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“Our Long National Nightmare is Over”: Help Me Write the Speech

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Maybe it is this time of winter solstice, bringing as it does the knowledge that the darkness is bottoming out and there are brighter times to come.

Maybe it is the heady flow of the news- the dawning realization by an increasing number of Americans, in response to the disclosures about surveillance, and about torture, and all these other indications of the lawlessness of this presidency, that rulership like this is not to be tolerated in America and that this darkness, too, must be reversed.

Whatever it is, I find myself recalling that famous line delivered more than thirty years ago by a new president of the United States (Gerald Ford)- the only one in American history who was not elected either as president or as vice president, but who came to office as a result of the darkness and corruption of the presidency of that time.

So let us take an imaginary trip into the future- say to May, 2007. Imagine that the president and the vice president have both been driven or removed from office.

Imagine further that the stench and disgrace of this presidency so weakened the ruling party in the 2006 elections, and so burdened those congressional members of that party who remained, that the "Gerald Ford" of our time was chosen according to less political criteria. This is a person who transcends partisan lines, a person chosen because of his/her stature and integrity- the qualities Americans had indicated were necessary to repair the profound damage done to America by the lawless presidency of recent years.

Now the new president is about to make a speech to the nation. The purpose of the speech is to provide the nation -and indeed the world- with a positive vision of America's new direction and character.

Although the critique of the past is implied, the emphasis is not on what America will not be, but rather an affirmative account of the qualities and principles that will define the new leadership.

Nor will the speech be a laundry list of political programs. Rather than focusing on policies, or other matters on which Americans of good will tend to divide, this speech is hoping to bring such Americans together behind a sense of shared values and national purpose.

You have been approached by one of the new president's people and asked: What points would you have the president include in the speech? And, if you're up for plying the speech-writer's craft, how would you suggest the president articulate these points?

This is the speech that Americans who care about the good most want to hear, a speech that America and the world need to hear. Would you help me write it?

Contributions can be posted at http://www.nonesoblind.org/blog/?p=89
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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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