He's Not My President?

Thoreau: "Government is Best Which Governs Least"

King Obama I

King Obama Rev2There is much to parse through in President Obama’s speech today given in Cairo, Egypt, but I wanted to start by looking at the use of the word I 53 times in his speech.  One would think that when a Head of State was speaking to the people of another land regarding political policy, he or she would not use the word I nearly as often as the word we or our administration or our country, etc.  However, President Obama used the word I 53 times seemingly an excessive amount, so let us take every sentence where he used the word I and place them here, so we can look at them and deduce how often the word we or a similar word could have been used.

I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions.

I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt.

I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight.

No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point.

But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors.

That is what I will try to do – to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims.

As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story.

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.

And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations – to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God.

And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam.

I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11.

I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.

I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq’s sovereignty is its own.

That is why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August.

I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.

Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich.

That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires.

Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not.

That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.

And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq.

But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose.

I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

The sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights.

I know there is debate about this issue.

I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.

I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles.

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.

I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory.

But I also know that human progress cannot be denied.

I am emphasizing such investments within my country.

And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio.

The issues that I have described will not be easy to address.

I know there are many – Muslim and non-Muslim – who question whether we can forge this new beginning.

And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world.

We do not have Kings in America, we democratically elect Presidents whom are to follow and adhere to a Constitutional Republic.  When you read all of the passages above where he uses the word I, how often is he speaking for  you?  Our liberal friends will remind us that he uses I numerously in this speech because of his unique and enlightened upbringing, and we do not begrudge them their insight; however, our leader, our President (not our King) is to speak for all Americans, for American tradition and for American Exceptionalism.  To do any less is to be a Demagogue.  Americans reject demagogues, and long ago, we rejected a King.  What we need is a President who speaks to the World on behalf of and in the interest of the American people.

Update:  It’s also been discovered that in his GM bankruptcy speech he used “I” 34 times.  See complete story here.

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Written by KJ Kaufman

June 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm

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