A portion of President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, and the nation
Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, citizens of our great nation. I speak to you tonight about urgent business that for far too long has split our allegiances, and divided our spirits. We have work to do ladies and gentlemen, and I am here to begin that work in earnest. I was elected by the people of this country to change how business is done in Washington. I am not here to engage in silly squabbling, or get bogged down by petty ideological differences from one side or the other. I am here to change and fix what is not working. I am here to make a difference in the lives of Americans, who see no difference in Washington politics, and no immediate effect in their lives.
First of all let me say unequivocally: we will pass health care reform. There has been a string of invective, misinformation and a general poisoning of the atmosphere on this issue. There is agitation, caused by misleading, inflammatory information. This will not help fix anything folks. This back and forth nonsense has done nothing to improve or fix a problem that has been festering for years. It is time to do better. We must do better. I will do better.
Health care reform has been in the offing for almost a century. Think about that. One hundred years of debating what to me, is a fundamental principle of Americanism. One hundred years of parsing words on our country’s moral obligation to its citizens. As a citizen of this nation, how can we stand by and watch our own people suffer? How can we turn a blind eye to a crisis that, left unchecked, will affect us all? The simple answer is we cannot. We will not. I speak to you today to reassure everyone in this room, and everyone watching this telecast, that there will be reform. There must be reform. I will not compromise on this true purpose for our people, and our nation. There is no more time for delay. Delay is for cowards and proponents of the unrighteous. America is the pinnacle of righteousness.
I have no interest or desire to be held captive by demagogues on either side of the aisle, who fail to realize the importance of their words and inaction. I will not work with those that portray this effort as something that it is not- a socialistic revision of capitalism, or a government takeover. I have neither the time nor patience to listen to corrupt, empty fear-mongering, that seeks to distort my positions, and spread vitriolic rhetoric. I work for the American people, and they have had enough of this madness. I have had enough. I believe that some of you have forgotten what is important. I am here to remind you.
I will not shrink from my responsibility to do what I said I would do. I would encourage all of you in the congress, to do the same. Otherwise, I will proceed apace, with a plan that I have devised that will protect patients rights, provide choice, cover American citizens who cannot cover themselves, protect those who currently have insurance from cost increases in their premiums. This is the time to act. How can any of us call ourselves leaders if we do not…
This is what I think the president should say tonight. He should also explain HIS plan as specifically as possible. The people need to hear it from him in clear, concise words. Included in this should be what he wants and does not want, and how he plans on paying for it. It is time to get out in front and lead on this important issue. He should learn from great speeches by previous presidents regarding landmark legislation. FDR had social security. LBJ had civil rights. They both had detractors and met stringent, sometimes violent resistance. Start a new chapter on health care President Obama. Be bold, decisive and strong. Most important, be the president, Mr. President.