The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 18, 2013

Our View: Actions, not words

— President Barack Obama began his fifth State of the Union address by invoking the words of another.

Quoting John F. Kennedy, he said: “The Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress.”

“It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union — to improve it is the task of us all.”

Unlike previous speeches, there was something off about this one. The applause was a half beat behind the lyrics, the standing ovations more “do we or don’t we” than spontaneous shows of support. If it wasn’t for the rousing gun control response at the end of the evening, it would have been akin to watching an Oscar host deliver one flat line after another.

It was more a cross between a college professor lecturing his undergrads and an old-time preacher addressing a congregation of squirming sinners.

Invoking Kennedy was also out of tone. While Kennedy most certainly inspires, the cut he can inflict when the inevitable comparison comes can be very, very deep.

And President Obama is no exception.

Proposing over two dozen new government programs is a far cry from “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Promising those programs will not add a single dime to the deficit is a long way from “I am submitting for fiscal 1963 a balanced federal budget.”

A philosophy that someone else can make it “easier” is certainly not “we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

Kennedy’s words still inspire today not because they were delivered by a charismatic speaker — they inspire because they speak to the very heart of the American soul.

That, yes, we must work together, but that our achievement is not given by government, it is earned through the courage, sacrifice and dedication of millions of free individuals, each doing his or her own part.

President Obama is a speaker of great skill, but if he ever wants to see his words translated into action, he must do more than just quote Kennedy.

He must lead like him as well.

Text Only
Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

Have you ever served as a volunteer for your state's conservation department?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
NDN Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast