My State of the Union Speech

So tonight the president made his state of the union speech, this morning I had a vision of what I might do in the same situation, it would go a little something like this.  The first thing I would do as I approached the podium would be to turn off the teleprompter, then:

Hell o everyone,

The reason I turned off the teleprompter is because although there was a very nice speech written for me tonight, a speech full of the normal platitudes of office, nice things to say about each party, bold statements about what we’ll do this year, lots of mentions about how amazing our country is, in fact that speech is a bunch of bullshit.  Why?  Well mostly because none of you in our government actually give a shit about the American people.  Let’s face it, you all have one allegiance and that is to the re-election party.  The only Americans that you care about are the ones who can finance your campaigns or get you re-elected.

You have become caricatures of yourselves, pandering puppets to the most extreme wings of your parties because those elements are the ones that can get you past your primary elections.  Of course to do that you have to spout positions that appeal to no one but your base, this is a center-right country on most issues but you pretend that it is alternately a bastion of liberal morals, or a den of conservative closed mindedness.   You, all of you, who so consistently condemn Islamic extremists have become conservative or liberal extremists.

There is a lot of good with our country; in general people are good and kind, even if they don’t always want to think very deeply or very much.  The United States does a lot of good in this world, we support countries that are less fortunate than we are, we try to create peace and support democracy which as self-centered as that is seems to be a good thing.

But we are self-centered and much of what we do, regardless of what we say is in our own self-interest, you see, we are a narcissistic nation.  We believe we are better than everyone else; we have a great term for it, American Exceptionalism.  We believe that our form of government, our religion, our values, the way we see the world is right and unless you believe what we believe you are inherently wrong or evil.

We are not a peaceful nation, but we are not warlike either, not usually.  But recently Islamic extremists violated all that we hold sacred; they had the audacity to kill Americans in America.  We used the deaths of those nearly 3000 people to drive us to war in Afghanistan, we decided to drive out the Taliban, remove them from power and kill them because they gave shelter to our enemy.  Then Saddam Hussein outsmarted our president, no major achievement there, but he also outsmarted all of our so-called intelligence agencies as well.  So we decided to go to war in Iraq as well.  We avenged the deaths of Americans by driving the Taliban out of power, killing a lot of them, and a lot of innocents as well.  We got our former ally Saddam Hussein executed and killed a lot of Iraqis, a lot of terrorists, jihadists and children as well.  In the end we’ve changed nothing permanently in Afghanistan, no invading force ever has.  We’ve changed Iraq, maybe for the better and maybe we’ve unified Iraq and Iran in a way they never could have been before.  We killed Osama Bin Laden and have seriously disrupted Al Qaeda everywhere we could find them, no matter what their nationality including American citizens.  Those we haven’t killed we’ve locked up indefinitely in a foreign country, tortured some, and undoubtedly killed some others.

But what have we really gained from our wars?  As of September 30, 2012 we have spent 1.38 trillion dollars on the wars.  This debt, along with a lack of our government being responsible, or Wall Street remotely caring about anyone but their pocketbooks, has led us into the greatest economic downturn since the great depression.  Over this period of time more than 2.6 million Americans have slipped into poverty and my friends poverty kills.  How many lives have been lost here at home to finance our wars that we are fighting to avenge the deaths of people here in America?  To this point we have lost over 5,000 soldiers in combat in the wars, more disturbingly for the last two years we have lost more soldiers to suicide than combat.  Additionally we have over 47,000 American soldiers who have been wounded, many coming home without limbs, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder.  This is the sacrifice we made to avenge 3,000 kills by madmen and to find imaginary weapons of mass destruction.  What we’ve sacrificed in goodwill and how many new terrorists we’ve created due to the massive levels of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan remains to be seen.  According to Wikipedia there are as many as 150,000 civilian deaths between these two countries in our wars.

America, tonight, I suggest we make a change, that we try to be more civil, more peaceful, that we do some really radical things.  First, that we try to look at things from other people’s perspectives not just our own, or our own party’s or our political base, that we actually try to govern instead of just trying to get re-elected.  Let’s actually look at America with a long-term perspective, what do we need to do now, that will pay dividends over the next 20 years instead of what dividends we can pay by the next election.  I’m talking about leadership and vision, you know, the things people actually expect from their political leaders and so rarely get.  Maybe if we employ these two characteristics we might just solve some of the problems we have and actually become as great a nation as we claim to be on the radio and on the talk shows.

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