Monday, October 23, 2006

Reminiscing About the Future: Barack Obama's Inauguration Speech

Truthfully, I'm not sure how I feel about Barack Obama. His charisma, intelligence and life story definitely intrigue me. I appreciated his firm unwavering opposition to the Iraq war from the onset. Too many Democrats did not share his resoluteness. But there are moments when he sounds too willing to castigate secularists for being "hostile" to religion and ready to compromise core progressive values. It also remains to be seen whether Obama can withstand the intense scrutiny and gold fish bowl of presidential politics. So, while Obama intrigues me, I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon just yet. But for whatever its worth, I thought I'd have some fun and try writing a hypothetical inaugural speech in his voice.

Vice President Richardson, Madam Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, Vice President Cheney, President Bush, esteemed clergy and fellow citizens – Today we honor the majesty of our democracy. Two hundred and twenty years ago our first president, George Washington, took the same oath I have today. America was young and vulnerable. Our nation surrounded by enemies and divided. Yet we survived turbulent years of war and intense debate about our system of government.

Our first president was a humble man who believed our country partly owed its survival to divine providence. He told a joint session of Congress at that first inaugural, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States.”

As I reflect upon our country’s two centuries of struggles and accomplishments I must also humbly share George Washington’s gratitude to the Almighty for America’s survival and prosperity. Civil War, the Depression, two world wars, the Cold War, the civil rights struggle and an influx of new Americans from around the globe. Through it all we remained strong, just and united.

Our continued survival and prosperity is contingent upon nurturing a community culture at home and abroad. All of God’s children are entitled to dignity and respect regardless of their race, nationality, class, gender or religion. All of God’s children share responsibility as stewards of this planet’s well being. As the world’s strongest power we’re obligated to embrace the better angels of our nature for the sake of all humanity. Now in our third century America is still young at heart but mature in soul.

Our new generation of leadership is also young at heart and mature in soul. The shouting and recriminations of the 1960s is not our anthem. The petulance and pettiness of hawk vs. dove, black vs. white, hippie vs. the establishment, Great Society vs. law and order is not the drumbeat we march too. Those struggles were important. A forty-year era of great debates helped make our country more just. Those arguments belong in the past. My friends, the culture war is over.

Our generation believes in consensus and innovation. Everyone has a stake, everyone has responsibility, everyone has something to contribute and from time to time everyone has to give someone a helping hand. Today’s successful leaders in business, government and academia don’t rule by decree or demonizing our adversaries. Our generation gets things done by accountability and coordination. Leaders must inspire or fail.

I want our friends and allies to know that my Administration is both able to lead and willing to listen. Global warming, terrorism, famine, genocide and disease are challenges to address together. America can’t impose stability, democracy or order on anyone. Nor can we protect the world by ourselves. I know that. We know that.

The community of nations also can’t police the world, save our environment and bring about peace without us. The world remains dangerous with ancient tribal hatreds, terrorists and the proliferation of horrible weapons. In this world where evil still lurks and natural resources are diminished we either cooperate or die. I extend the hand of cooperation to our allies. Let us go forward together and make the 21st century one of universal peace, prosperity and justice.

To our enemies I extend the olive branch of peace. America is strong enough to negotiate. We truly prefer peace to war and take no pleasure in shedding anyone’s blood. But don’t mistake the hand of peace for weakness. Our resolve remains firm, as does our might. Tread on our allies or us and we stand ready to defend freedom in battle.

I also extend the hand of friendship to the loyal opposition with a special acknowledgement to Senator John McCain. Senator McCain waged a spirited campaign honorably and with principle. I admire his patriotism, his distinguished service to our country and his example of citizenship.

We all have a role to play in our national conversation. Principled debate is welcome and needed to keep all of us honest. Politics must be a rigorous competition for the best ideas. We have great challenges ahead. Bridging the gap between rich and poor, expanding access to health care, ensuring that our children receive a first class education. Let us debate and hash out our differences honorably and with civility. There’s no need to question the other side’s motives. I welcome ideas from everyone.

Ultimately, the health of our national community doesn’t depend on politicians in Washington. Whether we succeed or fail is about everyone embracing the greater good of our nation. We’re all connected and we all have important roles.

To my fellow citizens I ask patience and sacrifice. We’re living in a new world. The global economy does not bend to our will. Our competitiveness and prosperity requires choices and priorities. We’re going to have to change our consumption habits if we want to save our planet from global warming. We owe this to the world as global citizens and it’s our moral responsibility to lead by example. It’s also a matter of national security. All of us must contribute to the national community by conserving energy if we want to free ourselves from the tyranny of foreign oil.

America does have enemies. I don’t expect or want citizens to live in perpetual fear. That only emboldens our enemies. But I will ask for broader sacrifice. Too many citizens from poor communities absorbed the burden of defending our freedom in recent years. This Administration will not deploy troops without just cause. But I am going to ask that all Americans contribute.

That means multimillionaire CEOs can find good paying jobs on their payrolls for soldiers returning home. If they risked their lives you can take home less pay.

Our high school and college students also must embrace responsibility to our community. Many of your neighbors are overseas shedding their blood for your freedom. You can help tutor the children of our soldiers, keep neighborhoods clean, and volunteer to help in veteran’s hospitals or take care of the elderly. Citizenship in the United States is a privilege. Many died so you may enjoy that privilege and we all have to give something back. Service breeds better citizens. And better citizens lead more productive lives.

America has prospered and achieved when its citizens have come together for the greater good. Thirteen colonies banded together to overthrow the yoke of tyranny. Rich, poor, black and white came together to defeat the Nazis and save the world from evil. Blacks and whites marched together for civil rights. A half-century of national resolve prevailed in the Cold War against communism. An America with many more colors and creeds united after 9/11 and stood tall together.

The time has come for this generation of Americans to come together in one community for causes beyond conflict and struggle. Let us aspire to the greatness of a national community that provides opportunity for all and demands responsibility from everyone.

Two centuries ago our country ushered an age of Enlightenment and self-determination for the world. May our third century ignite a worldwide reformation of peace, shared responsibility and justice. We must be bold enough to lead, humble enough to listen and courageous enough to persevere. I have faith this generation of Americans will live up to its calling.

Thank you and may God bless the United States of America.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting. It was a very nice attempt in his voice and believe that you hit many points that he would certainly drive home in such as major speech.
He has mostly been quite in his first two years in the Senate but I think he compromises in order to get things accomplished. Change happens in incremental steps. The civil rights movement took 20 years and it is still going on now. I liked the speech and hope he gets the chance to write it.

Apartment 604 said...

Not bad . . . I gather this isn't your first crack at speechwriting? :)

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Obama was a fag.

Anonymous said...

What kind of comment is that dickel. Totally unnecessary and derogatory.

Anonymous said...

I'd vote for him, but a black president? Are you kidding? This is 'merica and that only happens on Fela Kuti albums.

Anonymous said...

I love the speech but I see the ticket flipped my friend, with President Richardson and Vice President Obama. Richardson joked with Bill Maher that if he runs he would be the dark horse in the race, with Obama that is certainly reinforced!

Anonymous said...

I have a funny sounding name too. Can I be special? Every freakin election the democrat party marches out a cast of characters with fanfare, pomp and splendor befitting the procession into Rome by a victorious emperor. Hey, that reminds me, where is Oblama's love slave? They make a big hollywood production over this stooge and that stooge portraying them as the second coming of Jesus Christ. It's such absolute media hype super BS. Remember when Kerry was the greatest saviour known to western man....until he revealed himself as a freakin effete east coast limousine liberal snob. Hillary was the "smartest woman in the world"...remember that propaganda? And still they roll out this circus every four years and still the media puppies follow them around urinating in submission to the big democrat dogs. The only thing more insane are the mindless followers of the left who swallow this pablum and beg for more....swooning over every move the chosen democrat makes. We had reporters stating aloud they would blow slick Willy (just for keeping abortion legal). How many will offer to wipe Oblama's butt and change his diaper for him? It is just all too hard for me to comprehend. I'll have to expend 100 rounds at the range this afternoon just to relieve the frustration. This country is headed for a world of hurt. Maybe the Islamo-terrorist have it right,.....we are so corrupt, immoral and decadent that we are infecting the rest of the planet and need to be erradicated. We are supposed to be electing the preeminent leader of the free world.....Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Mark Foley, Denny Hastert, John (the weasel) McCain, John Conyers, John Murtha, Barak Oblama, Hillary Clinton????? Heck, these clowns make John Edwards look almost normal. Why not elect James Brown, he's dead and can't make any decisions that will screw up my grand kids future forever? At least we would get real entertainment.

Margaret said...

I don't believe he is even going to make it to his inauguration. =O(

If he does, he should keep the ceremony private and discourage those who are making a pilgramage to DC for the occasion.

For their own safety. There is still too much hate here in America and I fear what is going to happen next.

Atha said...

A brave man for what most of us see a brave move by the US.
Gung ho he doesnt seem to be, but a nation whos reputation is squalid and destroyed by the past muppets have a lot to live upto. I wonder if Americans can do that? Can this 1 man revive national pride like Kennedy? can he survive long enough to make a difference or will there be another Dallas and another LHO character willing to spoil it.Is Joe Biden another Lynden Johnson, planning a 3rd Vietnam (Iran)?
Good luck America, you will need it.

Anonymous said...

After hearing his real inauguration speech today I had to reread your version. You were pretty darn close. Congratulations.

Benjamin Keller said...

The photo from this page was used as the basis for the red, white and blue "HOPE" image that went on to become the most famous symbol of Obama's campaign. No other samples of this photograph have turned up, so it is assumed that the artist got it from here. Where did you get it from?

payrolling freelance said...

Hey, it's a good thing that obama is doing this for the country, I can say that many people voted him to be the next president and he is doing a well job. Payrolling for soldiers is seems to be only beneficial things from his speech.