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The Voice Of Prophecy — Why Now?
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The Voice Of Prophecy

The Republicans called it the “Malaise Speech”, but it was actually titled “Crisis of Confidence” and was delivered by President Jimmy Carter on July 15th, 1979.

An excerpt from the text:

We ourselves are the same Americans who just ten years ago put a man on the Moon. We are the generation that dedicated our society to the pursuit of human rights and equality. And we are the generation that will win the war on the energy problem and in that process rebuild the unity and confidence of America.

We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I’ve warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.

All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin to solve our energy problem.

Of course the voters chose the easy path which has led to exactly where Jimmy said it would. He learned one of the hard realities of American politics: voters don’t reward people who tell them the truth.


1 John B. { 05.02.10 at 9:18 am }

Great post, Bryan. I’ve said it before, and probably here as elsewhere. Jimmy Carter treated the American public like adults. He tried to educate and reason with us. For his trouble we elected Ronald Reagan, who lied to us like children, pretended our energy profligacy could go on forever, and left the nation so much materially and morally worse off that we continue to suffer the consequences even today.

2 Bryan { 05.02.10 at 11:44 am }

After a disaster, people don’t like it when they are reminded that they were told not to do it because it would be a disaster.

Dr. Rice’s phrase, “I don’t think anybody could have predicted …”, is perhaps the ultimate expression of denial in American politics. It is constantly heard after every disaster, and is followed by mountains of evidence that not just some indication of a vague possible disaster was predicted, but an in-depth description of the exact disaster that has occurred.

Whether it was 9/11, Katrina, the Iraq War, the economy, or the Gulf oil gusher, all of these things were detailed in research with footnotes before they happened, and the Village does it best to ignore all the warnings.

How many of the “opinion makers” who show up on TV and the newspaper op-ed pages has actually gotten anything right lately? The penalty for being right is that no one wants to listen to you.