Today, President Barack Obama will address the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Frankly, I really don’t care what he has to say there, because based on his track record, I’m sure it will be another iteration of his “blame America first” ideology, tinged with additional apologetics for the dubious view that it’s a YouTube video that produced the recent increase in Middle East turmoil.
Another thing I can pretty much guarantee is that he’s going to speak too long. That’s a common problem with politicians, which is particularly on my mind as I was just in Gettysburg this past weekend. President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is masterful because of both its subject and its brevity.
So, were I the President of the United States, trying to keep it as pithy and inspiring as possible, here’s what I’d say to the United Nations, if it was me standing there today. I think I’d probably set an all-time record for UN walkouts.
Mr. General Secretary, assembled heads of state or government, ambassadors, and distinguished guests:
I stand before you here today, ever grateful that I am here as the President of the United States solely by the consent of the governed, rather than by heredity, force of arms, or corruption. Today, the United Nations assembled here stands not for what brings us together as humans, but what sets us in conflict diplomatically, economically, or militarily.
I look now around this assembly, and I can list off nation after nation that oppresses their people, stifles their development, and whose leaders assume or seize power for power’s sake. The United Nations, born out of a six-year world war to end tyranny and oppression, has instead become tyranny and oppression’s legitimizer. The United Nations places representatives of governments who deny women equal rights on its human rights council. The United Nations gives equal time to governments who would happily see their neighbors erased from humanity – or who deny the very history that led to the formation of this body.
The United States is an imperfect society. The Framers of our Constitution two hundred and twenty-five years ago knew that perfection was unattainable, as they noted their intent “to form a more perfect union”, rather than embrace utopianism. We will continue to be imperfect, but never forget this: the United States will always remain on the side of liberty and freedom.
The United States will prefer free trade over cartels and tariffs.
The United States will embrace those who wish to govern and be governed, rather than those who would subjugate their people.
And where the United Nations fails to uphold its own resolutions upon those who violate the same, expect the United States to enforce them as necessary, if necessary unilaterally, as we have done in the past.
Many of our fellow nations assembled here are envious of the United States’ success, of our prosperity, of our riches. They say we have stolen what isn’t ours. This is a damnable lie. If you envy the United States, seek not to limit or destroy us, but instead to join in how we have gained our success. We’ve even given you the blueprint.
Declare and accept that the people have unalienable rights, most importantly that of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Do not force your people to accept a particular religious belief, nor persecute those who do not believe the same or at all.
Do not control or limit the speech of your people, the press, or their ability to assemble peaceably and protest their government.
Be brave enough to allow your people to defend themselves against those who would oppress or do them harm, including if necessary, from your own rule and tyranny.
Do not rule over your people by placing your armies or police among them, nor violate their homes and safety without just cause.
Apply laws and punishments equitably and fairly to all your people, and reject the tyrant’s whim to dictate guilt or innocence rather than rely on citizens and juries to secure justice for all.
Remember that ultimately it is not you, the leaders, who empower and bestow rights upon the people, but the people who retain all rights except those which they explicitly grant to the governors.
Those are the basics, and you can probably figure out where to look for the rest. Have the courage to empower your people, let them be free, and your nations will succeed.
In closing, I will speak to those around the world who seek greater freedom and liberty. The United States is with you. If you choose to pursue your liberty by coming to the United States, all we ask is that you respect and obey our laws, both as you come and after you arrive. If your hope is rather to bring the prosperity and freedom of America to your homes and homelands, please be assured that the United States is still prepared to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
May God continue to bless the freedom-loving people of the world, and by His grace, may you all truly be free.