"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

What We're Losing

Via C&L, President Obama's speech to the troops at MacDill Air Force Base -- his "final words" as Commander-in-Chief. Here's the meat:

So let my final words to you, as your Commander-in-Chief, be a reminder of what it is that you are fighting for, what it is that we are fighting for. The United States of America is not a country that imposes religious tests as a price for freedom. We’re a country that was founded so that people could practice their faiths as they choose. The United States of America is not a place where some citizens have to withstand greater scrutiny, or carry a special I.D. Card, or prove that they are not an enemy from within. We are a country that has bled and struggled and sacrificed against that kind of discrimination and arbitrary rule, here in our own country and around the world.

We’re a nation that believes freedom can never be taken for granted, and that each of us has a responsibility to sustain it. The universal right to speak your mind and to protest against authority. To live in a society that’s open and free. That can criticize our president without retribution. A country where you’re judged by the content of your character, rather than what you look like, or how you worship, or what your last name is, or where your family came from. That’s what separates us from tyrants and terrorists.

We are a nation that stands for the rule of law, and strengthened the laws of war. When the Nazis were defeated, we put them on trial. Some couldn’t understand that. It had never happened before. But as one of the American lawyers who was at Nuremberg said, “I was trying to prove that the rule of law should govern human behavior,” and by doing so, we broadened the scope and reach of justice around the world. Held ourselves out as a beacon and an example for others.

We are a nation that won world wars without grabbing the resources of those we defeated. We helped them rebuild. We didn’t hold on to territory, other than the cemeteries where we buried our dead. Our greatest generation fought and bled and died to build an international order of laws and institutions that could preserve the peace, and extend prosperity and promote cooperation among nations. And for all of its imperfections, we depend on that international order to protect our own freedom.

In other words, we are a nation that, at our best, has been defined by hope and not fear. A country that went through the crucible of a civil war to offer a new birth of freedom, that stormed the beaches of Normandy, climbed the hills of Iwo Jima, that saw normal people mobilize to extend the freedom of civil rights. That’s what makes us who we are. It makes us stronger than any act of terror.

Remember that history. Remember what that flag stands for. For we depend on you. The heirs to that legacy. Our men and women in uniform, and the citizens who support you, to carry forward what is best in us, that commitment to a common creed, the confidence that right makes might, not the other way around.

I didn't agree with him sometimes on specifics, and I felt he was too willing to negotiate with Republicans, who don't have the word "compromise" in their vocabulary. But he's a class act. Pity all we have to follow that with is a fraud.

No comments: