Thrilled to Hear the Words of My President


We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you…

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

Phrases become cliches because they vividly express something profound. “We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist” one day soon will become a cliche. Today it is simply perfect.

The imagery is so compelling, the symbolism so precise, the message so important, that it’s hard to believe we have not heard it before. “Be quiet, and unclench your fist,” wrote Robert Browning, capturing half of the phrase and less of its power. But apparently he left it to a more modern wordsmith to make the inspiring connection.

Godspeed, Mr. President, and may you govern as well as you speak.

9 thoughts on “Thrilled to Hear the Words of My President

  1. I was also impressed with his speech – there were no easily-forgotten throw-away expressions like most political speeches. I also like that he puts the burden not just on private people or the government to fix the problems of the country, but both since both are responsible for the situation we’re in. I hope it marks a trend in America.

    Thank you for the post and your blog, I appreciate your point of view.

  2. Have to agree with Michael. The messes we have now are the fault and responsibility of all of us, whether we participated directly or indirectly. Stop whining, suck it up, and let’s get to work. :))

  3. “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” oh, if only our enemies were so rational.

    good job on your blog; it’s one of my favorites.

  4. stellar, you made my day, thanks! And I hope and pray that the Islamic totalitarian societies will collapse from within like the Soviets did. But it may take decades.

    Lori, great to see you. I’m reminded of another blogger whose battle cry was “suck it up”…

  5. I liked the “unclench your fist” line as well, but projecting our standards of reasoning on those who don’t possess it has rarely worked.

    I’ve been hearing, non-stop, from TV newscasters and pundits alike (getting impossible to tell them apart anymore) that we need to work together as Americans to support the man who is “president of all of us”. Where was this talk for the last 8 years?!? Wasn’t his predecssor the “president of all of us” too? Now if someone won with only 43% of the people who bothered to vote at all… ;)

  6. I did not vote for Obama. I did watch all of the inauguration, as well as the coverage thereafter.

    I do not intend to play nice. However, I will not do like bitter liberals and hate the president just for the sake of hating.

    According to the St. Peterburg Times and several other sources, Obama made over 500 promises during his presidential campaign – more than the previous two campaigns combined.

    He and his administration deserve the utmost of scrutiny.

  7. Chris and Paul, I agree that far too many people on the left spent most of the last eight years exhibiting the kind of blind hatred of the president that came to be known as Bush Derangement Syndrome. There are already some signs on the right of emerging Obama Derangement Syndrome, but I hope and expect it will never become as bad as the hatred and disrespect of the office that Bush faced regularly.

    I didn’t vote for him either, but since the day he was elected I’ve made a point of referring to him as “my president.” Because he is, and it’s important.

  8. That line “… we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” filled me with hope that this administration really will be different.
    This might very well become the most memorable line from the speech but only if the U.S. first lives up to the promise. Reflecting on that promise I was disappointed to hear of Obama’s decision to continue drone attacks on Pakistan.

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