“To Be Worthy Of Their Trust”

I know by now you have heard all the jokes told at the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The President, as usual, was on his game. But perhaps you didn’t hear what he said at the end, what he said to all the beautiful people and the powerful people and the people who, for better or worse, have incredible influence on what happens to the country.

Or, even if you did hear the president’s final remarks, maybe it would be  better to actually read the words and hope against hope that they will have even the smallest effect:

And in these past few weeks, as I’ve gotten a chance to meet many of the first responders and the police officers and volunteers who raced to help when hardship hits, I was reminded, as I’m always reminded when I meet our men and women in uniform, whether they’re in war theater, or here back home, or at Walter Reed in Bethesda — I’m reminded that all these folks, they don’t do it to be honored, they don’t do it to be celebrated. They do it because they love their families and they love their neighborhoods and they love their country.

And so, these men and women should inspire all of us in this room to live up to those same standards; to be worthy of their trust; to do our jobs with the same fidelity, and the same integrity, and the same sense of purpose, and the same love of country. Because if we’re only focused on profits or ratings or polls, then we’re contributing to the cynicism that so many people feel right now. 

And so, those of us in this room tonight, we are incredibly lucky. And the fact is, we can do better — all of us. Those of us in public office, those of us in the press, those who produce entertainment for our kids, those with power, those with influence — all of us, including myself, we can strive to value those things that I suspect led most of us to do the work that we do in the first place — because we believed in something that was true, and we believed in service, and the idea that we can have a lasting, positive impact on the lives of the people around us.

And that’s our obligation. That’s a task we should gladly embrace on behalf of all of those folks who are counting on us; on behalf of this country that’s given us so much.

7 Comments

  1. Like.

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  2. Yessir. “Hope against hope….” The folks who must be inspired are the voters, the common people, Independents and moderate Republicans who are starting to figure out the GOP is morally bankrupt and administratively incompetent. The time is now, because current GOP congressional storm troopers have no shame and are having to go all-in on the 6-part strategy to take over America and cancel democracy: 1) Maintain Citizens United so the Koch’s, Adelson’s, Peterson’s, ADM’s, Chambers of Commerce, etc. can funnel obscene and often ill-gotten funds to their congressional sycophants; 2) Monopolize the remaining press (most of it is already owned by conservatives) and unabashedly guide the message to right wing arch-propaganda: knowledge is power and keeping knowledge out of he minds of the growing numbers of the suspicious ensures a stupid and controllable electorate — essential to allowing the right wing to seize power; 3) Continue voter suppression where the GOP controls the governors’ mansions and state legislatures — before the voters throw the bums out in 2014 and 2016: true voter rights and actual democracy will doom the GOP Tea Party; 4) Continue to try to crush programs which benefit average and poorer Americans, such as Healthcare reform, womens’ reproductive rights, immigration reform, Social Security protection, senior citizen voting rights, robust public education, etc: These people and their spirits must be broken in order for them to be willing to be a servile class; 5) Install, where possible, the church to monitor the state and invest it with the power to shackle science and the promise it offers: deny climate change, divert renewable energy funding, deregulate everything in the name of free-market capitalism with the lies that big business owners and investment bankers are the disciples of Jesus and have our best interests at heart; 6) Eliminate the direct election of Senators and protect current filibuster stupidity: the shrinking minority must be allowed to run the country — because that is really the only hope for the GOP — the shrinking, rich, power-mad, minority must be allowed to run the country.

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    • I love your list, my man.

      And you put right at the top, right where it belongs, the number one strategy to frustrate democratic rule: Money in politics.

      Just to give you a local example, Ozark Billy Long, my congressman, reportedly raised $150,000 in the first quarter of 2013. He now has banked $400,000 for his campaign, which is more than a year away. No telling how much he will have when the race begins. But then that’s the point. There will be no real race. No serious Republican will challenge him in the primary and no Democrat has a chance of defeating him in the general election. The money he is raising and hoarding is designed to scare away any potential challengers. Around these parts,  even his current $400,000 is enough to shut down competition. He may as well have $40 million.

      Thanks for point out the importance of unlimited financing of campaigns, General.

      Duane

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  3. Just a sidebar here. I don’t know if any of you have seen the new series “VICE” on HBO. It comes on after Bill Maher, 10:00 pm on Fridays. In spite of its misleading title, this is a news program. And I mean a real, honest-to-god, in-your-face news. News that makes our mainstream media look like a coloring book for kindergartners. News stories that would made Edward R Murrow proud.

    Take for example Segment 2 of the episode last week (April 26) http://hbo.vice.com/episode-four/ep-4-seg-2 It shows in terrifying detail how the “austerity” programs are working in Spain and Greece (and other European countries.) It makes our pitiful OWS protest look like a picnic in the park.

    As Obama said about the politicians and the press (in the quote above) “. . . if we’re only focused on profits or ratings or polls, then we’re contributing to the cynicism that so many people feel right now.” I believe one thing that might help turn cynicism into a call for action is to produce and show the uncensored, hard-core news stories like those on VICE — on both cable and network newscasts — at dinner time.

    So, yes, I’m still looking for a big enough 2 x 4 to get everybody’s attention. Airport delays were apparently not enough.

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    • Thanks Herb, for the link to the “VICE” article on the effects of austerity policy in Greece and Spain. The thought of half of all young people being unable to find work, no matter how hard they try, is disturbing on more than one level. The simple economics of it are bad enough, the drag on the rest of the country to support those not working, but even more alarming to me is that it has to be turning the young into exactly the wrong kind of citizens, radicalized, angry, and criminal. Thanks to kenesiean policies here, our problems are much less of course, but I still see frequent articles symptomatic of the same problem. Recently in Springfield two teenagers were to be tried as adults for the murder of an elderly couple staying in a cabin in the Branson area. Other events involving teens include random destruction of property and various crimes. In other words, the cost of austerity is not merely for the social net but in the very fabric of the ethos that enables a society to function.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  April 30, 2013

    Obama’s words were great words, no doubt. Basically he called on ALL Americas to do the things needed to IMPROVE our country, individually. Add to those Obama words, the words of Kennedy, “Ask not……..” and you have a great path forward, in my view.

    Social democracy in Europe, building ever since the end of WWI (NOT WWII) has caused those societies to become ever increasingly dependent on government to underpin those societies.

    The problem of course is that over the last several decades government, in Europe began to run out of money to keep on keeping on. Yet the people kept demanding more and more from their individual governments until……, well try Greece or Spain and sooner rather than later just watch the big ones, like France, run out of money.

    Now the new buzz word is “austerism”. Said another way, that means only spend that which can be produced, nationally. But that is not enough money, the money produced through production of goods and services in a given society, to feed the never ending maw of democratic demands for “the people”. So governments go borrow money from others to feed those demands. Until………..?

    Stangling a business or a country with excess debt is NOT a sudden drop through the floor with a “quick” broken neck resulting. Economic strangulation takes a LONG time and the process is slow and very painful with all sorts of social unrest as the misery proceeds, unchecked. Check out the underpinnings of the French Revolution to watch that process unfold and then look at the disaster that happened, after “the people” took over.

    The “rope” stangling Europe today is demand for more money than can be nationally produced. Let Spain or Greece then revolt in the streets and see what happens next. Russia did that almost 100 years ago and look what resulted from that revolution. Would YOU lend money to a “mob”, a French Revolution-like mob of “people” using a Guilotine to get their way?? We in America got a very brief glimpse of such a mob, called OWS but certainly no guilotines, yet.

    Now put huge numbers of $Trillions of debt on YOUR kids and grand kids and see what happens THEN. Short term, we, us old folks, will do OK as the noose tightens slowly. But what about the kids and grand kids, YOUR kids and grand kids. What, me worry? Of course I do. Do you?

    Solution? Kennedy told us the solution, on Jan 20, 1961 when he said “Ask not…….” But many Americans have paid no heed whatsoever to that clarion call from over 50 years ago, in my view. Our National Debt is proof positive of that failure, asking more from government than the country can produce to support that government for over 50 years now.

    The “norm” for every federal administration in America for over 50 years is to spend more than it “makes”, deficit spending. The really unusual example was four years of surplus, no deficits. What America needs in the long haul is such surplus revenue to be the “norm” and huge excess spending to be very unusual, only done in real emergenices. The trouble with you Dems is you can’t even agree amongst yourselves what a real emergency might be. Emergency spending simply becomes “normal spending” in such cases and we see the results, over 50 years now.

    Praise Medicare all you like. But after 50 years of such a program, well why can we STILL not pay for it with what we the people produce???? If you think delayed flights caused an uproar lately, well wait until we see such delays and cancellations in hospitals around the country. That will be real revolution, for sure. But we did NOT fix flight delays by simply spending MORE money, borrowed money. We forced the FAA to prioritize its spending, did we not?

    Anson

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  5. Troy

     /  April 30, 2013

    BRAVO! President O!

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