The State of the Union, 2018

A State of the Union Address, 2018

We have now, as a well-meaning people, arrived at a terminus in our tempestuous national life together.

But our current schism is not an end. Not a means to an end. Not a work of pragmatism. Not an insoluble problem.

The way forward requires a vision for how citizens of goodwill may speak to each other in measured tones; in the cadences which mark the reasonable, historic discourse for which we have been renowned. The discourse which is the bedrock of our standing as the epicenter of decency in the story of man and womankind.

It will require of us the willingness to discuss the American Ideal as we have always held those conversations.

It will require of us a willingness to listen without intemperate interjection; to consider the totality of a viewpoint outside our usual comfort.

These hard times ask of us a willingness to hear the ugly voices and to cast their shallow, grunting sounds aside. This schism asks of us a temperance grander than the task of lifting heavy stones, more difficult than the work which seems brutal on first glance, but if aimed at accomplishing the labor which has always been
the hallmark of our forefathers, yet another step along the road to serving the common interest.

This is what we have always believed.

Let none go hungry or thirsty in their weakness. Never allow a woman or man to be judged beyond what it is they have brought to us in good intention. Make certain all self-interest is blunted first by the consideration of a larger vision. Walk one dusty mile in another set of shoes or boots or bare feet, as we build our case for a
tomorrow worth living.

This journey will demand of us a renewed focus on what made us – and our way of governing -a shining beacon to those with fewer resources and a shared, abiding hope in the face of tribulation. Do these things to make the world a place where water is free to slake the inevitable thirst. Where women feel safe from harm. Where no child goes to sleep on any night suffering the pangs of hunger or the fear of random lunacy.

This is, as a citizen of earth and of our great nation, your duty. It is a duty in whose service many have died as heroes. In whose service many have passed on without fanfare, but left their legacy of care for us to celebrate.

Consider the price of your citizenship, on paper or in virtue, your payment in kind for what you believe with us. In recompense for the gift you have been given and the circumstance of your standing as an American by birth or need or necessity or fiat, it is yours to keep close to your heart. To tell your children.

It is the debt you owe, as a woman, a man or denizen of this verdant, plentiful land, the price of being one of us.

Your creed is no barrier. Your race will never be a hindrance as that is our cornerstone. Your land of origin? No consideration will be held against you and yours for all time. Once you have asked and worked to be an American, and taken your place on the line through history, your standing is guaranteed by our Constitution.

There are lines we hoped to have written – but which are not now included – in that founding document, and together, we will author those lines if we are willing to stand against what we know to be wrong…

People of the Senate and House of Representatives.

The welfare of our country is the singular object to which our cares and efforts must be directed. Only if we all, as citizens, can derive satisfaction from a cooperation among ourselves, may we accomplish the pleasing, though arduous, task of “ensuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.”

Thank you all, and may you stand tall in the days ahead with a clear conscience…