Great speeches sink into our souls and linger in our bones. The best writers and orators know how to move our emotions into actions. They convict, inspire, and drive us to move.
Most of the speeches I hear to day are mere rhetoric; empty shells of hollow words meant to anger our enemies, pacify our critics, and satisfy our friends. This is a low bar to reach and a boring one.
The political speech I want to hear invites (healthy) conflict and dialogue. The political speech I want to hear challenges me to think more deeply, to love more courageously, and to admit I don’t know. The political speech I want to hear goes something like this:
Not long ago, a motley band of misfits set out in hopes of creating a new life for themselves. They faced persecution and made the courageous decision to flee. We still see their faces around the world today.
They embraced uncertainty and risked their lives for their children’s children’s children. We are those children. We stand on the shoulders of unnamed giants lost to the anonymity of history. Though their names are forgotten, their bodies long decayed, their sacrifices live on in our blood.
These misfits disagreed on much, but they were united in their quest for something greater than themselves. They were united in their quest for something greater than the world had ever seen.
In the journey for survival, greatness was born. It was forged in battle and nurtured in heartache. Good men died fighting for dreams never realized. Families were torn apart in a war against ourselves and we were faced, once again, with the thought of “will we survive?”
In our darkest times, we forgot that all men are created equal. We denied the humanity of our people and we paid the price; a price we still pay today.
We will not be able to make amends this side of heaven, for what justice can their be for enslavement, rape and murder? Still, we remember and we will fight to right the wrongs we face today – imprisonment, education, rape, and murder.
When we think of the Hassan’s and the Abboud’s and fear rises in our bones, we remember when it was the O’Kelly’s and O’hare’s we feared. We will not confuse peace and harmony with safety and security. To be a refuge, we must accept the refugee.
We will fight; fight to protect our borders and the values dear to us. We remember those who have died to protect these values of freedom, speech, and religion. We will fight the lie that the danger is only outside of us.
We will fight the evil that harms women and children. We will fight the wicked who seek harm and not prosperity; those who use women and children as shields and objects of war. We will take the fight to them so they cannot bring it to us.
We will hold seemingly opposing ideas together and fight for unity, though the force of these oppositions will threaten to break us apart. We will love the refugee and hate the perpetrator who made them flee. We will love women, all women, and stand for their right for life; be they Syrian, elderly, or unborn.
We will disagree with our neighbors and defend their rights to believe it. We will fight to protect those who disagree with us because freedom is greater than homogeneity.
To the villains who use violence to threaten or intimidate others, your time is up – be it in nightclubs, churches, mosques, or abortion clinics; we will not rest until we see justice. We will uphold the values of justice and mercy even when the force of them together threatens to rip us apart.
We, the people, of the United States will stand united in the face of tyranny and oppression; whether they come from within or outside. We have hope because we find our courage runs deeper than our fear.