People have asked me over the years what I would like to do if I wasn’t a religious educator. I give them three ambitions or interests. A college basketball play by play announcer, an OBGYN, or a speech writer. I know that’s a broad professional range. Ask my boys about the first interest, my wife about the second one, and keep reading about my third interest.
First, a few thoughts about my attempt. I think president-elect Trump should deliver a very short inaugural address. George Washington’s second inaugural was only four sentences. I don’t think president-elect Trump should be that brief. But I do think he should follow the counsel that FDR gave to his son before a speaking engagement: “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”
Speaking of FDR, his fourth inaugural was just over 500 words. Lincoln’s second inaugural was just over 700 words. Most of the others were quite long. Trump should come in under 1000 words. I think for most part, people will be watching and listening how he says his words, rather than what he says. The shorter and more sincere his speech, the more people will actually listen to his words. A shorter, thoughtful, and personal speech will be to his advantage.
For that reason I don’t think he needs to regurgitate campaign rhetoric. I don’t think he needs to explain policy during his address. I think he needs to genuinely tell people he is serious about getting to work and leave listeners with an assurance that is what he and his administration are going to do.
I hope the inaugural speech is simple and heartfelt. Here is my attempt of an inaugural speech for Donald Trump:
In Revolutionary rhetoric, patriot Thomas Paine wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Events of our day resurrect the words.
For many days I have been briefed on trying situations and trying issues that concern all Americans. There are solutions for these situations and issues. There are some serious tasks before me—and before you. Continue reading