The SOTU first draft
In response to the On Leadership question: Write a memorable passage of Obama's State of the Union address that would allow the president to get his leadership mojo back.
"A year ago, our nation, fueled by a commitment to change, inspired by the possibilities in confronting our vast challenges, and dedicated to reviving fundamental American values, embarked on the journey of a generation. (Mention previous eight years, skillfully point out that none of the current problems are actually my fault). To rebuild the American dream, to create a legacy equal to those of our country's audacious forefathers. To usher in an era that, in future decades, will be looked on by our children as a moment when we answered our country's call to service. (If possible, expand with more fancy, soaring language).
And now, we have a choice. A choice that will define our generation; a choice that has implications not just for us and for myself, but for the future of our country. Let me be clear: our nation faces a sobering reality. (Insert depressing statistics about unprecedented unemployment, tales of unparalleled global threats, and anecdotes about extraordinary citizen dissatisfaction). Americans now have little faith in even our most hallowed and foundational institutions.
Yet we cannot allow these problems to define our era, to determine our destiny. Instead, we will let our solutions to these obstacles be the authors of our history. Indeed, what is our storied history of liberty, freedom and justice without its ever-present companion: perseverance. (Highlight resilience of American spirit. Sprinkle in civil rights/suffrage/Great Depression clichés for added effect). Our history shows us that our resilience, coupled with our ideals, makes this nation like no other in the history of the world.
But make no mistake: Our achievements will not be measured in moments, or sound bites, or campaign timelines. (Begin vague description of ubiquitous naysayers.) Do not be dissuaded by those that say change hasn't come fast enough; it is trickling into towns across America. Do not be discouraged by those that say hope is merely a campaign promise; it lives in the hearts of millions of Americans. Do not be deflated by those that tell you our country isn't progressing; the seeds for change have been planted and we must work diligently to ensure that we cultivate them. (Add bold claim about America's continued global supremacy).
The work is hard, and at times daunting, but history tells us that we as Americans have only one choice now: to push, to fight, and to carry through the changes we need. Our destiny will be determined by (conclude with trusty allusion to the power of cherished, albeit ambiguous, American values)." -- Lanre Akinsiku
To the seventh generation
"The Iroquois had a philosophy that every deliberation they made had to consider the impact on the seventh generation. My fellow Americans, if this is true, our decisions as a society have made it so our ancestors seven generations from now look forward to inheriting the dust and ash that covers all failed civilizations.
Currently in our country, 50 percent of high school students in major cities drop out. Nearly 50 million Americans have no health insurance. And the Supreme Court has decided recently to reform corporate campaign financing to a degree that it stands to shake the very system of our democracy that has stood for over two centuries. As a country, we have not even ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child to Play. Many of our children stand to be deprived of their health, their education, their joy, and even their democracy.
When I took office a year ago, I had campaigned on a platform of hope. Today the challenges that stand before us are greater than ever. In order for us to move forward and forge something that our children, and our ancestors can be proud of. We as a country must all unite as true leaders. We must be willing to take the action against our fears when making these tough changes. Faith is the opposite of doubt, and until we believe that we can become better as a society, we will only let our doubts consume us. As Americans, we must press into the resistance until it bleeds life. -- Jimmy Duong
Change will come but progress is here
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Vice President Biden, members of Congress and the American people. Last November of 2008, you and the American people elected me as the president of the United States. You elected me with the hopes and aspirations of change in America. You elected me because you desired progress and a brighter future for America. Today, I am here to tell you that we are advancing those promises. Let me be clear, we have not arrived yet and it hasn't been easy but change is coming and progress is here.
As I made clear in the beginning of my presidency, the future of America depends on you, all of us. We are here to work together for the future we will inherit together. I am not giving up and I am calling on you to do the same. Don't give up. We have a long road ahead of us, with a lot of promise, hope and hard decisions. But together we will walk it and make those decisions. If there is any doubt in your mind that change will come, let me be the first to dispel that fear. I have worked with the American families, the Senate, the House, Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals alike to ensure the success of our future.
We have successfully withdrawn troops from Iraq and will continue to do so. We are appropriately engaged in ensuring American safety by placing troops in Afghanistan and we are negotiating with countries around the world to repair broken relationships and promote a free democratic society. Together, we have brought more jobs to families, ended a terrible and arduous recession, and stabilized the economy. And together we will continue to make changes, changes that are not temporary but changes for the future of the American people and families that are lasting. Change will come and progress is here.
So tonight, I ask you again, will you walk with me? Don't give up because the battle is tough and the road is long. Now is the time, more than ever, to get up and fight for the America we all desire to see. Now is the time for change and together we will achieve it. Thank you. -- Ashley Nesby
[...] We are at a historic crossroads where our people must continue assessing adversities that have come our way and work together to arrive to workable solutions.
Most recently, our people saw the calling towards assisting the efforts in Haiti, and across the private and public sector; we have risen to the calling. Individuals poured out tens of millions of dollars in assistance drives, and even others volunteered their time to ensure the health and safety of the island nation. The Haitian people have welcomed us with open arms, and often cheered our involvement. Our great nation has worked together to provide a safer global community.
But make no mistake- there is still plenty of work to be done. In no way are the relief efforts complete in Haiti abroad, and in no way are much of the problems we face on our home soil complete either. We continue to face challenges that are placed in our way, and with the can-do spirit of the American people I am certain we can and will succeed. Our ancestors came to this great nation to be given the opportunity of hard work provides; opportunities to help others, opportunities to help themselves, opportunities to make the United States of America a better place for the future.
We must work hard, as now more than ever, our work will yield great results for this great nation. As we embark on a journey of recovery from our past, we must look to the future and come together to overcome these challenges. Our great nation was built on the ability to overcome challenges and this will be no different. -- Parsa Sobhani
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