I have witnessed a number of discussions over the past couple of weeks about the future of the Michigan Jaycees and about the impending elections process that we annually put ourselves through. While it’s been good to discuss ideas and share thoughts about what needs to happen in order to make the Michigan Jaycees stronger, there is also a sense that we’re at the edge of a precipice. We’re balancing ourselves on a point where we can come together as one, or we can fall apart.

I cannot allow us to fall apart.

I want to share with all of my Jaycee friends something that the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson said in March of 1968. Specifically, I want to highlight the following remarks from this video:

“Yet, I believe that now, no less than when the decade began, this generation of Americans is willing to ‘pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.’

Since those words were spoken by John F. Kennedy, the people of America have kept that compact with mankind’s noblest cause.

And we shall continue to keep it.

Yet, I believe that we must always be mindful of this one thing, whatever the trials and the tests ahead. The ultimate strength of our country and our cause will lie not in powerful weapons or infinite resources or boundless wealth, but will lie in the unity of our people …

And in these times as in times before, it is true that a house divided against itself by the spirit of faction, of party, of region, of religion, of race, is a house that cannot stand.

There is division in the American house now. There is divisiveness among us all tonight … So, I would ask all Americans, whatever their personal interests or concern, to guard against divisiveness and all its ugly consequences …

What we won when all of our people united just must not now be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics among any of our people.

Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year …

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.

With that, I urge all of my friends in the Jaycees to come together, right now, and work on those things that we need to address as one people, one body, one organization that is indeed the “Greatest Young Persons organization in the world.” I fully intend to do what I can to support those who will be elected to Michigan Jaycee office in November in whatever that capacity will be.

Thanks for your support and your belief in me and in the Michigan Jaycees.

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