Our current issue features a short, provocative piece by David Gelernter, arguing that too often Republican politicians fail to speak plainly and forcefully to the American people. Based on his remarkable performance during the 2010 campaign and his fine speech on election night, Florida senator Marco Rubio is one of the few politicians who didn’t need David’s wake-up call. Now, with his maiden address yesterday on the floor of the Senate, Rubio has provided a Gelernter-like example for his colleagues in, or aspiring to, high office. So read Gelernter, and then read (and watch) Rubio.
Meanwhile, here are some highlights from Rubio’s speech yesterday:
I come from a hard-working and humble family. One that was neither wealthy nor connected. Yet I consider myself a child of privilege. I grew up blessed in two important ways. I was blessed to be raised in a strong and stable family.
And I was blessed to be born here in the United States of America.
America began from a powerful truth – that our rights do not come from our government. Our rights, they come from God.
Government’s job, is to protect our God-given rights. And here this Republic has done that better than any other government ever.
America is not perfect. It took a bloody civil war to free over 4 million African Americans who lived enslaved. And it would take another hundred years after that before they found true equality under the law.
But since her earliest days, America has inspired people all over the world. It gave them hope that one day their own countries would be a place like this.
But many decided they could not wait. And from everywhere, they came here to pursue their dreams and work to leave their children better off than themselves. The result was the American miracle....
But the American dream was never just about how much money you made. It is also about something that typifies my home state of Florida: the desire of every parent to leave their children with a better life....
It is the story of the people who cleaned our office last night. They work hard, so they can send their kids to college. It is the story of the people who served your lunch today. They work hard so that one day their children will have the chance to own a business.
It is the story of a bartender and a maid in Florida, whose son now serves here in this Senate, and who proudly gives his testimony as a firsthand witness of the greatness of this land....
Becoming a world power was never America’s plan. But that is exactly what the American economic miracle made her.
Most great powers have used their strength to conquer other nations. But America is different.
For us, power also came with a sense that to those that much is given, much is expected. A sense that with the blessings God bestowed upon our land, came the responsibility to make the world a better place.
In the 20th century, that is exactly what America did....
Now we find ourselves in a new century....
Indeed, we do stand now at a turning point in our history. One where there are only two ways forward for us. We will either bring on another American century, or we are doomed to witness America’s decline.
A new American century is within our reach.
There is nothing wrong with our people. Americans haven’t forgotten how to start a business. They haven’t run out of good ideas. We Americans are as great as we have ever been. But our government is broken.
If we can give America a government that lives within its means, the American economy will give us a government whose means are considerable. A government that can afford to pay for the things a government should do, because it does not waste money on things it should not do....
There is no reason to be afraid. Our story, the story of America, is not the story of a nation that’s never had problems. It is the story of a nation that faced its challenges and solved them.
Our story, the story of the American people, is not the story of a people who always got it right. It is the story of a people who, in the end, got it right.
Let us never forget who we Americans are.
Every single one of us is the descendant of a go-getter. Of dreamers and believers. Of men and women who took risk and made sacrifices because they wanted to leave their children better off than themselves....
We are still the great American people. And the only thing standing in the way of solving our problems is our willingness to do so.
Whether we do so or not is of great consequence. And not just to us, but also to the whole world. I know, that some say that because times are tough here at home, we can no
longer worry about these things going on abroad. That when it comes to world events, America needs to mind its own business.
But whether we like it or not, there is virtually no aspect of our daily lives here in America that is not directly influenced by the world that lives around us. We can choose to ignore global problems, but those problems will not ignore us....
Almost half a century later America is still the only watchman on that wall of world freedom. And there is still no one else to take our place....
What will the world look like if America declines?
Well, today all over the world, people are being forced to accept a familiar lie, that the price for their security is their liberty.
If America declines, who will serve as living proof that liberty, security and prosperity are all possible together?
If I could sum up in a phrase Rubio’s message and example: Si se puede!