Who We Really Are And Can Be, Again

Published: March 1, 2022

By Jim Lichtman
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SPECIAL EDITION – HOW PRESIDENT BIDEN CAN INSPIRE ALL OF US, TONIGHT.

photo: Howard Schatz

The New York Times asked four columnists to offer their own State of the Union speech. Columnist David Brooks’s words are the most honest, credible, humble, forward-thinking, and inspiring I’ve heard in years!

Here’s what Brooks believes Biden should say, tonight.

My fellow Americans:

“People always talk about the state of our union in these addresses. I’d like to talk about the nature of our union.

“Lately, we’ve had a tendency to be bipolar about who we are. At some moments in our recent history we have thought we’re the greatest nation of the earth, with such awesome power that we can reshape the world in our image. At other moments we have lost faith in ourselves entirely. We’ve withdrawn. We’ve discarded the idea that America has any special mission to help champion freedom and democracy or that the American government can do anything good.

“It’s like the adolescent who wakes up one day to discover that his parents aren’t perfect and therefore concludes they are terrible.

“I’m hoping we can settle upon a mature estimation of ourselves, one that accurately accounts for both our gifts and our errors.

“We Americans are the people who fought two wars that are now widely regarded as mistakes, in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are also the people who staunchly contained the Soviet Union, so that when the time came, the people of Eastern and Central Europe could liberate themselves.

“We Americans have fomented coups and supported dictators. We also led the fight against fascism and helped nurture democracy in places like Germany and Japan, which we conquered but never sought to own.

“This skein of sin and heroism, guilt and virtue, runs through our history. Maturity is being humble and confident at the same time. Today, as Russia attacks and China grows more menacing, I hope we can humbly make it clear that we can’t change other nations in ways they don’t want to change but also confidently declare that the global weather patterns are fairer when the United States spreads the message of human dignity and supports the forces of democracy.

“I hope we can humbly accept that history is complicated and we are not wise enough to plan it but also confidently remind ourselves that when the United States has stood with people like Winston Churchill and Volodymyr Zelensky, we’ve ended up doing a lot of good.

“I hope we can humbly know that we are barraged by forces larger than us, like a pandemic, but confidently recall that we responded with a set of gigantic policies that helped ease the economic trauma and successfully brought our people through.”

Brooks should send his speech to the White House, immediately!

Tuesday’s commentary, “Something We All Need,” is listed on “Recent Posts.”

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