"And where our strength and determination are clear, our words need merely to convey conviction, not belligerence. If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help."
Ten days ago if someone would have asked me what this quote meant I would have said it was a formula for speech giving or writing an essay. Today I realized it is so much more than a formula. As I just now watched the third presidential debate, I thought long and hard about conviction. The conviction of two very different men. Two men dividing a nation. Two men seeking only the greatest good for the American people. How far we've come from that ideal.
If the election was tomorrow, I'd honestly vote for Nader. I'm so tired of the same battles. The same debate. The same egotistical jargon. I don't want to hear about "family values" without any reference to how we plan to support the family. I don't want to hear about the war in Iraq without any estimate of when we'll stop turning on our televisions to find more American casualties. I don't want to hear another ficticious promise.
John Kennedy didn't live to give that speech. He never uttered the words I mention that now echo in my mind. The speech was written for November 22, 1963--he didn't live to speak such truth. If only we all understood the power of that statement. If only politicians today were held to the high standards of which he spoke. The standards are so low, the mudslinging so common, and the truth so rare. Politicians are brutal.
After tonight the only conclusion I've come to is that John Adams was certainly right, the "abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society." We are a divided nation in so many ways...why must our leaders contribute to this?