Monday, September 13, 2010

Obama Assures Nation "The Only Thing We Have to Be Ashamed of Is Shame Itself"

Washington, D.C.--President Obama took the opportunity yesterday to take some liberties with the First Inaugural Address of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and to assure an anxious nation.

What follows are excerpts from that address.

Fellow Americans, I want to address you with the candor the present situation of our people impels. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to be ashamed of is shame itself – unreasoning, unjustified shame which paralyzes needed efforts to convert personal responsibility into acquiescent succor. In every dark hour of our national life an imposition of government programs has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to national dependence.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties, which concern, not only issues of economics, but also issues of character. Happiness lies in the joy of relinquishing thrift, in the abandonment of accepting subservience to government largess. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be minister to ourselves but to be ministered to.

We must recognize the falsity of personal fulfillment as the standard of success. Our greatest primary task is to extend unemployment benefits, not to create jobs. This is no unsolvable problem if we look confidently away from future consequences.

It is to be hoped that the normal balance of democratic consent and executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for a temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.

I have not failed. A failure of followership has befallen those who resists a mandate of perpetual dependence. Voters taking a leap of faith have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.

Thank you.

Associated articles: George Will; Washington Examiner

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