I just sat down this morning and listened to the State of the Union Address by our President for the second time. Then I read different passages of the speech. If you fish around you can find them on the Internet. As usual, when I listen to President Obama, I found myself talking back to the TV set, sometimes with what might be considered disrespect. For over a half a century I have had a love affair with the spoken word. I love great speaking. Great oratory moves me. When I listened to this speech for the first time I found myself in agreement so many times and as the President spoke about the America that could be I was truly, deeply moved with hope. Later as I listened to some of the commentators and the political pundits I wondered if they heard any of that speech. Then for a moment I stood back and played that old game of “What if?” What if it were a President John McCain giving that talk? Or what if it might be, just a heartbeat away, a former Vice President, but newly sworn in Sarah Palin giving that speech? And where would this Nation be now?
I came away from Obama’s speech feeling that he truly loves America. I believe that he realizes that America is in deep, deep financial trouble and that unless we can bring America together right now as one nation then the America that we love might go never be again. I challenge you as readers to listen to the State of the Union Address one more time, examine the text.
Here is just one excerpt that I pulled.
“We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools, changing the way we use energy, reducing our deficit — none of this will be easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The costs. The details. The letter of every law.
Of course, some countries don’t have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they build a railroad, no matter how many homes get bulldozed. If they don’t want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written.
And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth. (Applause.)
We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything is possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.
That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working-class kid from Scranton can sit behind me. (Laughter and applause.) That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
I guess my point is that, as American’s we do not have to always agree, but for the future of America we must get together and do what is necessary and what is good for the future of America.