There is Much Value to Professional Political Speechwriting

It is impossible to overstate the value of great Speechwriting

C-SPAN is channel 188 on my television, which illustrates the conflict I have about the merits of Numerology as a scientific guide to life: The number 1 is supposed to represent the sun and all things creative. Number 1 people are supposed to be creative, positive, and less obstinate.

speechwritingI don’t see a lot of that on C-SPAN. On the other hand, number eight people (who are associated with Saturn) are said to be misunderstood, fanatical, wayward and very eccentric. Bingo on number 8. Given that my C-SPAN is heavily 8-weighted, numerology might have some merit after all. But I doubt it.

However, the fact that there are three digits for C-SPAN on my TV is very helpful; it gives me time to scrunch my face into a bewildered, incredulous look before I get there. I can only watch C-SPAN until my face muscles get tired from incredulous bewilderment-scrunching, then I have to go to Animal Planet (#54: intuition, freedom, travel) to relax my face.

Animal planet does resemble C-SPAN a bit in that there are a lot of snarling beasts and slimy, slithering creatures, but the creatures don’t actually speak on Animal Planet, which would be a good idea for C-SPAN, too. Listening to C-SPAN makes me ask myself: “Are all the speechwriters on strike, or is Crack really that much of a problem on Capitol Hill?”

So I have an idea: Hire speechwriters! I know it’s radical, cutting edge political thinking, but the situation is getting out of hand. Those old enough might remember ( and those not old enough might remember reading it ─ I had to read it because I was busy playing “Green Army Men” on the floor) John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address where he said:

“Now the trumpet summons us again ─ not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need ─ not as a call to battle, though embattled we are ─ but as a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation…”

Now THAT is speechwriting! Compare that to the oratorical genius that is the current resident of the same office, speaking on a similar topic:

“Whether we like it or not we remain a dominant military superpower.”

That is either a speechwriter on crack or, more likely, no speechwriter at all. When was the last time we heard a stirring, eloquent speech in Washington? JFK I think.

If all the speechwriters are either gone or cracked out, who will step up to save us from our own electoral process? I have a few suggestions.

Marcus Aurelius:

“Virtue on this legislation is manifested in doing what is just and wise and manly. But you, you do not seek these things and ensue them, but spend the greater part of your time conning over miserable projects and self-aggrandizement ─ it is the man who does best at these that you hail as a glorious victor. You pay no attention to the fruit, which consists in action, but busy yourselves with the husks. Then husk this bill I say, and come to the fruit!”

Sir Walter Scott:

Of Marmion all politic art,
Glance quick as lightning through the heart,
Where still this issue’s cause is tried,
Press spur into your courser’s side,
And grant the law this Act doth start.”

James Joyce:

“There is no hope beyond this, the enactment of this, the realization of these efforts as night after night I pass this house; night after night study the squares of the windows and find it lighted the same way; night after night wondering: are they idle? Do they sleep? And I say softly to myself the word paralysis, which sounds so strange in my ears like the word gnomon in the Euclid and the word simony in the catechism, but now sounds to me like the name of a door, a bad door to be unhinged and replaced by a door that closes, closes forever on the ultimate passage of this act.

Yoda:

“Let go of that which fear you to do. You will know the right when peace you have. Fear and discord, the dark side they are. If once down that path, forever consume you it will. Passed this bill must be. It is the right. It is the way. Be the Force, and the bill you will be.”

Lewis Carroll:

“The time has come I’m sure you know,
To talk of many things:
Of legislative bankruptcy,
And all the harm it brings ─
And why this bill has not been passed,
And how to give it wings.

‘But wait a bit’ I hear you say,
‘Before we have our chat,
For some of us must need move slow,
And all of us are fat.’
Enough, I say, just pass the bill,
And I’ll thank you for that.”

Hemingway:

“They ask me often how it is to be President. It is good to be President I tell them. It is right. They ask if things get done when you are President. I laugh at them. These are things they do not understand. Will never understand. The things of Congresses and bills that they will never understand. But these are things that must be done. Bills, legislation. Things they will never understand. But they must be done, these things. Must be done now. Must be passed. You must understand. Or you will never understand.”

Or they can just stick with their current fill-in speechwriters Jim Carrey and Pee Wee Herman and give England something to watch besides Benny Hill reruns.

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David Suter

David Suter

David Suter is an essayist and social commentator specializing in translating the shadows on the wall of Plato's Cave into editorial prose calculated to humiliate the Pulitzer Committee. He lives in Ohio where he watches a vast pile of essays and unpaid bills not resolve itself into the Great American Novel.
David Suter

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