A very interesting thing happened while skimming through a speech pointed out by Instapundit: it appears that there has been a good definition of American and Hero made by a President! Yes, indeedy! Lets take a look at this lovely passage, and it is a stand-alone one, also, as most of these sound-bite driven speeches are these days:
The real American heroes today are the citizens who get up every morning and have the courage to work hard and play by the rules -- the mother who stays up the extra half hour after a long day's work to read her child a story; the rescue worker who digs with his hands in the rubble as the building crumbles about him; the neighbor who lives side-by-side with people different from himself; the government worker who quietly and efficiently labors to see to it that the programs we depend on are honestly and properly carried out; most of all, the parent who works long years for modest pay and sacrifices so that his or her children can have the education that you have had, and the chances you are going to have. (Applause.) I ask you never to forget that.Ah, the real Americans are those that play by the rules, work hard and then go further to ensure the best for themselves, their children and their neighbors. Now what if you come here illegally to undercut the economy and work at jobs below the going rate and make things difficult for those who are citizens? Thank you to President William Jefferson Clinton for providing ALL AMERICANS with a handy-dandy definition of 'American Hero'! That was given as part of the , at the Michigan State University 1995 commencement address.
And do excuse me if I look a bit askance at such things as (NY Sun 09 MAR 2006):
In Mrs. Clinton's comments, and in a simultaneous four-page letter sent outlining her principals for comprehensive change to the immigration laws, she criticized the House bill, saying criminalizing illegal immigrants and those who help them, "would turn millions and millions of Americans into lawbreakers because they want to continue the tradition of outreach and assistance that has been the hallmark of our nation."Perhaps, Mr. Clinton should sit down and have a nice little chat with his wife about who 'American Heros' are. Because those who break the rules to get here are definitely NOT Americans and those that help them by *also* breaking the rules are NOT heroic in any way, shape or form. That really does need to get through now, doesn't it? Helping runaway American slaves is one thing, and a different era, but if folks from other Nations need help, they can ask for it from their Nation of origin or apply for asylum. That is 'playing by the rules', which seems to matter so much to Bill Clinton... well, in 1995, just as he was getting ready to break quite some few of them in the Chinagate/Donorgate business.
These commencement addresses are so full of 'vision' and addressing 'reality' that I can't help but take out a bit just prior to the above:
'Freedom of political speech will never justify violence -- never.' Dear me! Where did all these lovely outlooks go? Yes, it wasn't too long ago that we heard the following from Hillary Clinton:Whenever in our history people have believed that violence is a legitimate extension of politics they have been wrong. In the 1960s, as your distinguished alumni said, many good things happened and there was much turmoil. But the Weathermen of the radical left who resorted to violence in the 1960s were wrong. Today, the gang members who use life on the mean streets of America, as terrible as it is, to justify taking the law into their own hands and taking innocent life are wrong. The people who came to the United States to bomb the World Trade Center were wrong.
Freedom of political speech will never justify violence -- never. Our founding fathers created a system of laws in which reason could prevail over fear. Without respect for this law there is no freedom. (Applause.)
So I say this to the militias and all others who believe that the greatest threat to freedom comes from the government instead of from those who would take away our freedom: If you say violence is an acceptable way to make change, you are wrong. If you say that government is in a conspiracy to take your freedom away, you are just plain wrong. (Applause.)If you treat law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for your safety every day like some kind of enemy army to be suspected, derided and, if they should enforce the law against you, to be shot, you are wrong. (Applause.) If you appropriate our sacred symbols for paranoid purposes and compare yourselves to colonial militias who fought for the democracy you now rail against, you are wrong. (Applause.)
How dare you suggest that we in the freest nation on Earth live in tyranny. How dare you call yourselves patriots and heroes.
I say to you, all of you, the members of the Class of 1995, there is nothing patriotic about hating your country, or pretending that you can love your country but despise your government. There is nothing heroic about turning your back on America, or ignoring your own responsibilities. If you want to preserve your own freedom, you must stand up for the freedom of others with whom you disagree. But you also must stand up for the rule of law. You cannot have one without the other.
My view on this, though, is pretty simple. We had eight years of prosperity because we paid down our debt and we got rid of our deficit. We hit a rough spot, and it was turned into a terrible bump because of the attacks of September 11.That was put out on 10 NOV 2001 (via The Wayback Machine) as a transcript at CNN. The NEW threat of terrorism? Excuse me? To give the reader a reminder, here is a list of all the terrorist attacks on US government personnel, civilian and military, US embassies and US Ambassadors under the term of President Clinton:
If we hadn't passed the big tax cut last spring, that I believe undermined our fiscal responsibility and our ability to deal with this new threat of terrorism, we wouldn't be in the fix we're in today. But the fact is, we are.
And now we've got to figure out what's the best way out of it. I certainly don't think more tax breaks that are not linked to investment and job growth or turning our back on the unemployment and health needs of hardworking Americans who have lost their jobs because of the attacks is a very sensible proposal.
I'm also concerned that we're back into deficits, which we know from prior experience are, you know, job killers because they dry up private investment capital.
So I would say that, on balance, the Democratic alternative is far preferable. And any one of us could have written it differently, but, you know, in Congress you make necessary tradeoffs and compromises. The kind of balance that the Finance Committee struck under Chairman Baucus is a heck of a lot better than the Republican alternative or the House-passed alternative.
Bomb explodes near US Ambassador's Residence in Columbia,NEW threat of terrorism? Do you see all of those in red? Those are things that would normally get this Nation involved in a war if it was done by a Nation state. Like the FARC attempt to assassinate President Clinton. Blaming tax cuts for not leaving the Nation prepared to deal with terrorism is *not* the fault of the incoming Administration and is directly the fault of Bill Clinton. Ignoring the attacks on the US and the killings of Americans by these organizations and then turning around and blaming the next President for the inability of the Previous one to even *address the problem* is beyond asinine: it is deceitful. President Clinton had eight long years to establish a way to deal with terrorism and confront such organizations that had decided that it was not only easy to go after the US but that the US would do nothing in retaliation. By trying to place blame for 'the fix we're in today' on tax cuts that had not even gone into effect is ludicrous.
Carbomb explodes outside US Ambassador's Residence in Columbia,
Slayings of CIA personnel in Langely, VA,
Window smashing of US Cultural Center in Serbia,
Grenade attack on US Embassy in Serbia,
Guards at US Consulate attacked in Columbia,
ETA suspected of bombing near US Embassy in Spain,
Two US soldiers wounded by sniper fire in Somalia,
Kakurokyo attacks HQ of US forces in Japan,
Kakurokyo attacks US Camp Zuma in Japan,
Shining Path explodes carbomb outside US Embassy in Peru,
US diplomat killed in Tblisi, Georgia,
Forces of Gen. Aidid suspected in killing of four US soldiers in Somalia,
Red Brigades attack US-NATO airbase in Italy,
Three US soldiers killed when helicopter downed in Somalia,
US Embassy bombed in Estonia,
One US soldier killed in Somalia,
Shining Path attacks US-Peruvian Binational Cultural Center in Peru,
US diplomat kidnapped by Jahm tribesmen, headed by Mubarak Mashan, in Yemen,
US soldiers fired upon in Somalia,
Gunmen fire shots at US diplomat in Ethiopia,
'Southern California IRA' grenade attack on British property in US,
Lebanese man fires on van carrying rabbinical students in US,
Haitian exiles fired upon in US,
Shots fired at residence of US Ambassador in Uruguay,
Mozambique National Resistance Movement kidnaps US pilot working for UN in Mozambique,
Convoy carrying US Ambassador attacked in Somalia,
FARC kidnaps American in Columbia,
Shining Path bombs US Embassy in Peru,
Grenade attack as USAID offices in Ethiopia,
Two Americans working at US Consulate killed in Pakistan,
Oklahoma City Federal Office building bombing in US,
RPG attack on US Embassy in Russia,
US Army Captain fired at in Saudi Arabia,
GIA sets US Embassy warehouse on fire in Algeria,
Hezbollah and al Qaeda attack OPM/SANG complex in Saudi Arabia,
Chukakuha and Kakurokyoha bomb US base in Japan,
Attempted kidnapping of US human rights worker for UN in Guatemala,
Territorial Anti-Imperialist Nucleus firebombs US serviceman's car in Italy,
FARC kidnaps American Citizen in Columbia,
Guard at U.S. Government Binational Center disarmed and wounded in Columbia,
Revolutionary Struggle launches RPG attack at US Embassy in Greece,
Attack on US Consulate in China,
US Consulate attacked in Mexico,
Bombing of US Information Services compound in Pakistan,
Attempted firebombing of US Cultural Center in South Korea,
Firebombing of US military compound in South Korea,
Contras kidnap USAID election observer in Nicaragua,
Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah bombing kill six US servicemen in Saudi Arabia,
US Defense Intelligence Agency employee stabbed in Egypt,
USAID vehicle torched outside US Embassy in Russia,
Nicaraguan Sandinista Liberation Front HQ set on fire in US,
Attempted firebombing of US Consulate in Indonesia,
Jamaat-e-Islami attack US Consulate in Pakistan,
FARC captures and kills US Citizen in Columbia,
Letterbombings of Saudi Arabian newspaper offices in US,
Letterbombs arrives at Ft. Leavenworth in US,
Letterbombs arrive at Saudi Arabian newspaper offices in US,
Two guards at US Embassy murdered in Tajikistan,
Palestinian kills one tourist, wounds others at Empire State Building in US,
Armed attack on US Ambassador's residence in Albania,
American Citizen kidnapped with others by tribesmen in Yemen,
US Citizen and child kidnapped in Guatemala,
Helicopter carrying US State Dept. official fired upon in Columbia,
Grenades launched at US Embassy in Lebanon,
FARC stages takeover of US Embassy public area in Columbia,
al Qaeda bombs US Embassy in Kenya,
al Qaeda bombs US Embassy in Tanzania,
Firebomb attack at US Information Center in Kosovo,
Bombing of US Embassy in Ecuador,
Two Americans taken as part of tourist kidnap plot by tribesmen in Yemen,
Bombing near US and UK Consulates in Russia,
DHKP/C assault US Consulate in Turkey,
US worker with UN mission injured by gunfire in East Timor,
Arson attack on vehicle parked outside US Information Services in Pakistan,
Attempted bombing of US Embassy in Indonesia,
FARC attempts assassination bombing of President Clinton in Columbia,
al Qaeda bombs USS Cole in Yemen.
Then there is this concept of being a 'Citizen' that, as Bill Clinton put it above 'The real American heroes today are the citizens who get up every morning and have the courage to work hard and play by the rules...' That is your average man and woman in society, keeping up with life's needs to make a better life for themselves and their children. Hillary Clinton, in speaking at the Sorbonne on 17 JUN 1999 had some things to put forward on that, too:
The many democracies that came together to wage this battle against Milosevic may have spoken different languages and even held different political views. But they have sent a unified message at the end of this century that says we will not turn away when human beings are cruelly expelled, or when they are denied basic rights and dignities because of how they look or how they worship. When crimes against humanity rear their ugly heads, we have to send such a message as an international community.Yes, high and lofty ideals to be sure! But still not coming to the point of saying what a citizen 'is'... the meaning of which should be self-evident in this context. We do, indeed, need to honor the past, but so far Hillary Clinton hasn't said much on that topic for citizenship. A bit further on we get:
But what about us as individuals? What about us as citizens? How do we live the values in peacetime that we have just fought for? How do each of us work to ensure that our children and our children’s children don’t repeat the 20th century’s worst excesses? We’re thinking about that because of the approach of the millennium. Like your Commission 2000, the President and I created the White House Millennium Council that we hoped would help people mark this time in history, not just by a great party on New Year’s Eve, but by taking this opportunity to think of who we are as a people—what aspects of our history, our culture, and our values we want to bring into the next century, and what we wish we can, by hard work and determination, leave behind.
We’ve chosen as our theme: “Honor the past, imagine the future.” By honoring the past, we have to take a hard look at where we have been; we have to acknowledge the progress we’ve made, but also the violence and the disappointment, in order to live honestly in the present and imagine and create a better future. Now at any time of great transition such as this, there are always pessimists among us. I went back and read about the first millennium’s end. There was the myth of panic and terror afoot in the land, where people gave away their possessions and hid in churches all over Europe waiting for the world’s end. There was even a rather controversial monk in the tenth century who consistently warned his neighbors of impending doom. He had quite a checkered past, having been expelled from a number of monasteries, but he always had an audience. There were always people who believed that the worst was yet to come.
We have the responsibility to create a society in which we expand the benefits of democracy and freedom to all of our fellow citizens; where we ensure that free markets benefit all people, not just a privileged few; where we create and nurture vibrant civil societies that foster active citizens. I often use a very simple metaphor to talk about society—that of a three-legged stool: one leg is the government, another is the economy, and the third is a civil society. I spoke about this at length at Davos a few years ago because, for that World Economic Forum, I wanted to remind the participants that we cannot sit on a stool if there are only one or two legs; we cannot sit on that stool if one leg is shorter or longer than the others. We need three legs that balance and reinforce one another, and that are strong enough to support us in the years to come.Lots of responsibilities for citizens and that is always good, but what is this deal with democratic governments being 'efficient'? Since when have they ever been *that*? If you want 'efficient democracy' you get 'state control' which is very, very 'efficient', usually at cleaning out those that decry its injustices. Somehow government that is able to 'empower citizens' means that government is, itself, the seat of power. Not the citizens. Government, as designed in the US, was to be limited, and a backstop to the abuses of government and to enable citizens to have redress and control over it. Not to make government 'empowering'.
We have lived with the benefits, for 50 years now, of the agreements that were made at the end of the Second World War, coming out of Bretonwoods to create new financial architectures that would enable us to tackle the problems that we knew would lie ahead. Today, we have outlived the usefulness of that particular set of arrangements. And we now have to face up to creating a new architecture that will help us tackle runaway global capitalism’s worst effects; ensure social safety nets for the most vulnerable; address the debt burden that is crushing many of our poorest nations. And I’m pleased, as I know many others are, that the G-8 will be addressing debt relief at the summit in Cologne.
So we do have to confront and be willing to use our political will to address the issues that are paramount today. That will take effectively functioning governments to do. There are those, particularly in my country, who insist on a salting government, who claim that if we would only abolish or severely weaken it that everyone’s freedom and prosperity would blossom. That is, I believe, a very mistaken notion, particularly as we end this century. We need strong and efficient governments—not oppressive or weak ones—that are able to empower citizens to help them take responsibility for their families and communities.
Similarly, with the economy, there are those in Europe or the United States who overstate or understate the positive effects of the free market. There are many who are great advocates, who think that the market can do anything if left alone. There are others who are great opponents, who are very clearly undermining or misunderstanding the benefits that free enterprise brings. So again we have to create a balance. How do we enjoy the benefits without suffering from the excesses?
And *still* nothing on what it is to be a citizen. Thus we come to this section:
Now the discussion about government and the economy could go on for days. And I hope it does here in this distinguished university and in other places here and in the United States, Asia, and throughout the world, because we have to come to terms with how government and the economy will function. But today I want to focus on the third leg of the stool, the one that is often overlooked—that of civil society, of citizenship. Because it is there in the space between government and the economy that we live our lives and pass down our values. It is where we find that wonderful phrase from the great French observer of American life, DeTocqueville—“the habits of the heart”—that determine how we are going to live together; the voluntary associations that we join; the arts and culture that define us, challenge us and make our spirits sore; the training ground in families and neighborhoods that turn our people into citizens.Now isn't that a great way to look at things: that civil society exists BETWEEN government and economy? Sort of wedged in there as an after thought. While talking much on rights, that doesn't appear to be a direct link TO citizenship, thus moving the 'voluntary associations' forward AS citizenship. Thus being a citizen doesn't matter so much on who you are, but who you associate with. This ignores that the associations, themselves, are a reflection of the culture, not the defining points of it. Remember, in this view it is the civil associations, the voluntary civil associations that need to be expanded abroad.
Now the economy can create the jobs and enough wealth so that we can enjoy what is best about life. And it can of course, as we have seen, create consumers and the producers of goods. But the economy cannot create citizens. Government can protect our freedoms and defend our lives, but it can only respond to citizens, not create them. Only civil society can do that. And it is time for us, in our advanced economies and our long-standing democracies, to renew civil society within and expand it abroad.
This view moves forward a bit later in the speech:
If we want to ensure that the global economy does lift all of us, then we have to teach young people how to feel that sense of empowerment. And we have to demonstrate to them respect for one another, and to see their diversity as a sign of strength. In France, you could see that in the faces of the World Cup champions last year. You can see it in the young people in groups like S.O.S. Racism. You can see it in exhibits like “Silence the Violence.” All around France, all around my country, and increasingly around the world, we are seeing citizens, including children, understanding the role they have to play in civil society.Again it is the voluntary associations spread globally that are to define citizenship, not where you happen to live or something as quaint as Nationality. Indeed, this is to be some sort of 'global citizen' of the elite and children seeing what role they have to play by being 'empowered' by government to have a civil society. Then Hillary Clinton goes on to confound civil society with 'civility': polite regard for others. To do that requires that 'civility' be removed and 'civilly', as in another individual in the same society, be made. The excuse for that is, of course, to end bloodshed. You see, if government just 'empowers' you to have a lovely global association environment and to be just one people, then you will have nothing to worry about! All flower planting and interviews and don't mind the killing by those wanting to grab power...
This may be the hardest task that we have. How do we bring people together to live civilly with one another? Whether it is in Northern Ireland, or in the Balkans, or in the Middle East—how do we create a civil society where there has been very little evidence of that? How do we say enough to the bloodshed, whether it happens in Littleton, Colorado, or whether it happens half a world away in Indonesia?
There is a new impetus for this action, but it will require leadership. It will require us not to leave it to our governments, but to inquire into our own lives and our own professions as to how we can kindle that commitment to civil society. I’m impressed by the work of the youth counsels here in France where students in one community planted flowers and trees and worked to help clean up the neighborhood, and then taught others to do the same. Where children in another community started examining the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child—interviewing one another, organizing debates, and particularly focusing on children as victims of war—even becoming pen pals with children in Bosnia.
That is the problem with the benevolent Nannystate that 'allows' you as an individual to 'feel empowered': you don't have any power outside of government and the definition of who you are, on a global basis, are your voluntary associational groups, not your Nationality. I find it very strange that Hillary Clinton can walk into the Sorbonne to address citizenship and NOT refer to the speech given by a previous President at the Sorbonne on that topic! But to do so would require acknowledging that transnational global citizenship by association is deeply flawed. Here is a bit out of that other speech by a previous President:
Today I shall speak to you on the subject of individual citizenship, the one subject of vital importance to you, my hearers, and to me and my countrymen, because you and we a great citizens of great democratic republics. A democratic republic such as ours - an effort to realize its full sense government by, of, and for the people - represents the most gigantic of all possible social experiments, the one fraught with great responsibilities alike for good and evil. The success or republics like yours and like ours means the glory, and our failure of despair, of mankind; and for you and for us the question of the quality of the individual citizen is supreme. Under other forms of government, under the rule of one man or very few men, the quality of the leaders is all-important. If, under such governments, the quality of the rulers is high enough, then the nations for generations lead a brilliant career, and add substantially to the sum of world achievement, no matter how low the quality of average citizen; because the average citizen is an almost negligible quantity in working out the final results of that type of national greatness. But with you and us the case is different. With you here, and with us in my own home, in the long run, success or failure will be conditioned upon the way in which the average man, the average women, does his or her duty, first in the ordinary, every-day affairs of life, and next in those great occasional cries which call for heroic virtues. The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed. The stream will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation. Therefore it behooves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average citizen is kept high; and the average cannot be kept high unless the standard of the leaders is very much higher.Here we see what the source of citizenship is not *just* responsibility but DUTY. Being a citizen is not just an accumulation of responsibilities with voluntary associations, but a duty carried through in every day life for the betterment of oneself and society. Obedience to the law is paramount as is duty to civil society which is the basis for democracy and that becomes the basis for government. Leaders in a democratic republic are to be kept higher than the standards of ordinary citizens so as to put valuation on leadership and accountability to be a good leader. This is a very, very stark contrast to Hillary Clinton's view of 'empowered individuals' who seek to form society between government and economy: just be nice with your 'empowered' ability and everything else will be taken care of by government.
This other President, whom I am sure most have figured out by now, then went on to take a look at leadership:
It is well if a large proportion of the leaders in any republic, in any democracy, are, as a matter of course, drawn from the classes represented in this audience to-day; but only provided that those classes possess the gifts of sympathy with plain people and of devotion to great ideals. You and those like you have received special advantages; you have all of you had the opportunity for mental training; many of you have had leisure; most of you have had a chance for enjoyment of life far greater than comes to the majority of your fellows. To you and your kind much has been given, and from you much should be expected. Yet there are certain failings against which it is especially incumbent that both men of trained and cultivated intellect, and men of inherited wealth and position should especially guard themselves, because to these failings they are especially liable; and if yielded to, their- your- chances of useful service are at an end. Let the man of learning, the man of lettered leisure, beware of that queer and cheap temptation to pose to himself and to others as a cynic, as the man who has outgrown emotions and beliefs, the man to whom good and evil are as one. The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twister pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt. There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities - all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. The rôle is easy; there is none easier, save only the rôle of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.Leaders must not be out of touch with the citizenry and must hold the needs and ideals of that citizenry first as a prime duty as a leader. Thus leaders are to support society, not try to DEFINE IT. To those that take up more learning, then more is expected OF YOU for doing so. That is not a 'privilege' nor an 'empowerment' but a responsibility and a duty to your fellow man. When one becomes so loftily educated that good and evil have no distinction, then one has lost touch with the actual world and that of the citizens that create society.
This President, obviously, did not mince words behind the attendees at the Sorbonne and reminded them that for their gifts of education they dare not attempt to impose their lofty ideals of what society 'should be' and then disdain that society which cannot live up to such refined views. A President attempting to give a speech like that today, would be ridiculed by the same, lofty media we have today for not being 'realistic' enough to address the necessity of fine ideals over that of society's. Luckily the next, and most famous, passage deals with THEM:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who "but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier."The strength of the society is NOT in criticism or cynicism, but in CREATING it by getting dirty, muddy and doing actual *work* to create and sustain it. That is the duty of citizenship, creating the world and not looking for 'empowerment' to be given some little playthings to do by government. The speech was given by President Theodore Roosevelt, 23 APR 1910 at the Sorbonne (via the Theodore Roosevelt site).
It is that speech that puts forward that it is not the loftiness of your views nor education that give you right to criticize, but it is in the DOING that gives one the appreciation of the work so that it may be done better. Lofty cynicism that gives way to tepid views and telling others what THEY should do to uphold THEIR ideals, and doing NOTHING to demonstrate that one has any knowledge of what it is they are telling them to do. That is not Jefferson's view of criticism, which is to help create a better union by enabling us to identify flaws and find solutions to them. No the form of criticism we see today to actually denigrate and demean civil society and have its boundaries dictated by government that are the destructive ones.
Then, unlike Hillary Clinton 89 years later, President Theodore Roosevelt then took time to STATE what those things are that are necessary for being a citizen:
Such ordinary, every-day qualities include the will and the power to work, to fight at need, and to have plenty of healthy children. The need that the average man shall work is so obvious as hardly to warrant insistence. There are a few people in every country so born that they can lead lives of leisure. These fill a useful function if they make it evident that leisure does not mean idleness; for some of the most valuable work needed by civilization is essentially non-remunerative in its character, and of course the people who do this work should in large part be drawn from those to whom remuneration is an object of indifference. But the average man must earn his own livelihood. He should be trained to do so, and he should be trained to feel that he occupies a contemptible position if he does not do so; that he is not an object of envy if he is idle, at whichever end of the social scale he stands, but an object of contempt, an object of derision. In the next place, the good man should be both a strong and a brave man; that is, he should be able to fight, he should be able to serve his country as a soldier, if the need arises. There are well-meaning philosophers who declaim against the unrighteousness of war. They are right only if they lay all their emphasis upon the unrighteousness. War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity. But it is such a crime because it is unjust, not because it is a war. The choice must ever be in favor of righteousness, and this is whether the alternative be peace or whether the alternative be war. The question must not be merely, Is there to be peace or war? The question must be, Is it right to prevail? Are the great laws of righteousness once more to be fulfilled? And the answer from a strong and virile people must be "Yes," whatever the cost. Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, just as every honorable effort should always be made by the individual in private life to keep out of a brawl, to keep out of trouble; but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong.Notice that none of these are 'empowered' by government? That is because in a democratic republic, it is the individual which is the source of strength for the Nation and which brings power TO the Nation as a whole as the largess of his works and deeds. There are, indeed, places for those to opine, think, and constructively criticize, but that is done for the benefit of the society as a whole and those doing so are to recognize that they are to make society BETTER for their works of thought. And the foundations of that society is the family that is supported and has earnings so as to be provided for by its parents. To do that does require work and profit by one's own work so the measure of self-worth can be demonstrated and that finding ways to adjust that work to the necessary means can be done. That is not a role for a government to do via 'support' or 'empowerment': that is the role of the individual to sustain family and society by such work.
Finally, even more important than ability to work, even more important than ability to fight at need, is it to remember that chief of blessings for any nations is that it shall leave its seed to inherit the land. It was the crown of blessings in Biblical times and it is the crown of blessings now. The greatest of all curses in is the curse of sterility, and the severest of all condemnations should be that visited upon willful sterility. The first essential in any civilization is that the man and women shall be father and mother of healthy children, so that the race shall increase and not decrease. If that is not so, if through no fault of the society there is failure to increase, it is a great misfortune. If the failure is due to the deliberate and wilful fault, then it is not merely a misfortune, it is one of those crimes of ease and self-indulgence, of shrinking from pain and effort and risk, which in the long run Nature punishes more heavily than any other. If we of the great republics, if we, the free people who claim to have emancipated ourselves form the thraldom of wrong and error, bring down on our heads the curse that comes upon the willfully barren, then it will be an idle waste of breath to prattle of our achievements, to boast of all that we have done. No refinement of life, no delicacy of taste, no material progress, no sordid heaping up riches, no sensuous development of art and literature, can in any way compensate for the loss of the great fundamental virtues; and of these great fundamental virtues the greatest is the race's power to perpetuate the race. Character must show itself in the man's performance both of the duty he owes himself and of the duty he owes the state. The man's foremast duty is owed to himself and his family; and he can do this duty only by earning money, by providing what is essential to material well-being; it is only after this has been done that he can hope to build a higher superstructure on the solid material foundation; it is only after this has been done that he can help in his movements for the general well-being. He must pull his own weight first, and only after this can his surplus strength be of use to the general public. It is not good to excite that bitter laughter which expresses contempt; and contempt is what we feel for the being whose enthusiasm to benefit mankind is such that he is a burden to those nearest him; who wishes to do great things for humanity in the abstract, but who cannot keep his wife in comfort or educate his children.
There is, apparently, in America today, a view of citizenship that is so lofty, so removed from the common man as to see no value in Nation or in labor, itself, to sustain society. A strain of view so cynical that it can oppose war at every turn because it would prefer to live with wrongs than to ever set things *right*. Those views see civil society as the appendix to government and economies, not as the creator of them. It is very strange to see some of that appear in one couple on the National stage and then realize that they are, themselves, setting up a false dichotomy so that supporting *either* of them drifts farther and farther from the view of America and citizenship spoken about by Theodore Roosevelt.
Our choices in the near future for leadership is becoming stark, as both 'sides' of the political spectrum offer more and more for government to do so as to 'empower' individuals, either via lovely associations or through economics... and yet NEITHER speaks one bit of the fact that it is both government and economies that are the creation of citizens and the more control left in the hands of inidividuals to lead good lives, the better off everyone will be.