For a very long time now, it seems obligatory for whoever is president to conclude any major addresses with the expression, "God bless you, and God bless America." I may be deluded, but lately I get the feeling we may have turned a corner in the struggle to return to our secular roots in this country.
Believing president-elect Barack Obama to be a closet atheist (those bitter people clinging to their guns and religion was very revealing), I am actually holding out hope that he will one day venture into the bold arena of invoking secular aphorisms as a sign-off to some of his public speeches. Of course, he cannot abandon religious "good-byes" altogether after so ingeniously pandering to religious constituents during the election, but he could test drive a few secular salutations to gauge America's readiness to put "God Bless America" to rest. I thought I would trot out a few suggestions for some narrow focus grouping:
•"Later, dudes." --- No mention of God here, but not quite befitting the aura of the office.
•"Hasta luego!" --- The growing Hispanic demographic would no doubt love this one.
•"Stay Cool." --- 60s radical William Ayers and the rest of the aging hippie crowd would really dig this.
•"Kapla." --- From the Klingon Language Institute, this expression translates into "success" and is often uttered prior to battle. Trekkies would once again be considered part of the mainstream.
•"Keep on truckin'." --- This expression certainly has broad appeal, but it may be too closely associated with the disco era. For that reason alone, it might not fly.
•"Hey, Hey, Hey. Let's be careful out there." --- Who knows. Maybe Obama was a Hills Street Blues fan.
•"Ta-Ta, for now." --- Or for those times when he is texting his younger, digital generation supporters on his blackberry, TTFN, as it has come to be expressed.
•And finally, "Live long and prosper." --- If this expression weren't already taken by the Vulcans, it would be perfect. The only drawback is that the split-fingered hand gesture is so difficult to master. It also may be the only expression offered here not totally devoid of the dignity the office demands.
There you have it. A few suggestions for secularizing the sign-off of presidential speeches. With priceless options such as these ready to go, the days of "God bless America" are surely numbered.
2 years ago