Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My State of the Union

My Fellow Americans,

January 27th, 2010 is an incredibly exciting time to be alive, and days like today represent all that American has been, all that America is, and all that American can become. Today American's first African-American president will deliver his first State of the Union speech. And, today Steve Jobs and Apple premiered, the iPad.

The nation which John Winthrop, and later Ronald Reagan, described as "a shining city upon a hill" was founded on hope. President Obama was elected on that idea of hope and change. Hopefully, he will offer a vision today of how he is going to change, and how that change will create a better future for all Americans. Steve Jobs has already done that.

Jobs and Apple have changed the game again, creating a niche where there was none. The innovation that is constantly percolating in the mind of Jobs and in the rooms at Apple represents all that is good and distinct about America. America is the land of innovation, and it's where the future happens. And people like Steve Jobs, and companies like Apple, have always done it. They don't need any incentive to create and innovate. They don't need the encouragement or a grant or a handout or a hand-up. They just need the freedom and the opportunity. They don't ask. They just do.

Granted, there is conflict and concern in America. Many would claim our government is a mess and the two factions just can't get along. But think of how awful it's been in the past, and think of how horrible it is in many places around the world and across time. We are in conflict. But we're working it out. We're talking it out. And it's messy. And it takes a long, long time. And it often seems like we're not getting anywhere. But we're still here. The republic survives, and democracy thrives. And the roads are firm and the buildings are sound and the water is safe and the electricity works and men and women stand at post all night long defending our country and our cities and our communities and our homes from threats both near and far, real and imagined, man-made and natural. And they do it for all Americans. And they do it well. And when tragedy strikes in some corner of the world, the world looks to America to help. And we do. We do because we can, and we can like no other country in the history of mankind. And we will continue to do so. Always.

Granted, it is not easy for many of us on a daily basis. People are struggling and disagreeing and blaming and wondering and worrying and complaining. And they have good reason. But in the morning, they are going to get up and get back to it. It might be a job or a job search, but they are going to get after it. Because that's what we do. In the face of adversity, Carl Sandburg reminds us, the people will live on. In the night ... they march: Where to? What Next?

"Next" is what America is all about. It's why the colonists settled here. It's why the people moved west. It's why we went to the moon. It's why we're talking about going to Mars. It's what's next.

And, so, my fellow Americans. The State of the Union is what it has always been. It's a state of potential. And I have great hope for the future. I have great hope because I have great faith in the hearts and minds and strong backs of the American people.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Good night.


Brian Rude said...

Well said, Michael. Amen!

Paul Swendson said...

It's good to read something positive. It's easy to forget that our country and world have been through tougher times, and that a lot of things that we take for granted actually work.