Speeches

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The Rev. Carl Scovel, minister emeritus of King’s Chapel in Boston, and recipient of the UUA’s highest honor, the Distinquished Service Award, gave an amazing speech delivered before the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 23, 1994. This is known as the Berry Street Lecture of 1994.

I knew Carl back in the mid-1950’s when we both attended the Gannet Club, a club for singles, at the Arlington Street Church in Boston. He was a serious young man, very knowledgeable and headed for the ministry even then. He had grown up in China as his parents were missionaries there. I remember once riding in a car with him and another bright young intellectual by the name of Karl Nelson (not sure of that first name), going to some club function. They were discussing 19th century religious people, and referred to someone as “the last of the Transcendentalists”. I was very impressed with their knowledge, and that expression stuck in my craw. I wonder whatever happened to that Nelson fellow.

Here is a inspiring excerpt from Carl’s lecture:

We also know that spirituality is not simply the product of fear, frustration, or bad digestion. We know that our yearning for meaning and fulfillment is given in our very being. So! Follow that yearning, need, reaching to its source, to our creation, to our createdness and surmise with me, if you will, that this yearning, this reaching, this need, is no accident, no psychic atavism, but a reflection of that reality from which we come.

The Great Surmise says simply this: At the heart of all creation lies a good intent, a purposeful goodness, from which we come, by which we live our fullest, to which we shall at last return. And this is the supreme reality of our lives.

This goodness is ultimate—not fate nor freedom, not mystery, energy, order nor finitude, but this good intent in creation is our source, our center, and our destiny. And with everything else we know in life, the strategies and schedules, the technology and tasks, with all we must know of freedom, fate and finitude, of energy and order and mystery, we must know this, first of all, the love from which we were born, which bears us now, and which will receive us at the end. Our work on earth is to explore, enjoy, and share this goodness, to know it without reserve or hesitation. “Too much of a good thing,” said Mae West, “is wonderful.” Sound doctrine.

Do you see how the Great Surmise stands all our logic and morality on its ear? Neither duty nor suffering nor progress nor conflict—not even survival—is the aim of life, but joy. Deep, abiding, uncompromised joy.

I would like to thank the Rev. Richard Beal for providing this excerpt and telling us about Carl Scovel’s Berry Street lecture.

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I watched it last night and was impressed with his strong delivery and the high resonant pitch of his voice. Quite an oration. He seemed to be saying something too, not enough to fill the economic hole we’re in, but sufficient to create 1.9 million jobs according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. His hair might not be on fire, but it’s definitely smoking according to Paul Krugman. Oh I know, he’s done a lot of bad things like not closing Gitmo, not approving the new EPA standards, and many more: see Drew Westen’s NYT article What Happened to Obama?. Of course the Republicans won’t pass his Jobs bill, but at least he seems to be going down fighting. Let’s be optimistic and hope that his efforts might at least keep the senate from going Republican in 2012. Fat chance?

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Here it all is, that great night of November 4, 2008, Barack Obama Elected 44th US President, a Daily Kos video by Jed Lewison:

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Here’s something I never caught on the MSM this August during the Democratic National Convention: it’s Dan Rather blasting the MSM, caught by that great little alternative media, Link TV. Juan Cole included this today on his blog. Note the first three comments on Juan’s link. The first attacks Dan from the right, a fairly common MSM type attack. The third attacks him from the left: Chomsky has it all! The second comment I’d agree with. For almost 200 more comments, see the YouTube here. Juan says “If media consolidation is the problem then Anti-Trust actions would make more sense as a response”, rather than simply courage which Dan is advocating.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o25T0BspJ7c[/youtube]

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Look at this! Obama in Manassas, Virginia, last night!
Fired up and ready to go!

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Yesterday, September 12, 2008, Senator Barack Obama spoke in Dover, NH. This has been covered by Daily Kos here. Below is a five minute video of his presentation, and here are a couple key paragraphs, taken from that Daily Kos posting:

“[McCain’s] plan gives absolutely nothing to about 100 million American households. I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.

And my opponent can’t make that pledge, and here’s why. For the first time in American history, John McCain wants to tax your health-care benefits. Apparently, Senator McCain doesn’t think it’s enough that health care premiums have doubled, he thinks that you should have to pay taxes on them, too. That’s a $3.6 trillion tax increase potentially on middle-class families. And that would eventually leave tens of millions of you paying higher taxes or losing your benefits. That’s his idea of change.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aa4ipe4fhU[/youtube]

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Brian Donohue posts a video, Barack On Target, which shows Barack Obama’s speech yesterday in which he fights back with words like the following: I don’t care what they say about me but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and Swift-boat politics. Enough is enough!

In another post of Brian’s, John “I’m Coming in My Depends” McCain, he provides a link to a great sequence from the Daily Show in which Jon Stuart really rips into McCain’s performances at the Republican National Convention and elsewhere. Well worth watching!

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I think Bob Herbert of the NYT is right on this morning when he says the whole Sarah Palin thing is meant to be a distraction to draw attention from the success of the Democrat’s convention and Barack Obama’s great speech. Here’s a key paragraph from Herbert’s op-ed:

Here’s the deal: Palin is the latest G.O.P. distraction. She’s meant to shift attention away from the real issue of this campaign — the awful state of the nation after eight years of Republican rule. The Republicans are brilliant at distractions. Willie Horton was a distraction. The chatter about gays, guns and God has been a long-running distraction. And we all remember the Swift-boat campaign.

He goes on to say:

Respectful criticism of Sarah Palin is fine. But the great issues of this campaign loom like giant redwoods over the pathetic weeds of politics as usual and the myriad distractions that have turned one presidential election after another into a national embarrassment.

Herbert also uses pertinent quotes from Bill Clinton’s great speech at the Democratic National Convention, and even Roosevelt’s great depression oratory. Keeping our eyes and hearts on the real problems facing this country without being dragged away into constant discussion of distractions. like Sarah Palin, is the challenge!

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ENOUGH!

Here’s a 2-minute highlight from Barack Obama’s great speech last night. How about at best a 10% chance on change from John McCain? Possible, but unlikely and that’s bending over way backwards!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaF-gon9Y0E[/youtube]
Eight years is ENOUGH, ENOUGH, ENOUGH!!
Oh, and incidentally,
Gallup Daily: Obama Moves Ahead, 48% to 42% before the speech!
Here are the awesome sentences recapturing his 2004 theme:
“The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.”
No way. No how. No McCain. — Hillary Clinton

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Forty five years ago this day, August 28, 1963, it was, I have a dream!:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbUtL_0vAJk[/youtube]
Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, We are Free At Last!!!
Barack, this is your moment!

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