A Night Of Speeches
I will confess. Last night, when I saw President Barack Obama enter the chambers of the United States Congress, I had a sense of pride that I don’t often feel. I expected a great deal of applause and a great deal of bipartisanship. But I was overwhelmed by my emotions. I had to fight back tears of relief. It’s been a long time since I could fathom any sense of admiration for the man called POTUS. I had not realized how long it had been.
I watched the address on MSNBC. At the bottom of the television display there was a couple of meters that showed how people were reacting to the speech, one for the people who voted Republican, the other for people who voted for the Democrat in the general election for the President. They wavered up and down a little. But they were very comfortably in the favorable side of things. I watched as Ms. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden looked down at Mr. Obama with an obvious sense of joyous pride plastered across their faces. I watched Michelle Obama look down at her husband with what looked like the most genuine admiration. A look that said, hey honey you did it! His glance back looked as if he was correcting her saying I think you mean we did it!
In the coming days I hope to do a bit more detailed analysis of Mr. Obama’s speech. Right now I have to say that generally speaking I received the speech favorably. If I found anything irritating was the compulsion of people to stand up and clap at anything that sounded favorable. There were a lot of heavenly things to hear but the devil is in the implementation of the details. There are a lot of people who clapped for the President with scowls on their faces and contempt in each smack of the hands as if it took every ounce of their strength to stand their and applaud.
After Mr. Obama gave his address, he was eventually followed by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who many see as the number one contender for the Republican Party’s return to residency in the White House.
Mr. Jindal’s speech sounded like a campaign for political office where he talked about his personal history. He told the story of how his father had to work any job he could find to support his family when the future Governor was born. It was a great story of how personal perseverance can overcome certain obstacles. If the Republican Party is known for any single philosophy it is the belief that hard work can do anything. In fact, Mr. Jindal’s theme for the Republican Party’s response to Mr. Obama’s speech could be summed up as Americans can do anything.
Mr. Jindal went on and eventually got to another story about the efforts of Sheriff Harry Lee who was trying to get help to the people of Jefferson parish in the hours and days after hurricane Katrina. Mr. Lee had assembled volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped by the floodwaters. The boats were ready to go into the maelstrom, but some bureaucrat showed up and told the sheriff that no one could go out unless they had proof of insurance and registration. The sheriff told the boaters to ignore the bureaucrats and go start rescuing people.
Mr. Jindal went on to explain his lesson in this experience. He went on to say that the strength of America is not found in our government but in the hearts and spirit of our citizens. It was this spirit that got Louisiana through the hurricanes and this spirit will get our nation through the storms we face today.
The irony of Mr. Jindal’s example would have been funny it if wasn’t so serious. Mr. Jindal wants to use the story of a sheriff doing what he could to get help to people despite the best efforts of bureaucrats to stick to rules and procedure instead of helping people. It bears a stark resemblance to the stimulus package where Republicans want to stop an effort to help jump start the economy until we have the best plan available. Mr. Jindal and the rest of the Republicans look remarkably like bureaucrats while Mr. Obama looks like a frustrated sheriff.
It was our Republican Party led government that had no problem stepping up to the plate to create an operating environment with more benefits to corporate America. When Americans were paying four dollars a gallon for gasoline, petrochemicals were earning a billion dollars a week thanks to the energy policies of a government led by two oil men. And when banks and financial institutions started to bite the dust it was a Republican led government that moved with relative lightening speed to shore up these companies coffers enough to allow them to keep the promise made to executives and handout billions of dollars in retention incentives, also known as bonuses.
Mr. Jindal continued to say that the Republicans went along with earmarks and big government spending in Washington. Went along with whom? It was the Republicans who controlled America’s purse strings with a complete government trifecta that included control of the oval office, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. Now that the average American needs help, Mr. Jindal thinks it’s prudent to say enough is enough.
As Mr. Jindal said Americans can do anything. I’d have to agree. This country can do anything when we put our collective mind to it. But instead of putting our collective mind into something that benefits the entire community, our focus is to put our minds to something that will generate profit for a few while the larger segment of the whole continues to do without.
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