The “Religious Right” may characterize this as a matter of religious freedom. But where in any religion, especially Christianity, does it even suggest that treating some people as less than others is okay?Read More
When Abraham Lincoln won the Republican presidential nomination in 1860, one newspaper editor demanded, “Who will write this ignorant man’s state papers?”
As we prepare to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, we 21st century Americans find such a question laughable. But in 1860 there was good reason to look on Lincoln as–if not an ignorant man–at least a man who lacked formal education.Read More »
We all use metaphors to make a point. Speechwriters adore a good metaphor: get the right one and the speaker sounds wise, folksy, sassy and astute all in one go.
The trouble with such metaphors is that they capture your imagination but deaden your brain.Read More »
The echo chamber created by Washington’s beltway wonders how seriously New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential plans have been harmed by revelations that his henchmen took revenge on Democrats by causing traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge. It is far too early to tell, but based on current information it is fairly easy to shift perspective and see how this could accelerate rather than impede his political career.Read More »
We live in a media-marinated society in which no problem is too large, too complex or too nuanced to be completely resolved in 60 minutes, including commercial breaks.Read More »
The greatest American civil rights leader of my lifetime was a South African. I say this not just because Nelson Mandela’s fight for equality and justice followed a path blazed by Henry David Thoreau and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I say this because he carried the torch for freedom at a time when it was under siege throughout the world. He held it high and with dignity, never letting it be extinguished by violence and recrimination.Read More »
I’m giving a workshop for diplomats on speechwriting, with material I’ve used dozens of times. But this first day hasn’t gone well in Hanoi.
Yes, Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, the country that once consumed me and my friends, then mostly left our minds in 1975, shortly after Marine helicopters lifted the last refugees and Americans off the roof of the US embassy. The country that in the past four decades has tripled in population, reduced poverty, and, not without missteps, created a nimble hybrid of communism and capitalism that’s brought 6 percent economic growth a year since 2000.Read More »
The numerous and lengthy retrospectives on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination last week omitted a detail that is of particular interest to speechwriters, and one that should make us proud. On that terrible November 22nd, it was a speechwriter who helped to calm a distraught nation and smooth the transition of power from JFK to our new president, Lyndon Johnson.Read More »