Sunday, December 5, 2010

Speeches We'd Like to Hear: Obama on Politics and Policy

MeanMesa has never felt quite "entirely comfortable" making a series of postings where, in each case, we have "put words in the mouth" of President Obama.  Granted, we must agree that this approach may be considered by many to be a bit too indulgent, but when the affairs of state decline to such a dangerous point as at the present, MeanMesa must pre-emptorily forgive ourselves for indulging even a little more than the usual in "First Amendment Remedies!"

That is, in times such as these, "objectivity" may be enjoying too much of the social inertia commonly supporting it as an otherwise laudable tradition.  So, let's get "subjective!"

For visitors not familiar with this format, you can see other MeanMesa postings in this series at the following links.

"Speeches We'd Like to Hear:" 

 Now, on with the "speech."

(image source )

Good evening.  Tonight I want to speak to my fellow citizens about a serious threat which has grown so serious as to threaten our nation's future.  I am not speaking about an invasion, an epidemic or some natural disaster.  I am not presenting news about our economy or the wars we are fighting.  My message tonight is about a looming threat so serious as to challenge our nation's ability to meet either any of those old problems or even to face inevitable new ones.

Those who invest their highest energy in promoting further division will have an easy evening tonight.  As your President, I have no interest in diverting any of my attention from our country to an effort to match their latest tirades.

On the cold day in 2009 when I was inaugurated as President, I already knew that many parts of my new job would be unavoidably provocative and controversial.  Our national destiny had already put in place many of the fundamental priorities for my term in office the day I took the oath.  However, no matter how serious these difficulties might have been, an even graver matter stood quietly behind them.

A basic idea in our democracy is that no one can better direct this country than its citizens.  The Revolutionary War fought so bravely by our forefathers stated clearly that we, as a nation, intended to proceed to an uncertain destiny based  directly on the very best ideas of the people who lived here.  Since then we have seen debates, arguments and even Civil War as we have progressed on this simple principle. 

The essential structure of our Constitution and the government which arose as a result of its ideals is one which guarantees that these conflicts of ideas and philosophy will continue to nourish our continuing search for the best course for our nation.  We, as a country, rely on the constant flow of contradictory opinions which are presented as alternative proposals for our common interests.  From all those varieties of ideas, the United States has consistently enjoyed an astounding assortment  of choices for possible solutions to the problems we have faced.

Further, the source of this assortment of new ideas has never been relegated exclusively to those in power.  Our democratic elections determine who will be responsible, not whose ideas will represent the only choices to be considered.

When inaugurated, I knew that I would rely on this flow of alternate ideas -- along with the process which derives our final policy from such respected contentions -- to sustain and invigorate the decisions which could mark a robust Presidency.  All possibilities of success for our nation would be in peril if there were no dissenting opinions, that is, if my every proposal were to be met with a passive approval.  As a politician, I would find life in such a world a starvation diet, indeed.

However, having said all that, I must address this threat I have mentioned.  It is one of unwarranted division.  

Is this opposition to my administration's proposals a surprise?  Absolutely not.  Almost half of this country voted for someone else in that 2008 election.  Yet, I am now encountering a great energy which is not directed at the creation of alternate ideas for our country's direction, but rather to increasing polarization of what had before been the various sides of the debate.  The flow of new, alternative ideas has almost ceased while the rancor of an unchecked and impassioned resistance to any and every proposition has flourished.

Of course we face serious problems with issues such as our economy and our foreign wars, but these are not difficulties too great for such a powerful nation as ourselves to solve.  However, who can think that we are so might that we can  meet these challenges through inaction?  When the division among Americans becomes so great that we are unable to act in our own interests as a nation, we have placed our future in peril.

We may have replaced the arena of fruitful debate with one so tragically ossified that none of fresh breath of these nation-saving, alternative ideas can get through the clouds of maneuvering for political advantage.  That unhappy state leaves our national direction well fed with politics but starving for proposals to move ahead.

A speech such as this one must "ask for something."  I intend to do exactly that.

Can I simply ask Americans to be less divided?  No.  Such a request would not only be unrealistic, but actually counter productive.  Instead, what I am asking  from my fellow citizens tonight is a even simpler.

It is this.  When you consider the immense flow of ideas and opinions about this government, this Presidency or this nation, add a short question to your thoughts.  That question is this:  "Is there a plan or a proposal for our national direction contained here?  Can this idea or the opinion I have just encountered lead to action for the good of the country?  What is my part in getting that done?"

Our national future will be determined by acting for what's good for our country, not what's best for the next election.  Blind criticism is a cheap commodity, but  thoughtful, sincere disagreement is worth its weight in gold.  Respect for each other and love of our country lead us to make a few simple decisions.

Ideas not politics.
Policy not ideology.
Union of purpose not division of interests.
Principles not personalities.

Try to make an extra effort to follow these guidelines in your political thoughts for the next 12 months.  If, at the end of the year, you find that you miss the divisiveness of the old way, return to it.  In the meantime, join in with your fellow citizens.  Our country needs us strongly together right now.

Thank you, and God Bless the United States of America.

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