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The Two Americas Should Be Discussed Further

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Nor would the assassination of President Obama resolve this divide, just as the assassinations of President Lincoln, President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, did not resolve this divide in the hearts and minds of earlier Americans.

How can this divide between the two Americas be resolved? I am sorry to say that I have no specific suggestions to offer President Obama about how he might proceed to try to resolve this divide in the hearts and minds of the American people. But I don't think that he should try to ignore it.

Regardless of how he might choose to thematize this divide in the hearts and minds of Americans in his speeches in the future, I would urge him to thematize this divide and to talk about it publicly, perhaps even in his second inaugural address. For understandable reasons, President Lincoln's second inaugural address is not as famous his Gettysburg Address. Nevertheless, President Lincoln's second inaugural address sets a lofty tone that President Obama should also aspire to set in his second inaugural address. For example, he should assure his fellow Americans that he has no malice toward Republican obstructionists in Congress or other Republicans or other Americans who voted against his re-election for whatever reasons.

The divide between the two Americas is not a can that President Obama should just kick down the road, as the Founding Fathers kicked the issue of slavery down the road for a future time. At the very least, President Obama should remind us that our American nation is dedicated to the proposition that all men and women are created equal and that we as a nation still have much work to do to live up to this ideal.

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www.d.umn.edu/~tfarrell
Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)
 

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