The more we repeat the language of equality, freedom and social responsibility, the more those ideas come to dominate the public conversation. In turn, the character of public discourse determines what the news media promote and criticize, and what the candidates for public office must pay attention to. In this way, speech is political action.
What are some other deep truths we can promote through words? That individual initiative is possible only with the infrastructure and human capital the American public has provided for all of us. That health care is inseparable from life. That education is far more than taking tests or competing in the global economy; it is what makes us free and equal. That the environment is not just outside; it is inside us, with polluted air and water and pesticides destroying our health, now and tomorrow. That women’s rights are human rights. That great disparities in wealth destroy opportunity.
From such speech, political action can flow. The State of the Union on Tuesday is an opportunity for Obama to make the link, to show how particular policies emerge from general truths, to move us from hope to responsibility.
But in the end, only we as citizens can force the president and Congress to act.
How? By speaking out.
For more on this story, visit: Obama’s speeches are not just words — they are political action – The Washington Post.