June 24, 2006

Had Enough?

A recent speech by Barack Obama is well worth the read.

Here is some of what he had to say:

You know, you probably never thought you'd hear this at a Take Back America conference, but Newt Gingrich made a great point a few weeks ago. He was talking about what an awful job his own party has done governing this country, and he said that with all the mistakes and misjudgments the Republicans have made over the last six years, the slogan for the Democrats should come down to just two words:

"Had enough?"

I don't know about you, but I think old Newt is onto something here. Because I think we've all had enough. Enough of the broken promises. Enoughof the failed leadership. Enough of the can't-do, won't-do, won't-even-try style of governance.

Four years after 9/11, I've had enough of being told that we can find the money to give Paris Hilton more tax cuts, but we can't find enough to protect our ports or our railroads or our chemical plants or our borders.

I've had enough of the closed-door deals that give billions to the HMOs when we're told that we can't do a thing for the 45 million uninsured or the millions more who can't pay their medical bills.

I've had enough of being told that we can't afford body armor for our troops and health care for our veterans and benefits for the wounded heroes who've risked their lives for this country. I've had enough of that.

I've had enough of giving billions away to the oil companies when we're told that we can't invest in the renewable energy that will create jobs and lower gas prices and finally free us from our dependence on the oil wells of Saudi Arabia.

I've had enough of our kids going to schools where the rats outnumber the computers. I've had enough of Katrina survivors living out of their cars and begging FEMA for trailers. And I've had enough of being told that all we can do about this is sit and wait and hope that the good fortune of a few trickles on down to everyone else in this country.

You know, we all remember that George Bush said in 2000 campaign that he was against nation-building. We just didn't know he was talking about this one.

...I don't think that George Bush is a bad man. I think he loves his country. I don't think this administration is full of stupid people - I think there are a lot of smart folks in there. The problem isn't that their philosophy isn't working the way it's supposed to - it's that it is. It's that it's doing exactly what it's supposed to do.

The reason they don't believe government has a role in solving national problems is because they think government is the problem. That we're better off if we dismantle it - if we divvy it up into individual tax breaks, hand 'em out, and encourage everyone to go buy your own health care, your own retirement security, your own child care, their own schools, your own private security force, your own roads, their own levees...

It's called the Ownership Society in Washington. But in our past there has been another term for it - Social Darwinism - every man or women for him or herself. It allows us to say to those whose health care or tuition may rise faster than they can afford - life isn't fair. It allows us to say to the child who didn't have the foresight to choose the right parents or be born in the right suburb - pick yourself up by your bootstraps. It lets us say to the guy who worked twenty or thirty years in the factory and then watched his plant move out to Mexico or China - we're sorry, but you're on your own.

It's a bracing idea. It's a tempting idea. And it's the easiest thing in the world. But there's just one problem. It doesn't work.

[Thanks to PJB for the link]


Dicky Neely said...

Now that's some straight talk for a change from a politician. Nothing hard to understand here and not a malicious back-stab or character assasination, as practiced by the Repbulican leadership, but straight, logical expression of undeniable truth!

rc/vt said...

"Had Enough? Vote Democratic" is the phrase that a lot of people are writing on their paper money (any denomination). Free advertising; lots of fun to watch expressions as people see these; great to think that the idea is being carried along by many willing (and oblivious) participants.

thepoetryman said...

Waht a sobering and beautiful speech by a man i like to call hope...

Nice post!

Gary said...


Great speech.

This is my first visit to your page, and I will most definitely be back!

Keep it up.

In fact, I am going to go and link this on my page right now!

Progressive Traditionalist said...

I have seen a lot of criticism concerning this speech in blogs and from commenters, and the main points of contention fall into 2 categories:
1). That Obama plays right into Republican talking points, giving them gerater street cred (the Lieberman effect); and
2). That Obama constructs a rhetorical straw man in the very concept that secular liberals might not be so tolerant of people of faith.

As for No. 1, isn't insisting that Democrats frame the debate around the Repub talking points playing into the Repub talking point that Dems don't stand for anything? Of what vale is this hyper-sensitivity?
As for No. 2, I believe terms in use such as "book of fables" to refer to scripture, "superstitious" and "ignorant" to refer to people of faith, and the inherent condescension in the term "reality-based community" to refer to those of an atheist/agnostic bent, tend to show a bit of intolerance on the part of the secularists.

Now, I'm not particularly religious, and I find the state of organized religion in America to be quite horrifying, but I'm not about to talk down the religiously inclined on the basis of their faith. How people put into practice the articles of their faith might be a major point of contention, but not the faith itself.

You see, I remember the Dems of the late 80's, when secular humanism dominated much of the political debate. And I was fed up with the Dems, and was quite happy to see them fall out of power. And were we to come to that point again, they would be fully deserving of the same fate.

I find the religious progressive to be more open and accepting than the secular progressives. Not that there's not a lot of intolerance from the religiously inclined, but this tends to come from the conservatives rather than from the left.

One thing I have noticed from religious progressives that I take particular exception to is the concept that religion is the basis of morality. Simply not true. This shows otherwise.