Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Speech I Wish the Winner Would Give

The July/August issue of the Washington Monthly features a wonderful speech by Theodore C. Sorenson, titled "The Speech I Wish the Winner Would Give."

Sorenson was John F. Kennedy’s special counsel and advisor. He collaborated with Kennedy on his speeches, which earned Kennedy the reputation as one of American history’s great orators.

The speech, directed to the Democratic Presidential candidates, was wonderful until I came to this paragraph: “During these last several years, our nation has been bitterly divided and deceived by illicit actions in high places, by violations of federal, constitutional, and international law. I do not favor further widening the nation’s wounds, now or next year, through continuous investigations, indictments, and impeachments. I am confident that history will hold these malefactors accountable for their deeds, and the country will move on [bolding mine]."

What???? I had such a visceral reaction to Sorenson’s cavalier dismissal of holding our present leaders to account that I had to ask myself why. Right off the top, this is what I came up with:

1. What would our world be like if there hadn’t been the Nuremberg Trials? Or the Milosevic Trial? The Enron Trial? Even though the wrongdoing in each case isn’t the same, crimes were committed. How is justice addressed if we just let bygones be bygones? Just how will “history hold these malefactors accountable” if their secrets are buried with them?

2. Do we want the same cast of characters responsible for dishonest actions in the past to keep coming back to positions of power in our government? Several characters come to mind, but I’ll just mention Elliot Abrams. Abrams is currently Bush’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy, responsible for advancing Bush's strategy of advancing democracy abroad, even though he was convicted in 1991 on two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra Affair investigation.

With all due respect, Mr. Sorenson, you’ve come up with a great speech, but I hope you’ll remove the offending two sentences before you send it to the Democratic Presidential hopefuls.
(photo- July/August 2007 cover of the Washington Monthly)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Gail.

Could you send your blog to Sorensen,or, better yet, the Washington Monthly as a letter?