Speeches which start MY FELLOW AMERICANS

Baruch writes: “My fellow Americans, these are tough times. We all know it, we all feel it, we are all affected. It is in times like these that we need to pull together, each doing our best to live up to the ideals this country was founded on. To that end I am asking Congress to immediately implement a number of measures in order to raise revenues and lift our country out of the mire of debt and unemployment, and in order to protect the natural environment. I propose a new tax on all incomes over $250,000 a year. This tax will be progressive, so that the more a person made the higher the percentage of that income will be paid in taxes. I know that the idea of new taxes is onerous to many but right now we need to do what’s best for the most. The good of the many outweighs the good of the few. This tax will not impoverish anyone, it will only be levied on those who already have more than they need to get by. Likewise corporations with over 100 employees will also see their taxes raised, and loopholes that have allowed multinational corporations to evade paying taxes must immediately be closed. We estimate that these measures will raise over $1 trillion in the next 10 years. A portion of that money is to be set aside for retooling factories for the manufacture of solar panels, windmills, and other green technologies. This will create jobs, lower our carbon footprint as a nation, and help us get on the right track with regards to global warming. These are just a few parts of the plan I will be presenting to Congress this week. When the new Congress convenes in January I will call upon each and every member to put aside their personal feelings and to work for the good of the nation. I ask you to let your congressional representatives and senators know what you want them to do, whether you want them to focus on their election campaign fund raising or to do the work of governance. I am also asking Congress to support an immediate drawdown in troop deployments abroad. My goal is to start closing US bases around the world, and to recall our forces. This will save over $5 billion per week! Last but not least I have set up a task force whose job it will be to collect ideas from you, the American people. No idea is too small for us to consider. What are your ideas for deficit reduction, for environmental protection, for economic recovery?
Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”

William:
I dont mean to be cruel or disrespectful but every time I hear someone like McCain say “My friends” (hey he is not my friend, I am a total stranger) or “My fellow Americans” (that is outmoded political rhetoric… I could understand fellow human beings but then that is a given which is understood and if someone feels the need to say it then there is no point in saying it) … every time I hear such overused trite phrases I feel discouraged. I yes all of us live in the same country by the fact that we were born on American soil rather than Canadian or Mexican. That we have any sort of “fellowship” I seriously question. I know that our motto E Pluribus Unum means “from the many one” but I don’t see the unity anyplace. Jesus prayed in the garden of Gesthemene “Father all those whom you have given me, MAY THEY BE ONE, even as you and I are one” and I never saw that religious unity take place either. This is my reaction to your initial phrase “My fellow Americans.” I shall now study the rest of your speech which I am certain has much merit. As a matter of fact, whenever I have occasion to speak to someone from certain cultures (e.g. Pakistan) their habit of speech is to say “My friend…” and then proceed to tell me why they disagree with me and everything I stand for. So whenever I hear someone start off saying “my friend” I automatically know not to see them as a friend because friendship is demonstrated by actions and needs no lip service. I shall now study the rest of your speech. Besides which, there are probably some illegal aliens in the audience and the speech is playing to nations around the world, both friend and foe, so “my fellow Americans” seems like a foolish way to start out.

Everything else in the speech looks great. Sorry to be a curmudgeon but if you wore a top hat and did a photo op kissing babies I would say that is somewhat dated. I think “My friends” and “My fellow Americans” is also dated. I do not see the world as a place where friendship and fellowship exist. I hear a lot of lip service paid to those words, but I do not see the capacity present in most people to actualize what those words friendship, fellowship and unity are supposed to represent. I suppose I should also add that I see nationalism as something outmoded and contrary to human wellbeing because what the world and the human species need is internationalism and world law, world government, world trade, world economy and not factionalism and saber rattling jingoism but I cannot see how this will ever be possible given the shortcomings of human nature and selfishness.

I understand and accept your reason for using stock in trade phrases. I just feel it is important now and then to openly state certain things that I see as obvious. Everything else in your speech makes a lot of sense to me. Your ideas sound promising. It is simply that I have lost all faith in and hope for the human race but that is my problem and not yours.

Actually, Baruch, I must praise you highly for actually coming up with the speech you would like to hear from Pres. Obama. So many times people just criticize and I want to say to them “Well, don’t just criticize everything but rather tell me how YOU would approach these problems.” So, more people should be like you Baruch. I respect that kind of positive approach rather than all the negative criticisms.

My entire human experience has been one of betrayal and disappointment. I no longer expect anything from God if there is a God, or society, or my fellow creatures. I certainly do not see anything in the phrase “my fellow Americans” except hypocrisy and self-delusion. I see no fellowship but only division. I am definitely American but I am not certain what that means beyond place of birth and citizenship. I just object to being called “fellow” or “friend.”

I am reminded of http://bible.cc/jeremiah/13-23.htm Jeremiah 13:23 “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” I was born a Caucasian of European ancestry so I cannot change the color of my skin or my ancestry. I was born an American so I cannot change my nationality or my citizenship. I am not proud to be white because I know what my race has done in history and I know what Europeans have done in history. America has done some good things in its history. I wonder if it is too little and too late. I do not particularly like Martin Luther of the Reformation or agree with him, but I can relate to what he said at the cathedral door when he said “Here I stand. I can do no other.” So in the same fashion, at the end of my life, I simply stand here and say only those things that I can feel comfortable saying. I cannot say something different or keep silent simply because it would be more politically correct or because someone is not comfortable hearing how I see things. I realize that America was a superpower for a century. I suspect it is on its way down. Many people in the world dislike America and I think I can understand why. No nation lasts forever. I doubt if any nation even lasts 1000 years.

Large portions of America claim that America is founded as a “Christian Bible based” nation. Christianity sees pride as the original sin, the sin of Satan’s pride which caused him to be cast out of heaven, and the source of all other sins. It is the meek who shall inherit the earth and the peace makers who are blessed.. Yet Americans love to use the word pride. Does anyone sense any irony or conflict in this?

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