B1 Intermediate UK 6839 Folder Collection
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The politician Henry Clay once said,
"Let him who elevates himself above humanity
say, if he pleases: 'I will never compromise',
but let no one who is not above the frailties
of our common nature disdain compromise."
Throughout the course of United States' history,
there have been many disagreements,
but I would like to focus on the great compromise of 1787,
which came after the American Revolution.
America had finally gained freedom
and become the only republic of the time.
And the issue was one of representation:
how would different states be represented?
And the conflicting sides
were the small states and the large states.
And this disagreement had the power
to rip our new found unity apart,
and yet, a few brave persons were able to come together
and forge, out of this disagreement,
a new, smarter, bolder and stronger system
that remains today.
But it seems now that this system
has come to a shuddering halt.
In 2012, Congress passed fewer than 80 bills,
the fewest since records began to be kept back in 1947.
And this is due to the polarization of political ideals.
Views are becoming more and more extreme
and it seems that the possibility of political compromise
has nearly been lost.
I'm sure you all have heard of the fiscal cliff deal,
which was the perfect opportunity for a grand deal
that could redefine United States' economic policy.
Congress had everything they needed.
They had a goal, a motivation, a deadline
and leaders on both sides of the aisle,
and yet, no such deal was reached.
While the issue of tax cuts was resolved,
the issue of spending cuts was simply pushed forward by two months.
9/11 forever changed history
in just a couple of hours.
The Arab Spring erupted in days.
And yet, while the world seems to be growing faster, and faster, and faster,
it seems that Congress is growing slower, and slower, and slower.
This issue is especially applicable to our generation,
as we're the first generation to grow up
in this new, fast, digital information age.
And many of these problems of today
are being left as a legacy to us.
And the question is, what should we do about it?
Being politically active may not be a reality,
as we're constantly swamped by homework,
sports, dating, friends and parents.
So, the best thing that you can do
is to read the news
and to think about what you believe,
in terms of political ideals.
This is the time in our adolescent lives
when our brains begin to separate our views
from those of our parents,
and we begin to form new ideas of our own.
I'm not asking you to change your political party,
or even to change your own personal views
on individual issues.
I'm simply declaring that the best mind
for an active citizen is an open mind.
And the ideal politician
is one who both advocates for issues that matter to you
and can work with ideas from opposing parties.
There will never be a perfect system.
There's always meant to be conflict.
But our glorious democratic system
requires that we find a balance in ourselves
and in what we believe,
and then, through voting and political activism,
we can transfer this balance into the Houses of power
and we can begin rebuilding this great nation together.
Thank you.
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【TEDx】Learn from the Past, Form the Future: Nathaniel Carlsen at [email protected]

6839 Folder Collection
Fungling Chan published on January 16, 2016
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