Sunday, September 7, 2008

Conventional Conventions

Democrat. Republican. Both are over now. Lots of rah-rah. Lots of speeches. But did they really say anything? Does any politician ever? Actually, yes they do. And, you don't have to agree with what is being said to recognize a well-framed speech.

After listening to and reading so many uninformative, uninspiring speeches from this season’s political conventions, I went on line and found some from the past. They are worth checking out for yourself: Abraham Lincoln’s “Cooper Union Address” in 1860, William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” in 1896, Hubert Humphrey’s 1948 DNC address on civil rights, Ronald Reagan’s 1964 GOP address “A time for choosing.” *

I wonder how these kinds of speeches would be received today. I bet people would love to have more than platitudes and slogans. We need speeches that state fundamental principles and explain why those principles must be used to guide to our actions. We need more than lofty promises unaccompanied by the practical details of how to achieve them. We need informed leaders who are willing to share their knowledge of the facts and their insights on how the challenges are to be met.

Ideals as guiding principles. Facts and analysis as the platform for practical application.

Maybe they will speek more to the specifics and details during the debates.

One can only hope.

*A few other of my favorites which aren't campaign speeches are Douglas MacArthur's Farewell Address to Congress and Winston Churchill's speech, "The Sinews of Peace." Please leave a comments with your favorites!

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