Friday, January 28, 2011

If I Were President

Here is what I would say.

Thank you for joining me to consider the State of our Union.  Please stay seated and do not offer any applause.

I received a letter in the mail today.  The stamp caught my eye.  It is a lovely illustration of a Ponderosa Pine and the legend reads “USA Forever”.  The Ponderosa Pine stands tall through Washington, Oregon, California and east to the Dakotas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.  It is a rapid growing tree with the ability to firmly anchor into rock and soil.  It has been used for medicine, food, and lumber.  Its thick bark resists fire.  Here’s a shout out to the Postal Service for shinning a spotlight into the majestic canopy.  It is appropriate to celebrate this tree. 

The Ponderosa is uniquely American.  And so are we – I see in this room men and women from all walks of life – each sought the opportunity to choose service to our country.  Each believed the right path lay ahead.  And now together we are challenged to reset our course.

When we ran for office we were confident in the virtue of our campaign – that with our wits and determination we could win our election.  In that way we are just like our constituents who also bring forward their energies and ingenuity in pursuit of the opportunity to build their own future.  Like them, we believe in our own potential.  And like them, we have hopes and fears.  Hopes and fears that color our vision of tomorrow.  In pursuit of opportunity we moderate our fears with action and transcend our hopes with result. 

But stop a minute, and think.  In our own success was another’s failure.  Another who, like us accepted the risk of defeat as the consequence of the chance for victory.   The trial and error cycle of our free society works that way.  In the history of our great nation, examples abound.

Over time, our United States Government has become entangled in the hopes and fears of our people.  We have sought more and more to allay anxiety and fulfill dreams.   We have spoken about our freedoms but forgotten that there are consequences to free choice.  We have constructed a safety net that is in danger of strangling all who fall into it.

We are a rich nation.  We have chosen to allocate a significant percentage of our gross national product to the mesh of our public programs.  We have chosen debt over equity.  Continuing on the present course will cost each of our citizens an even greater percentage of their personal wealth – wealth they otherwise might employ in the trial and error of their own career.  The consequence of our actions is to severely limit the opportunity of individual choice for our generation and all those that follow.

I propose to restore a measure of our lost individual opportunity.  My contribution in that cause will be leadership in a restructuring and reduction in the scope of our government.  I do not propose to abandon those for whom there is no alternative to public support.

USA, forever. And I say, Amen.


1 comment:

  1. I wish I could have been on the floor when you gave this speech. I especially like the way you tied what makes us unique to what makes us vulnerable.