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Congressman Jason Smith

Representing the 8th District of Missouri

More Than A Speech

Jan 13, 2017
Weekly Capitol Report

The most important speech for the future of this country wasn’t the one President Obama gave this past week, a speech which looked back at eight years of failures, but instead will be the speech about our future Donald J Trump will deliver from the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Friday. He will speak about this country in a way which promotes individual liberties, accountability, freedoms and personal choice. It will be a speech not about ‘hope’ and ‘change’, but instead about the concrete actions he will immediately begin taking to help put American’s back to work, bring down the soaring costs of healthcare, reduce the tax burden and get government off the back of farmers, families, and small businesses.

Our country has seen some profound inaugural speeches throughout our history that have defined generations. The greatest inaugural addresses in American history all have one thing in common - they were delivered at critical moments in our nation’s history. Whether impending war, secession, economic calamity or world crisis, these speeches all managed to balance that moment of peril and fright with one of prosperity and the American will to overcome.

Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address was delivered at a time when the country was deeply divided between the north and the south during the Civil War. In only 701 words, Lincoln sought to unify using divine intervention stating that both sides: "read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other." His words spoken that day in 1865 are some of the most powerful spoken in American history. Lincoln closed wishing no ill will towards those which looked to divide the Union, but instead with words of compassion, charity and optimism towards a mended State: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Faced with a nation engulfed in depression and panicked by a banking crisis, Franklin Delano Roosevelt opened his inaugural speech in 1933 with the assertion that everyone knows today: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  John F. Kennedy’s phrase he delivered during his inaugural speech in 1961: “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” still inspires generations of Americans over 50 years later.

The fact that Americans still reference these memorable inaugural speeches of the past is a testament to how impactful they actually are. We are at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history; we have the opportunity to get off our current path of big government control and a ‘Washington knows best’ way of thinking. Just as some of the greatest inauguration speeches were given during critical times in American history, so will the inaugural address of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States on Friday. After placing his right hand on the bible and swearing before God and the American people to serve this great country as President, Donald J. Trump will deliver his inaugural address with a message to get to work for the American people. So listen to what he says, pay attention for those few words or phrases which will come to define the first 100 days of this presidency and the new direction of our country – you never know what lines will live on forever in history.