Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How'd You Like to be That Speech Writer?

The inauguration is today.

I have to say that I have never been under the pressure to write something as monumental as an inauguration speech. Think about it. We quote Washington--and both of Lincoln's. Kennedy is quoted left and right as well. This is the speech that sets the tone for the future of the administration. Lincoln's second was down right prophetical.

And here is a moment that demands a certain gravitas.
1. The first African American president. That demands something in and of itself. Automatically compared to brilliant speakers such as Martin Luther King Jr.--especially when brought in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
2. A well-spoken man coming up on a crisis comparable to the Great Depression's start. Hello Roosevelt, fireside chats, and 'days of infamy'-type speeches.
3. Following a man who was known for his speeches--and even had books written on the subject: Bushisms. No flubbing allowed.

Can you imagine, as a writer, being the one to have to put the words together for something like that? It's not quite as important as, say, Gettysburg or December 7's Days of Infamy, but it's still historically significant. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

I'm sure Obama will be doing the lion's share of the writing, but nowadays there are advisors and whatnot to water down some of the more stirring things. But I hope it's stirring. I like to be moved.

2 comments:

  1. Yeah, no pressure there, huh?

    I, personally, don't think it was his most inspirational speech. I do think he got an important message across, though.

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  2. Yeah, I'm pretty much with you. Most truly inspirational speeches are notoriously short and I think he stretched a little long.

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