bschaller at ltoa dot com
Monday, January 26, 2004

The Ghosts of Speeches Past...

Six days ago we all tuned in to hear President George W Bush give his fourth State of the Union address. It is pretty easy to tell by what I wrote earlier that I was not impressed. In fact the speech was so bad that I have been unable to stop thinking about it and how it should be a wake up call to a half asleep nation. This speech stands as the antithesis of what a rallying call should be. When I think of great speeches and the effect they can have, I fell that we were all short changed by this presidency. If GW is going to do unspeakable things in our name he can at least speak about them with grace and elegance. But that has never been his forte has it. His speeches have given us "The Axis of Evil", the sixteen words, and a hard fight against steroid use in pro sports. I am not quite sure what the last one has to do with the State of the Union at all. In all this doom and gloom I have jumped into the Way Back machine know as the Internet and looked up some speeches that were truly moving. William Jefferson Clinton and John Fitzgerald Kennedy were two of the greatest presidential orators this country has ever know. They will forever stand with the likes of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Washington, and Franklin as some of the best we have had. Here is some of what Clinton had to say in his 1997 State of the Union address: "America is far more than a place. It is an idea, the most powerful idea in the history of nations. And all of us in this Chamber, we are now the bearers of that idea, leading a great people into a new world. A child born tonight will have almost no memory of the 20th century. Everything that child will know about America will be because of what we do now to build a new century." That is truly moving. Here is what JFK had to say in his first State if the Union in 1961: "I am confident that that friendship will continue. Our Constitution wisely assigns both joint and separate roles to each branch of the government; and a President and a Congress who hold each other in mutual respect will neither permit nor attempt any trespass. For my part, I shall withhold from neither the Congress nor the people any fact or report, past, present, or future, which is necessary for an informed judgment of our conduct and hazards. I shall neither shift the burden of executive decisions to the Congress, nor avoid responsibility for the outcome of those decisions." Those are great words of partnership and responsibility. I long for the days when the commander and chief could move all Americans to action for the common good and not be mocked for his "strategery". In these coming days I will be paying close attention to these primary candidates and watching for greatness through speech. We need a president who can move a stagnant nation to the greatness it is capable of, through action not fear. I have gotten in to a bad habit of caring about politics and national discourse. I at least want what I watch to be moving. If that means sounding a barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world, so be it. B

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Things To Do...

Open a Record Store
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Buy a Sail Boat
Start a music site better than these guys
Start a Band again...
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