The President’s State of the Union Address
January 27, 2021
16.Citizenship in the USA
My fellow Americans: It’s not only immigrants—our latest wave of proud new American citizens—who need to learn the basic civic lessons that every American should know about living here. Good citizenship requires basic knowledge of American history, and at least some understanding of how we came to be the way we are today.
Good citizenship also means registering to vote, and actually voting in every election. Good citizenship means being considerate of our fellow Americans, no matter what color they are, where they’re from, what their religion is or is not. It means being respectful to people we disagree with. I say, let us hear no more griping about the condition of our neighbor’s fences, for, clearly, we have some fences to mend in our own front yard. To fail to be as good and great as we say we are would be hypocrisy, and I want none of that.
I began my campaign for the Presidency by telling you my beliefs—what I am for and what I’m against. I spoke directly about what I believe in every last campaign speech, because I profoundly believe politicians should speak about the issues that matter for the nation’s common good—what’s best for all the people. They should not just sling mud at each other while avoiding all mention of real issues because it might cost them a vote. It has been very gratifying to see how very many of you agree with me.
Also in every speech over the past two years I asked you to give me the means to make these changes. I asked you to elect not just me, but also Congressmen—and governors, and state legislators, and city councilmen—who likewise are for these changes. You did so memorably, and I thank you. We require this historical level of agreement in order to pass the reforms needed to put our great nation back on its historical course of greatness.
As always, it is our unity that carries us forward. Disunity holds us back, and degrades us. It was our unity that made America great yesterday, makes it great today, and will make it still greater tomorrow. Our great American idea on how to sustain a democratic republic is unique in the world. We the people—we are our government, and as a people, today we stand united in a way we haven’t seen for decades.
Welcome back…to America the beautiful—a nation where we don’t just drift along with a half-empty glass, passively waiting to see what’s going to “happen to us” next. In this dynamic new can-do America we take firm control of our own destinies. We do things.
It’s called the American way. We fix what’s gone wrong, and we follow new dreams toward making things better for our common good. We did it before, with the 1930s New Deal, and again to win World War II, and yet again in the 1960s and 70s Great Society. We shall do it again now, because American renewal is needed more than ever before.
In this State-of-the-Union message I have identified a number of things we will set about doing immediately, to fix things that need fixing in our nation. Every one of them involves ways in which your federal government can and must take actions to serve the common good of all the people. The list of matters yet to be addressed is much longer.
In the months ahead we shall address matters such as equal rights and fair treatment for women and minorities; institutional racism; fair and affordable housing; approaching depletion of many vital ores and minerals; reforming our patenting process to serve the interests of all Americans; restoration of the United States’ rank as the world’s number one leader in basic research, after many years of frittering away our research leadership. These and many other matters will be raised, and fixes will be made.
If this seems like a lot of work, be assured it is, but we shall make it happen. The only thing we shall not do is continue sitting on our hands, waiting to see what downgrade of our democracy is going to befall us next. We shall not continue doing business as usual—nor shall we pretend to “run government like a business” because government is not a business. The business of government is fairness in governing on behalf of all the people.
I want the United States to lead the world by our good example, not by throwing our weight around. We Americans believe in the sovereignty of free independent nations. We believe nations should act peacefully toward one another, because we are all children of God, responsible to help each other as best we can. We believe in the comparable good works of the United Nations, which we shall support in every reasonable way.
We stand ready to help any nation that clearly commits itself to the values, and the democratic-economic reforms, to which we have so recently re-dedicated ourselves. I want every citizen of America—and, I hope, of the world—to appreciate that eternal growth is not always better, and smaller is often far better than bigger.
Most of all, I want rights and duties of citizenship to be fully understood by every American citizen. How we behave toward each other is what defines us as individuals, and defines our nation as a unique and good place to live. In unity, let us all now proceed with the task of making America that way, and keeping it that way, for the common good.
My fellow Americans, God bless you all, because all together, in unity, we are the USA.
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To enjoy details of how the new president converts these policy pronouncements into practical legislation, refer to POPULIST CORRECTIONS on this blog