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At two points in this speech on an assigned topic, my father jotted down notes for extemporaneous jokes.

Mr. Toastmaster and Gentlemen:

I wonder how many people know "America's Top Secret."

Every man in this room is, or some day will be, eligible to share in America's Top Secret.  Whether or not we, as individuals, share in this most carefully guarded secret depends entirely upon ourselves.

America's Top Secret — the secret ballot — is largely responsible for our achievements as a nation.  For it is through the secret ballot that we express ourselves as to approval or disapproval of a person, a political party, or a proposal to spend our money to build a school building or build a street or highway.  It is the secret ballot which enables us to vote without fear of reprisal.  With this weapon, there is little opportunity for would-be Hitlers to take over.  And while dishonesty can creep into government, the secret ballot is one sure way honest citizens can stamp it out.

Since the beginning of time, no nation has risen to the dazzling heights in industrial production, in agriculture, in wealth, in health, in standard of living, and in freedom, that has been achieved by the United States of America.

(Auto Joke:  Teacher said to Johnnie if they were to place all the automobiles end to end . . . .  Automobile brakes that automatically get tight when the driver does.  Sunday afternoon.)

Our freedoms are close to our hearts.  We are proud of our advantages over the other nations of the earth, and even a suggestion of a compromise to our freedoms meets vigorous opposition.

Like the muscles of the body of an athlete or a racehorse, the right to vote the secret ballot must be exercised or, again like the muscles, these rights will shrink and gradually disappear.  They must be exercised properly and with regularity in order to effectively perform the function for which they are intended.

You exercise your "Freedom of worship" by going to church — or staying at home like so many of us are prone to do.  You exercise your "Freedom of speech" by joining Toastmasters.  You exercise your "Freedom to work in any locality" when you choose Cambridge as your place of employment.  You exercise your "Freedom to own property" when you buy your home.

(Dr. Robert Ringer & Tom Bruney Joke:   Freedom to travel.  Georgia, nothing more beautiful than a peach on a limb.  Florida, nothing more beautiful than a limb on a peach.)

We in America have sacrificed much and will sacrifice more, but one thing we must never sacrifice:  the priceless right of each American to think and vote as his conscience alone dictates.  Next time you go to the polls, remember they're your rights, so treat them right.

Keep America the land where the worker today is often the boss tomorrow, and where equal opportunity awaits for all who are capable.

Land where Freedom prevails as in no other.

Land of which no truer words were ever said:
     "My Country, 'tis of thee,
     Sweet Land of Liberty —"

Keep America's Top Secret.  Go to the polls next Election Day — vote the secret ballot.


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