A few years ago my team and I reintroduced the word “Hope” into the American lexicon. We succeeded in peeling away the cynicism that had become associated with American politics. We excited a nation. Together, we elected someone new. (Pause for Applause = PA).
Today I want to introduce a new word. It is a word that has also been battered and torn by the current state of American politics. That word is Honesty. Ladies and Gentlemen, Senators, Representatives, Secretaries, Security, and everyone watching at home on TV or online, I come here today under the oath taken on the day of my inauguration. I come here today as the President of these United States to describe the state of the union in this time of turmoil, change, and progress. (PA)
To be fair, all of this deregulation began in the 1980’s, and I am sorry to say was continued by both Democrat and Republican administrations. As well, each of us in this hall is to blame. Rather than representing the American people, we have all voted away the rules and guidelines, laws and norms which made this nation the powerhouse of economy, education, military, and life style that it once was. (Pause)
It wasn’t this party or that party. It was us. Furthermore, it’s no secret. We have done a superb job of selling the current reality. We gave in to the scene that we ourselves had set. We made it easier to take money from corporate sponsors than to act as leaders of the greatest nation in human history. We are nothing more than television programs, beholden to our sponsors. (Pause)
None of this is new. We all know this already. (Pause) The genius in all of this is that we have all convinced ourselves that this is the way it has been, should be, and ought to be.
We can see in the tea party and the occupy movement that this game isn’t working anymore. Folks from the right and the left are beginning to get riled up. There is unrest upon us. I sit up nights contemplating all of this.
I am a very good orator. I am a good organizer. Organizing means compromising and it means bringing people together to accomplish goals. I thought those skills would be useful in the White House. I thought that I had what it took, and maybe I do. Maybe I need to work harder? Maybe I let the size of my office intimidate me?
I came into this office from the Senate. I entered the senate as a well to do community organizer and lawyer. I am a wealthy American, just like every other president. Unlike any other though, I am a Black man. Over the years I have said little pertaining to this reality, but I want to take a moment right now to highlight the importance of that fact. I am Black. I am the President. This nation has grown from one in which people like me were property to one in which people like me can hold its highest office. That is not a small detail. This is something that we did together, whether you voted for me or not. (PA x 2)
The truth is that I am tired. The “Hope” line was not empty on the way here, but it was dead on arrival. We all know that. We all know the system is broken, and it has broken me to some extent. Believe me; I am as disappointed as you are. (Pause) We are on a dark path.
I come here before you in all honesty to let you know that the state of our union is not good. There are successes as well, but overall…We have states side stepping my health care bill in court, but the bill helps get coverage for Americans who need it. We have new laws restricting free speech, both online and in city squares, but that’s just the kind of world we live in these days. Air travel has never been more invasive to personal privacy than it is now, but last month’s jobless rate dropped, which means more people can afford to fly. (PA?)
Last year I spoke about winning the future. This year I am speaking about the present. If I can face my own fear of being a one term president, maybe I can act boldly here and now. Perhaps we will find that we are in a better place than where we started. (PA)
We have scaled down our presence in Iraq. All of our combat troops are gone, but our access to the oil is secure. We have private contractors there right now, tens of thousands of them. (PA) We will most certainly engage with Iran. Right now, our intelligence and defense agencies are working around the clock to ensure that we succeed in proving that the hundreds of billions we spend on them are worth it. (Pause)
I will make one last push at getting Israel and the Palestinians to sit down and look at a peace plan. I am planning to do this in May. There isn’t much hope there, but perhaps a policy of honesty at the table can help hash these issues out. I really don’t know. Honestly. (PA)
We will continue to push jobs out of the country by signing more free trade deals, which ensure that our industry leaders remain wealthy, while ensuring that quality of life for the majority around the globe declines. (Long Pause)
I promised honesty and here it is. (PA)
I won’t lie to you about any green initiatives. I whole-heartedly believe that new technologies are the key to American success, but until our corporations are ready to re-invest, there is no point in even mentioning it. As with most things, it is up to them. We are losing to China, India, and even Africa is growing at a faster pace. Most of the people there are poor, just like here, but we can all see our so called exceptional identity slipping away. (Pause)
Our financial system won’t get fixed. Not by me, anyhow. I am deep in their pockets. Just so no one out there is fooling themselves, every single government official in this room is right there with me. (Point to audience, Pause). We need to raise taxes on these institutions. We need to raise taxes on people like me who make money from these institutions, but we won’t. Not seriously anyhow. There are too many easy ways for us to get out of paying taxes, there are too many people who are paid to find ways around financial regulations. I can safely say that we will keep running into these messes as long as the system is the way it is. I am not advocating any serious changes, but I do want you all to know where we stand. (PA)
We, as a nation, place far too little value on education. Most students learn the same ways that they did fifty or one hundred years ago. Our education system is rotten. I am the President and my kids go to private school. The reaction from this country was a collective shrug signifying understanding. If the elected leader of this country is not invested in public schools who is? (Pause)
My fellow Americans, we are in a deep crisis and I want to get us out of it. We can get out of it together. We can get out of it. (Pause)
I really did have a vision for an America that stood tall as a defender of social and economic security and freedom for each and every citizen, and an America that used its might to defend right throughout the world. I really did think that it was the people, not the system that were leading us down this dark path. The truth is that it’s both. It is a strongly entrenched system of corruption in our elections, finances, law enforcement, education, and society at large, coupled with the weakness found in every heart in this once proud hall. (Pause)
My fellow Americans, this is the state of these United States. For too long Presidents, including myself, have stood up here and told you empty lies about what they have planned to do in the coming year. Today I have reported to you on where we stand now.
I imagine that the applause count this year will be lower than most. I am ready for that. I am ready to hear your suggestions for what to do next domestically. Foreign policy is out of all of our hands, so don’t bother. Domestic policy is up in the air. You can have an impact on the direction of the country by tweeting to my staff.
I promised you a bit of honesty tonight. I want you to remember this moment. It may be the last time that any elected leader, including myself, is so open with you.
Together we have moved mountains. Together we can walk into the light. (PA?)
God bless you, I bless you, and let us bless those we love.