Hi, I'm Senator Barbara Mikulski.
Many of you know me as a United States Senator. But I started out as a community organizer. I organized people for self-help.
So, as a United States Senator, as a proud member of Character Counts, and as a community organizer, I'm here to call for an action plan.
Character Counts needs an action plan to teach young people to have character.
And a sense of urgency must surround that action plan. We need to organize and mobilize. We need to get character education to young people.
We need to get into the schools, into the clubs, onto the playgrounds, and into the after school meetings.
We need to get out there and teach young people that they have a call to duty. That for every right there is a responsibility. And for every opportunity there is an obligation.
To do that we need a strategy to operationalize our good intentions.
We must start today.
Our nation is in a serious crisis. A great spiritual crisis, with a decline of virtues and values and an erosion of families and neighborhoods.
We have gone from being a progressive society to being a permissive society.
Instead of having character, we're often rewarded if you are a character.
We have gone from honoring virtue to celebrating vulgarity.
As we head into the 21st century, we need to ask ourselves where we are going and how do we get there.
Some see the coming of this new century as the end of progress. I want it to be a new era of opportunity.
To do that, we need to be a nation with character. It is character that will hold our society together.
Our nation has never been a melting pot. It is a mosaic. Each one of us is a piece of the mosaic. And that mosaic is held together by social glue.
What is social glue? It is the ties that bind. Neighbor helping neighbor. Respect for yourself. Respect for others.
Social glue is character. Character does count and we must be a nation where it is counted on.
So let's get organized. Let's get a concrete action plan. Let's get every sector involved. Public. Private. Non-profit.
Let's start a national grassroots campaign for character.
And let's start today.