My fellow Americans, I sit before you, an ardent critic of the current political paradigm. For this reason I have taken the time to correct all the contradictions in President Obama’s speech. The standard of value is the coherence and correspondence tests of truth. My corrections are in yellow, so you can read the speech corrected or as it was intended...for an audience of non-thinkers.
My fellow citizens:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.
Humility is actually a weakness. No one ever achieved anything by thinking less of their capacities. We need a man full of pride, who knows their own value, as well as their flaws. But I am sure it was just rhetoric anyway to appease conflicted Christians.
Actually just because Americans elected him does not mean they trust him. Now that's not humility, it's arrogance. The guy needs to earn our trust and respect. At this point, he is just the lesser of two evils. That huge Senate payout doesn’t give anyone confidence.
I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Thank President Bush! You’re joking. That’s not humility, that’s plain stupidity . 43rd President Bush - The worst president in history. He was also the most stupid. He wasn’t even smart enough to match the damage done by Roosevelt.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace.
Aside from the boring poetry, rising tides are not still waters, they rise.
Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.
Oh, this is the calm before the storm?
At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.
Actually under Bush, the constitution was breached without restraint on several occasions. Even the actions to correct the Guantanamo Bay issue took too long. The illegal incarceration of foreign nationals without a court appearance. Shame on you for not mentioning it. Bush was skillful? A man of vision?
Geez, is it just me, or are American leaders just full of waffle. Millions of people are listening to this. Can’t he say anything interesting. I’m falling asleep analysing it. Boring.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans. That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. It was understood a decade ago. The Republicans and Democrats were not listening. Likely you didn’t understand. Now you are president. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Speak for yourself, unlike yourself, I have been critical of Bush for a long time. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights. True enough – first point of value.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They were real a decade ago, they started 100 years ago, they have their primary origins 400 years ago. Nothing changes because the problem is democracy itself. Give us reason, not consensus-based rhetoric ‘good of society’. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. See this is where leaders are bad. Hope is empty. I have reasons for believing in a leader, not vacuous faith. No, I don’t want unity. Basically people don’t get a voice, so issues are only addressed if there is conflict. Afghanistan and Iraq (as problems) were only addressed because they blew up the Twin Towers. Nothing gets resolved without conflict. So lets invite conflict, not evade it. Let’s not pretend that we are all in agreement, we are not. People are not being respected if we pretend they don’t have issues of conflict.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
This sounds so much like fluff. What pettinesses are we talking about? Katrina? Iraq? If these exist as they do, then speak to the problem. If you want our confidence, show us that you actually know what needs to be done.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. Well I studied scripture when I was a child, and it was just as illogical then as it is today. Why embrace a 2000 year philosophy developed in a pre-science era of fear and manipulation? The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
Oh, was that the same enduring spirit that ran up huge debts, committed sexual crimes in Abu Graib, ignores its constitution? Revisionists are we, ignoring the bad elements of US history? Are we free? Hardly. Define freedom please!!!
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. Really. Politics is always about the short term, range of the moment decisions to win the next election. It’s always about settling for less. When has there been a political leader whom you could respect. It’s not humanity, it's the political process that corrupts them before they become leaders.
It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom. Well it appears some of them dropped the ‘bankers ball’, or was it an own team goal, or a stolen ball? Something happened?
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.
The problem I have with reminiscing back to US colonial history is that it seems far removed from the current context of America. It’s almost a confession that there is no current virtue in US history, so we have to search back to a time when people actually believed in freedom. It's all rhetoric far removed from the USA today. I just look at the PriceWaterhouseCoopers ranking of best taxing nations – the USA ranks 100th plus, lower than Botswana and half the world. I don’t look to Botswana for philosophical guidance – why the USA?
Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life.
This is where we see the moral greyness. The idea that life is a sacrifice. Working hard is not a sacrifice. It's an investment. You only work for the promise of gain. If the dice are against you, you want a corresponding higher return. E.g. Free land. These people were not so virtuous when you consider the persecution in England. Now, most people accept or repress the modern variety of persecution. Eg. Taxation, speeding cameras, drink drinking. Good laws? You think?
They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
Well this is collectivism, otherwise referred to as socialism or fascism, and this is scary coming from Obama.
This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. Fair point.
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.
I guess he was speaking biblically here as Moses would do. Or was he thinking to part the Atlantic Ocean because you can’t use ‘soil to fuel our cars and run our factories’.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage. But this is not the problem – a lack of imagination. Its' the political process.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Really. Well it beggars belief because I can guarantee that Obama will do nothing to undo what was the legacy of Bush. He will not unwind the power of banks, increase the accountability of CEOs, and certainly not politicians. When did the public service earn kudos for service? When did the government, the president, get the experience to justify him holding power over a budget of $4 trillion. I don’t even think the CEO of general electric would think himself experienced enough to justify that level of confidence. That is not a position of humility, but arrogance.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
This market collapse was always known. It is not new news. It was ignored for ‘political reasons’. How is this presidency any different?
As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.
You already have. Only the rhetoric remains. Don’t forget Guantanamo Bay, Abu Graib, breaches of the constitution (gold standard, taxation), etc.
And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more. Peace at what price? Peace means nothing if it's not free of coercion. We are not free of coercion.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.
Yeh, but in those days the alliances were twofold – those intended to expand power (German-Japan) and the Allies (to keep enemies at bay). Today we have government alliances expanding their powers under an illusion of security threat. We have international alliances intended to entrench the existing political parties. They will rationalise that there is a 2-party competitive party structure, but its really a 2-party coalition or concubine.
I fell asleep at this point. You too? Not surprised. I need content to analyse otherwise my parched lips die.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com