A Campaign Speech for Barak Obama (or anyone who is interested)
For we are turning a corner. In less than two years we will be able to jettison, like bilge water from our ship of state, the failed policies and mean-spirited outlook of the present administration. We must make the most of our opportunity.
We must respect and acknowledge the worth and dignity of all our fellow citizens. We must strive together to achieve the greatest good for all and unconstrained justice for each.
Under my administration, we will pay more attention to the ways we work with one another, and less attention to the way we live our private lives. We will not set one group against another; we will not allow one group to bully another into living their private lives according to someone’s dogmatic dictates.
I promise intelligence instead of the simplistic and ham-handed approach of the present administration. I promise unity and inclusiveness, instead of the divisive policies of the past six years.
Every citizen must pull his or her own weight, and in return every citizen must have a fair share of the rewards.
Our capitalist system is a great producer of wealth, and we should all be grateful for it, but by itself it does nothing to distribute wealth fairly. We see individuals working equally hard, though some receive substantially greater rewards; this is largely because of luck – the luck of their birth and upbringing, or the luck of finding themselves in the right circumstances or the right market, or the luck of simply getting a break.
But luck is not moral entitlement.
Life is not fair, as we are often told; that does not mean that we should be content to let unfairness be the rule; rather, our obligation is to make life as nearly fair as we possibly can.
The proper role of government is to reduce the inequities of the economic system, and the primary means for doing so is progressive taxation. My administration will restore this principle, by rescinding the unnecessary and unfair tax cuts for the wealthy and by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit.
And we will also work to insure that all citizens – and their children in particular – have adequate health care. For playing Russian Roulette with our health is the greatest threat to opportunity and well being.
At the same time, we will stand up for fiscal responsibility. As a first step we will separate Social Security and Medicare accounts from the general budget, because these are two different problems with two different kinds of solutions, and lumping them together only allows us to evade the solution to each.
I will resist all efforts to privatize Social Security, not only because of the risk but also because – this is the dirty little secret of the privatization approach – such plans destroy the progressivity that is now a feature of Social Security.
Another important common concern – becoming more important every day – is our environment. Global warming is a reality, and whatever disputes there may be about particular issues, we must take it seriously. Also, we must reduce our dependence on Mid-East governments, as well as face the fact that the world’s supply of oil will run out some day. Therefore I will not only make strenuous efforts to develop alternative energy sources but will also reduce gasoline consumption by re-instituting mileage standards – the so-called CAFE standards -- that auto makers must meet.
I will also move to re-establish nuclear power as a clean energy source that can do more than any other to reduce our need for fossil fuels. In developing nuclear energy we will learn from past mistakes and we will make safety our first concern.
While zealously pursuing the good for all and justice for each, my administration will reverse the previous administration’s assault on our private lives. There is no justification for the government regulating our intimate relationships.
But what about abortion rights? This is a contentious issue, as we all know. So let me assure you: My administration will never – repeat, never – force or induce any individual to have an abortion! Let us be thankful that we do not follow the example of Communist China, where abortions are sometimes forced on women who are having too many children. Unlike Communist China, we do not believe that the government should interfere in personal matters such as the bearing of children, and my administration will do its best to see that those decisions, including the decision whether or not to have an abortion, are left to the individual.
To those who protest that abortion is murder, who claim that the embryo is a person, I point out that their view is based neither on science nor on common sense. It is a religious viewpoint, and as such must never be allowed to influence public policy.
In foreign policy above all we need to wipe away the stains of the previous administration. We need to recognize first of all that we are part of the family of nations. We may not like some of the members of our family, but they are not going away, so the question is how to deal with them. And here we need a more intelligent approach than we have seen during these past six years. We must not base our estimates on ideological preconceptions, and we must not base our evaluations on Sunday-School moralism.
We must cooperate with the international community, and that basically means the United Nations. We recognize that the United Nations has deep flaws, but the proper course is to remedy those flaws, not to use them as an excuse to run away.
We need to recognize the complexity that inheres in almost every nation and almost every situation. We need to use diplomacy to the greatest degree possible; we need to form alliances to further our aims; we need to apply pressure where it will have an effect. Let us remain committed to our ideals, but let us also scrutinize our adherence to these ideals. Let us sincerely recognize the interests, the commitments, and the traditions of other nations.
In such ways we can modestly and carefully sculpt the world in accordance with our vision of what the world ought to be.
As for our biggest current problem – the Iraq War – I have no good answer, because good answers don’t exist; we can thank our current president for that.
What, then, can we do about this horrid quagmire? Well, just blunder along. Make sure that the “surge” doesn’t become an indefinite escalation, as it promises to do. And diplomatically, there are two things: first, work with Iraq’s neighbors to bring stability to the country, and second, serve as an honest broker upholding peaceful relations between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, which has become to all intents and purposes an independent nation.
In the past decades, our nation has seen the New Deal, the Fair Deal, and a number of raw deals. What I propose to you is the YOU deal. I propose that you deal your own hand on behalf of yourselves, your community and your nation. I want to see a country in which all individuals better themselves through education and hard work, better their communities through civic involvement, and better their nation through awareness and political action.
The government’s role is to insure that everyone has an equal opportunity to make a difference --- to see that those in the Inner Cities and those in the Inner Circles have equal opportunities to realize their potentialities to the fullest.
Together, we fellow citizens, acting in public and in private, can bring our republic to the greatness it was meant to achieve. I thank you.