10.23.2020 – powerful forces

powerful forces
will take us beyond the bounds
of imagination

Adapted from the line:

Within your lifetime powerful forces, already loosed, will take us toward a way of life beyond the realm of our experience, almost beyond the bounds of our imagination.

The line comes from the Commencement Address at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on May 22, 1964, delivered by President Lyndon Johnson.

It is an address known to history as the “Great Society Speech.”

According to Wikipedia the Great Society was “New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, and transportation were launched during this period. The program and its initiatives were subsequently promoted by him and fellow Democrats in Congress in the 1960s and years following. The Great Society in scope and sweep resembled the New Deal domestic agenda of Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

LBJ said:

Within your lifetime powerful forces, already loosed, will take us toward a way of life beyond the realm of our experience, almost beyond the bounds of our imagination.

For better or for worse, your generation has been appointed by history to deal with those problems and to lead America toward a new age. You have the chance never before afforded to any people in any age. You can help build a society where the demands of morality, and the needs of the spirit, can be realized in the life of the Nation.

So, will you join in the battle to give every citizen the full equality which God enjoins and the law requires, whatever his belief, or race, or the color of his skin?

Will you join in the battle to give every citizen an escape from the crushing weight of poverty?

Will you join in the battle to make it possible for all nations to live in enduring peace — as neighbors and not as mortal enemies?

Will you join in the battle to build the Great Society, to prove that our material progress is only the foundation on which we will build a richer life of mind and spirit?

There are those timid souls who say this battle cannot be won; that we are condemned to a soulless wealth. I do not agree. We have the power to shape the civilization that we want. But we need your will, your labor, your hearts, if we are to build that kind of society.

Those who came to this land sought to build more than just a new country.

They sought a new world.

So I have come here today to your campus to say that you can make their vision our reality.

So let us from this moment begin our work so that in the future men will look back and say: It was then, after a long and weary way, that man turned the exploits of his genius to the full enrichment of his life.

Over 50 years later it seems like “soulless wealth” is winning out.

Going back to the speech, for better or for worse, this generation has been appointed by history to deal with those problems and to lead America toward a new age.

We have the chance never before afforded to any people in any age.

We can help build a society where the demands of morality, and the needs of the spirit, can be realized in the life of the Nation.

We can.

We can?

Can we?

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