Saturday, April 5, 2008

McCain can orate, too

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has gotten most of the plaudits in the oratory department throughout this campaign. His speechifying has electrified rallygoers throughout the country and is responsible for most of the energy that's been injected into this cycle.

But Republican nominee-to-be John McCain showed this week that he's no rookie when it comes to turning an inspiring phrase.

On a self-styled "biography tour" to introduce (or reintroduce, if you read my earlier comments on it) himself to Americans, McCain delivered his own call for his countrymen, young and old, to invest their time, talents and treasure into this nation we call home:

McCain made his comments on his way to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he graduated, to deliver the third in a string of speeches in a week-long tour designed to reintroduce him to a wide, general election audience and remind them of his long military history.

In his speech on a wind-swept outdoor pavilion overlooking the football stadium at the U.S. Naval Academy, the one-time Vietnam prisoner of war issued a challenge.

"If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you are disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them," he said.

He said he hopes more Americans will enlist in the military or run for office.

"But there are many public causes where your service can make our country a stronger, better one than we inherited. Wherever there is a hungry child, a great cause exists. ... Wherever there is suffering, a great cause exists."
With the range and depth of problems facing the United States, it's easy to become disillusioned and cynical -- and many people do. But that's why I love this kind of appeal to service to the country and its people, especially when it comes from someone who has such a long history of service himself: It's a reminder of what makes America great -- the people, and what they can do, themselves.