If you have read my blog at all, you know that I am a big fan of John F. Kennedy's speech writer Ted Sorensen. I always felt that his writing paired with Kennedy's speaking ability is the greatest we have seen. However, while reading up on some memories of the late Senator George McGovern, I (and apparently most of the known universe) have missed out on a great speech - McGovern's 1972 acceptance speech.
The reason a lot of people missed it is that it was given at 2:00 a.m. after a contentious convention. Unfortunately for McGovern, most people didn't see the speech or hear it. What I find interesting is how much more powerful those words are today, and how they can still be used today.
Take this passage: Let the opposition collect their $10 million in secret money from the privileged few and let us find one million ordinary Americans who will contribute $25 each to this campaign, a Million Member Club with members who will not expect special favors for themselves but a better land for us all.
Isn't that something that can be said today? However, I think his closing paragraph is the most powerful and something that hits home to a lot of us. I even think President Obama could echo these words:
From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America. From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America. From the entrenchment of special privileges in tax favoritism; from the waste of idle lands to the joy of useful labor; from the prejudice based on race and sex; from the loneliness of the aging poor and the despair of the neglected sick — come home, America. Come home to the affirmation that we have a dream. Come home to the conviction that we can move our country forward. Come home to the belief that we can seek a newer world, and let us be joyful in that homecoming, for this "is your land, this land is my land — from California to New York island, from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters — this land was made for you and me." So let us close on this note: May God grant each one of us the wisdom to cherish this good land and to meet the great challenge that beckons us home.
I think regardless of party affiliation, this is something we can all believe in.