A Timeless Political Speech

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Wouldn't it be handy for White House contenders — and anyone else running for elected office — to have the perfect, all-purpose political speech? Scott Simon reads a bit of oratory that does the trick.


Okay, Elaine, cue the crowd.

(Soundbite of people cheering)

SIMON: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

It is a great and undeserved privilege to address such an audience as I see before me. At no previous time in the history of civilization have greater problems confronted and challenged the ingenuity of man's intellect than now. Let us look around us. What do we see on the horizon? Whither are we drifting? Under what mist of clouds does the future stand secure? The crucial test for that solution of all these intricate problems is the sheer and forceful application of those immutable laws, which have always guided the hand of man, groping as it were for some faint beacon light for his hopes and aspirations.

What then is our duty? Shall we continue to drift? No. With all the impetus of my being, I hurl back the message. No, drifting must stop. We must press onwards and upwards toward the ultimate goal to which we all aspire.

But I cannot conclude my remarks, dear friends. That touching briefly upon a subject, which I know is steeped in your very consciousness, and I refer to that spirit, which gleams in the eyes of the newborn babe; that animates the toiling masses; that sways all the hosts of humanity. Without this energizing principle, all commerce, trade and industry will perish as surely as the crimson sunset follows the golden sunshine.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

(Soundbite of people cheering)

SIMON: An all-purpose political speech suitable for any candidate of any political persuasion at anytime. "Any Event" was written by Andrew Parker Nevin, Princeton class of '95 - 1895. It first appeared in the Princeton Alumni magazine, October 28th, 1905.

And thanks very much to our listener Donna DeLay(ph) for sending it our way.

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NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Correction Feb. 22, 2008

The audio cites an erroneous source for the speech. It was published in the May 13, 1927 edition of the Princeton Alumni Weekly.



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