Day: August 28, 2013

The 15 Greatest Speeches In American History

Trying to come up with a list of great speeches in American history is a difficult assignment, as our Presidents and other public figures have given us great riches in their oratory, but here the author will attempt to give a list of 15 speeches that impacted American history, and have stood the test of time! There is no ranking order possible, so they will be listed chronologically.

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address 1863
Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address 1865
Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points Address 1918
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address 1933
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Speech, State of the Union Address, 1941
John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address 1961
John F. Kennedy’s Berlin Speech 1963
John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Speech 1963
Martin Luther King, Jr’s I Have A Dream Speech 1963
Robert Kennedy’s Speech After Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination 1968
Ronald Reagan Challenger Disaster Speech 1986
Ronald Reagan Berlin Wall Speech 1987
Bill Clinton Oklahoma City Speech 1995
Barack Obama Speech at Democratic National Convention 2004
Barack Obama’s Theodore Roosevelt Speech in Osawatomie, Kansas 2011

Debate and discussion on this is welcome!

The “New” South Vs. The “Old” South

The American South has undergone a lot of change in the past half century since the March On Washington in 1963.

Many Northerners have moved South; many people of African American and Latino heritage have grown up in an environment where segregation and open prejudice is gone: and we have seen Southern Presidents who completely represented a different image of the South.

So we have President Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who overcame his past and his heritage, and promoted the Civil Rights Revolution, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

We have Jimmy Carter of Georgia, the first Southerner elected from outside since Zachary Taylor in 1848, representing the “New South” Governors elected in 1970, including Ruben Askew of Florida and Dale Bumpers of Arkansas. Carter promoted advancements in civil rights and human rights, and demonstrated then, and right up to this moment, that he is a very principled, decent man.

And we have Bill Clinton, elected Governor of Arkansas, representing the New South tradition after Dale Bumpers had initiated it in Arkansas, and being a major promoter of civil rights and equality during his Presidency, as much as Johnson and Carter.

And we have John Lewis, the only surviving speaker at the March on Washington, now 73 years old, and carrying on the tradition of his mentor, Martin Luther King, Jr. He has been an exemplary Congressman from Georgia, and truly the conscience of the nation on civil rights!

These four gentlemen, three Presidents and a Congressman, represent the best of the “New South”!

The “Old South” was thought to be overcome, particularly over time with the death of Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and others of their ilk.

But as it turns out, the “Old South” mentality has survived even past these two GOP leaders who promoted segregation and hate, as the 2013 Republican Party, with the evil influence of the Tea Party Movement, is working very hard to back track on racial equality, racial progress, racial justice, and using code language to appeal to the bigots and racists who remain in America, whether in the South or Midwest or Great Plains areas of the nation, and hoping to repeal the progress of the past half century.

They do this without shame or embarrassment, and that is what is most troubling, and they even have their talk show hosts on radio and television and cable, who spew forth hateful and divisive propaganda with no apologies–Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity et al—and make millions on promotion of hate and division, rather than trying to bring us together and move forward!

So the “Old South” is, ironically, surviving in the party of Abraham Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner and the other principled Republicans of 150 years ago, who fought against the “Old South” and slavery, and would, if they were here today, hold their heads in their hands, and weep over what the Republican Party they loved, has become!

Three August Birth Presidents, And Civil And Human Rights Advocacy!

Here we are, on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington in the month of August, and we have the reality of three August Birth Presidents, in the past 50 years occupants of the White House, and all three of them have promoted civil rights and human rights as their ultimate legacy in the Presidency!

Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961; Bill Clinton on August 19, 1946; and Lyndon B. Johnson on August 27, 1908.

Their births span a half century, from the early 20th century to the post war years and the early 1960s.

And all three have a record they can be proud of on civil and human rights, and the two surviving ones will be speaking today, and the older daughter of Lyndon B. Johnson, Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, will be speaking in her father’s name, to celebrate the historic event of the March on Washington.

This is a day to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr, but also Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama as well!

A Great Historic Moment: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter At Lincoln Memorial Today To Commemorate 50th Anniversary Of March On Washington!

Today will go down as one of the most historic days of speech making in American history, commemorating one of the greatest speeches and events in American history—the historic speech of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington fifty years ago today!

We will see three Democratic Presidents–Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter—speak at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the event, along with Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, the older daughter of Lyndon B. Johnson, and the one surviving speaker of the March on Washington, Georgia Congressman John Lewis!

As wonderful as all this is, one has to wonder where is George W. Bush? His dad, George H. W. Bush, is in poor health and in a wheelchair, so he gets a pass, but why is the son not expected to be there? And what about the Republican leadership in Congress and Republican Governors? Where are they, and will any show up? If so, there is so far a deathly silence, as if they do not wish to be part of this historic event, even though many Republicans were supportive fifty years ago.

If no leading Republicans show up, it will be a total disgrace, and a sign of the terminal illness of a party that had Lincoln, TR, and Ike, along with many Senators and Governors historically, who made the Republican Party proud!