The State of the Union, 2005
by David Roberson
Special to TLE
[The following is an excerpt from the State of the Union Address that
President Al Gore will deliver in the year 2005.]
... and finally tonight, my fellow Americans, I'd like to speak about
an issue of grave personal concern to me. It concerns the continued
complaints by subversives and anti-government agitators who continue
to whisper that this great nation, the United States of America, is
somehow growing less free.
Less free? The idea is ludicrous, yet we still hear it feverishly
muttered by the lunatic fringe. Yes, despite the fact that their
charges are proven false again and again, our nation's internal
enemies oppose each new progressive step with wild ranting about some
imagined lessening of freedom.
We heard that charge back in 2000, when my noble predecessor,
President Bill Clinton, echoed my call for owners of firearms to be
licensed and to carry special identity cards. Yet no freedoms were
actually eroded when the Gun Owner Identification Act was passed in
2001, the first year of my administration.
We heard the charge again in 2002, when, under Vice President Diane
Feinstein's bold leadership, Congress narrowly approved a sensible
amendment requiring that gun owners also wear special yellow patches
on their clothing. Again, no freedom was lost - instead, we had
greater freedom to know who among us who might be extremists with the
potential to wreak armed havoc on our precious and innocent children.
And we heard the same baseless charge just last year, when the great
Senator Charles Schumer led a courageous stand to strengthen the Gun
Owner Identification Act by creating a national database of all gun
owners, and requiring that each gun owner be tattooed on the forearm
with a special federal ID number.
And have these simple, common sense steps lessened our freedom?
Indeed not. Our freedom to live in communities and neighborhoods
where people do not own guns is greater than ever, and it will grow
even stronger as those who insist on owning guns are relocated into
the special federal enclaves we are building for them. There, with
their registered single-shot firearms checked daily by courageous
agents of the BATF, gun owners can continue their ridiculous hobby,
once they pass the appropriate battery of psychological tests and
present adequate medical proof that no member of their family for the
past two generations suffered from any mental disorders. And those
gun owners who secure appropriate personal liability coverage will
even be able to apply for the right to purchase ammunition for their
firearms, in case some company ever produces ammunition that passes
the stringent consumer product safety laws my administration
implemented in 2003.
Less freedom? My administration's reasonable approach to gun safety
is partly responsible for many of the other freedoms we enjoy today.
A logical outgrowth of the success of the Gun Owner Identification
Ace was this year's Voter Identification Act. That important
legislation now safeguards the rights of citizens by assuring that
they have documented proof of appropriate federal training -- offered
every third year in most state capitals for an appropriate fee --
before they face the responsibility of voting. Another giant step for
freedom was the Internet User Identification Act, which created the
federal database on all individual use of the Internet, therefore
helping the FBI's new Committee for State Security fight terrorism
and child pornography. And I have no doubt that the eagerly waited
Health Care User Identification Bill, which will require adequate
documentation of an individual's need for health care services, will
receive strong support in Congress when it is introduced later this
month by Senator Hillary Clinton.
No, our country's freedoms are not being lessened. Indeed not! Our
freedom to have our government protect us as our leaders see fit, our
freedom to let our guiding elite make the hard choices, and our
freedom to follow laws crafted by the most qualified government
officials -- these important freedoms have never been greater than
they are today.
In closing, I'd like you to think back to a particularly divisive
debate here in our country just a few years ago. As you'll recall,
there were howls of protest from reactionary right-wing elements when
I proposed that the motto "E Pluribus Unum" be removed from our
nation's money. As I noted at the time, the motto "Out of Many, One"
certainly emphasized our nation's proud heritage as a melting pot for
people of all cultures. But that tired and outdated expression of the
idea -- in a dead language, no less -- was really inconsistent with
the image we wanted to project of a modern, vibrant nation embracing
its diversity but celebrating its unity. Now that we've had a chance
to get used to it, I believe all correct-thinking people will agree
that our new motto -- "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuehrer" -- is a more
modern and more accurate way of expressing our national vision of
unity. Certainly Vice President Feinstein and I think so.
But our national debate over that change in motto was not merely
symbolic. No, I believe historians of the future will look back on
that argument as a milestone in our development as a nation, for it
encapsulates the way our view of freedom has changed from the quaint,
outdated notion of individual freedom to the more modern view of
freedom for the society as a whole: Freedom from the burden of
distracting tasks better done by those more qualified. Freedom from
having to make difficult decisions. Freedom from choice.
Tomorrow, I will return to the White House to resume work toward the
goals I have proposed tonight for my second term as your president.
My wife Tipper will return to her work of helping ensure that your
government continues to protect you and your children from exposure
to unwholesome music, indecent images, and any ideas or concepts that
our trained government experts know would be unhealthy for you. I
know that you and members of your family will also go about your own
work, secure in the blessings of freedom granted by your government,
and mindful of the words of the great philosopher who reminded us so
well, "Work Makes You Free."
David Roberson is a writer living in Lincoln County, North Carolina.