Monday, May 21, 2012

President Obama will be delivering the valedictory speech today at Joplin High School. If I were writing his speech for him, here's what I would have him say....

 One year ago, here in Joplin, Mo., you folks felt a fury of nature that unleashed unwarranted and wanton destruction and death . It all happened in the blink of an eye, and then it was over, and you were left to face the consequences of nature's fury. You buried your dead. You grieved their loss, and you determined to rise and rebuild in the memory of those who had fallen, and you have done, and are continuing to do just that. It is amazing to see how life can change on a dime, and secure worlds can be turned into chaos with barely a moments notice. As we travel forward on life's pathways, these are often the challenges we face. Disaster, grief, despair, momentary hopelessness..are all a part of life's lessons. The important thing to do is to learn those lessons, as you have, and then, to move forward. Life's greatest lesson is perhaps to never ever quit, no matter what adversity comes your way. We must rise to the challenge that confronts us. You here in Joplin understand that.     And you are not alone, because you see, Joplin has become   a metaphor for America. It is being rebuilt, not from the top down, but from the bottom up. The storm that decimated Joplin , and ripped the heart of the community asunder was the kind of storm that comes along every fifty years. Our financial storm of 2009 and 2010 was not unlike the Joplin tornado, our financial markets were collapsing, our housing market took its deepest plunge in history, and our auto industry nearly folded. We didn't take it lying down, we responded.      In government , you essentially have two choices . Don't just stand there, do something, or don't just do something stand there. We chose to act ..to act to save the auto industry when a free market approach would have meant its certain demise, and today, I can report to you that the American Auto industry is back, and thriving! That comeback is nothing less than miraculous.  Kind of like the Walgreen pharmacy on Rangeline. It was virtually in ruins, but it stayed open, and was rebuilt brick by brick, and is today thriving again .      When I assumed office three years ago , an economic disaster of major proportion was happening and decisive action was needed to bring us back from the brink of the financial abyss. Together, we took those steps, and it has made all the difference, just as together, you took steps to bring back Joplin, and your efforts are abundantly evident today.      Make no mistake, Joplin is not quite there yet, and neither is America, but there is no turning back from what , together we have learned. We can't move forward by moving backward. We can't resurrect a community or a nation by sitting idly by, and waiting for market forces to correct the situation as some have advocated.  Recovery, as you understand here in Joplin,  Missouri , recovery.... happens when you boldly face your challenges, and move determinedly forward, not cower and retreat. You don't get out of a hole until you stop digging. And you don't get out of a hole   by retreating to the policies that put you in the hole to begin with. You folks in Joplin understand that.     We need to harness the spirit of Joplin to refit America, and with your help, and with your can do spirit and never never quit mentality as our model, we will do just that!      So, thank you Joplin, you have shown us the way! As Joplin rises from the ashes of a natural calamity, so too will America rise from the ashes of a self induced and man made calamity which has shaken the very foundations of our free enterprise system.  As you graduate today, and walk out of these high school halls with confidence and optimism, you will find an America that needs your strength, your hope, and your vision for a better tomorrow.  Let's move forward Joplin. And let's move forward America!