Jul 16, 2009

“There is simply no way to avoid sacrifice.... President Cancels Address on Energy; No Reason Offered.”

Five Presidents together celebrating 30 years of lip service on energy independence!

New York Times -  The Times blared, "President Cancels Address on Energy; No Reason Offered."
Some of the notables spoke in apocalyptic terms.

For 10 days a country already speechless with rage had a leader who said nothing....

...then on July 15 — 30 years ago today — at 10 p.m., President Carter and 100 million people finally faced each other across that familiar Oval Office desk. What they saw and heard was unlike any moment they had experienced from their 39th president. Speaking with rare force, with inflections flowing from meanings he felt deeply, Jimmy Carter called for the "most massive peacetime commitment" in our history to develop alternative fuels.

Contrary to later spin, the speech was extremely popular. The White House was flooded with positive calls. Viewers polled while watching found that the speech inspired them as it unfolded.

The real reason is probably that there was never any way the Jimmy Carter we all know would avoid saying:
"There is simply no way to avoid sacrifice." Where the speeches of Reagan and Barack Obama evoke the beauty of dreams, President Carter insisted on the realities of responsibility and the need for radical change. Mr. Carter's sense of our own accountability, his warnings about the debilitating effects of self-centered divisiveness were the speech's true heresies.

They are also the very elements that keep it relevant today.

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