
an average decrease of 22 hours a week over the past 30 years, according
to a report released this spring by my Council of Economic Advisers. We
must seek innovative ways to address this problem and to promote
stronger families, including greater flexibility in paid work hours,
more affordable child care, and increased support for low-income
families,” the president explained.

That’s right, Americans are working so much harder, these days. So
what we need to do is make sure we tax those people more so we can
afford to take care of their kids for them — because, obviously, they
are not equipped to do it themselves. Don’t you see?

“My Administration is committed to providing families with the tools
they need to fulfill their responsibilities at home and at work. Our
agenda includes tripling our investment in after-school programs through
the 21st Century Community Learning Center program and a historic
initiative to make child care better, safer, and more affordable for
working families. We are also working to expand the Family and Medical
Leave Act to cover more workers and to allow leave for more parental
activities, such as parent-teacher conferences and routine doctor
visits,” said the president.

Thank goodness we have a compassionate leader in the White House who
can provide Americans with the tools they need to take care of their
families. What would we do without him? And he’s so humble? Now that’s
character!

“While Americans are striving to seize the opportunities presented by
this exciting new era, we must continue to preserve the fundamental
ideals and ethics that have sustained our country for more than two
centuries. By sustaining these shared values and passing them on to our
children, we can realize our common hope for a more just and honorable
society and a brighter future for the generations to come,” he
concluded.

Character. You have to admit, folks, he is a character.

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