Here’s the speech I wrote for the next State of the Union address. I believe this needs to be said right now or else we may not make it to January.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
My fellow Americans, these words are the foundation of our republic and as such serve as the guiding principles of our continuing success as a nation. Tonight we will take a much closer look at these words in comparison to the current State of our Union.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal… this beginning to the Declaration of Independence was the most revolutionary idea ever expressed in the history of the world. It was an unequivocal rejection of royalty and government by a king. It was essentially a call to war with the British Empire and a death sentence to those who signed it. We hold these truths to be self-evident… means we pronounce these words as inherently true. We’re not asking for popular opinion to accept this statement because we’re saying it is true no matter who agrees with us. That all men are created equal… means just that and therefore all men have the same expectations that their rights are equal as well. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness… are the unalienable or absolute rights needed to make each person’s life worth living. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed… which means that government is charged with the task of maintaining the rights of those who consented to their power as representatives of the people. Our government only exists because the people of this country consciously agreed to accept a representative democracy as the form of government best equipped to maintain our inherent rights as individuals. Anything that endangers the future of our democracy is to be dealt with effectively by our elected representatives or else we can discharge them from their duties and place that responsibility with someone else we choose. That’s the beauty of our republic. We all have a stake in our future and we all need to participate.
Now let’s look at the Constitution. We the People of the United States in order to form a more perfect Union… these words formed the Union by establishing an agreement among all Americans that our rights as individuals were best protected by collective consent. They didn’t expect perfection just something more perfect than what they had, which was just tyranny. Establish justice… is a clear acceptance of the rule of law and the end of despotism. Insure domestic tranquility… means we should expect our rights as individuals to be insured in such a way that we could pursue happiness in any way we wanted. Provide for the common defense…is obviously an acknowledgement that evil exists in the world and it is incumbent upon all of us to defend our rights against enemies who would seek to destroy our way of life. Promote the general welfare… is the core function of government and it includes all public works such as roads and utilities that provide the means for individuals to achieve their goals. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity… means we have an obligation to future generations to pass on these same rights and responsibilities no matter what the cost. Do ordain and establish this Constitution… means we proclaim this Constitution to be sacred to our way of life and we will devote ourselves to following these rules of governance as established by our forefathers.
These are the most courageous words ever written by humans and they changed the entire world forever after. No longer was mankind going to be enslaved by tyrants and real, tangible freedom was going to be given a chance to flourish. The result was a dramatic wave of democracy that swept across the world, over the next two centuries. Freedom was the spark that mankind needed to burn down the prison of tyranny that had been so pervasive for all of human history. Every opportunity we have today is the result of the sacrifices made by our founders. We owe them a debt of gratitude and we honor them by making equal sacrifices today. Our democracy is always going to be a work in progress that requires discipline, sacrifice and courage to maintain our freedom.
Which brings me to the State of our Union today. We are struggling right now. We are questioning our beliefs and our faith in each other and our shared commitment to the common good. We have become less of a nation with common values and more like tribes with narrow definitions of what democracy means to us. This is not the right path. This path leads to the end of freedom for all and the beginning of anarchy which will inevitably lead to more tyranny. Our unifying principles have to come before our individual desires or else we will lose both. Tyrants don’t care about rights. The collective will of the people is all that stands in the way of defeat. We can choose to help each other and accept our differences or we can devolve into fractions of humanity who only care about those who share their narrowest beliefs. Our freedom to choose will only exist as long as we first choose to sacrifice our smallest wants in favor of our greatest needs. Government of the people, by the people and for the people is essential to every basic human right but none of those rights is secure unless we share the burden of democracy by working together and finding the middle ground of the common good where we can all find acceptance as individuals. We are greater than the sum of our parts when we work together.
I believe in the American dream. The possibilities to achieve more for all of us are endless if we resolve to put our country first. We are all free because we chose the burden of freedom over the complacency of tyranny. The burden is heavy but the work is light when all of us carry the weight equally. When we go out into the world each day and we seek out ways to help each other, we will experience all the joys of freedom and tyranny will find no place to grow in America. We can do this my friends and we will because America means that much to us and freedom is worth any price. Tonight I leave you with these words from President Kennedy, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or evil, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of freedom.”
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