Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Democracy in Action Day!

As we transition from one President to another, from one era to another, as we move into the 'angels of our better nature' thought I'd share a portion of one of my favorite speeches by a President... Lyndon B. Johnson... given before a joint session of congress on voting rights, one of the most basic tools of democracy. It isn't an inaugural address but it is a speech to remember.

Lyndon B. Johnson did not 'win' the Presidency, he ascended to the office due to the horrific assassination of President Kennedy. Johnson understood that one man doesn't 'make' human rights changes, he merely steps into the space of truth and offers it up for review, so the people, all the people, can move into a higher thought pattern, a space of humanity above the 'battlefield' and petty tyrannies of fear...

:President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s speech to a joint session of Congress on March 15, 1965:

"At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom.

Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country: to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man.

In our time we have come to live with moments of great crisis. Our lives have been marked with debate about great issues; issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and depression.

Rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth or abundance, our welfare or our security, but rather to the values and the purposes and the meaning of our beloved Nation. The issue of equal rights.

And should we defeat every enemy, should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation.

For with a country as with a person, "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"


Everything starts at home. it starts with our own being. it starts with our own hearts. Take care and remember the truth. All men are created equal.

To view the whole speech and read a transcript here's a great link....

Speech Before Congress on Voting Rights (March 15, 1965) - Miller Center of Public Affairs

So you don't feel cheated... here's a couple of my favorite quotes from past Presidential inaugural addressess.

"...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed effort."

"ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Best & Worst Inaugural Addresses

The President does lead the nation in action and tone. I am grateful that today we the people have a leader who is thoughtful, intelligent and is ever ready with a smile.
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