STATE OF THE WHAT ADDRESS? NICE WORDS...JUST WORDS
By: Dorothy Anne Seese
A fifty-four minute speech informed us about the things we've heard so many times before that it could have been a cut and paste job from previous presidential speeches and press conferences, briefings and comments. From the Republican side of the aisle the applause seemed out of place, and the classic photo ops were of Senator Ted Kennedy's face, along with one shot of Hillary Clinton. Call it a blown opportunity to make a speech with vision, but a president who has led us into the quagmire in the Middle East was on the defensive on the one hand, and on the offensive against the Democrats, in an election year, on certain issues such as continuation of the USA PATRIOT acts.
Never has George W. Bush sounded quite so hollow about what should have been the state of this union, not the state of the world, the imaginary progress in the Middle East. A good two-thirds of this speech was devoted to the state of the world and "terrorism" -- the war on an ideological premise held by certain radicals who have a deep religious commitment to their form of fanaticism.
Approximately one-third of the speech was devoted to a litany of things that would be nice if we could have them but they happen to be mutually exclusive in many cases, such as cutting spending and cutting taxes. We're not leaving children or seniors behind and yet a definitive plan for really lowering prescription drug prices by some obvious means, such as giving the research and development to university medical centers, was never mentioned. In fact, nothing really concrete was really mentioned. Improving reading and math skills is a goal, not a plan.
Tonight, President Bush the Younger sounded like a man in a trap, struggling to make a political platform out of a quagmire into which he led the nation in defiance of the United Nations and now is begging the UN for help to bail the US out of the consequences of the uprisings in Iraq. His brief talk about our most pressing domestic issues, which would reflect the true "state of the Union" was indicative that he has no more idea now than he did three years ago about how to run a nation. He sees himself as a wartime president, a warrior against the non-country of "terrorism" and has failed to convince the world or a substantial number of Americans that the US should ever have undertaken the mission against Iraq.
He did not mention the jobs we have lost to overseas nations or present any concrete plan to recover them. He said our nation is strong, yet we're in trouble at home and in a third-rate country like Iraq that not only had no weapons of mass destruction, but relies on guerilla warfare to bring the death toll for US soldiers higher each day in spite of our smart weapons. We're on their turf with no exit strategy nor did he provide one in this speech. It seems like the parents, wives, children and relatives of those military personnel in Iraq would have wanted more than some empty words of praise for the efforts in Iraq. They should have, and deserved to have, the presentation of a well-planned exit strategy that would bring more American service personnel home alive.
As to the various uses of technology and the draconian provisions of the USA PATRIOT acts and subsequent acts that could suspend all constitutional rights, Congress was advised to extend the expiration date of the act. Since the technology is in place to create an "I Spy" government on everyone, not just terrorists, what we do not need is the machinery for abrogating the Constitution and Bill of Rights (or whatever is left of them).
Bush was correct about the politicized judges who are rewriting the nation's laws. However, many of them have been advantageous to his own agenda. He all but suggested impeachment for such judges, but he could not go that far in a speech such as this. We Americans would do well to begin with the Supreme and federal court justices and judges who are liberalizing and socializing the nation in contravention of the strict construction of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. If we are silent citizens, we will be silent serfs.
The American Trial Lawyers Association already knew of Bush's stand on limiting the amount on malpractice suits and is furious over the proposal. So you lose a foot or a leg instead of having your appendix removed. So? So sorry. Now there are frivolous suits, and it is up to judges with integrity to refuse to hear such cases and to throw them out of court. As to spending more money on drug use prevention, the real drug abuse solution begins at home, always at home, and if home is unfit, then in the local social structure. Children from highly dysfunctional homes will be at risk, and nothing in a federal program will prevent this. Jail will not cure it. Local programs, volunteers and concerned parents, along with volunteer efforts by churches and other religious entities will be the biggest source of aid. They need no federal funding, just a concerned citizenry with a sense of obligation to the next generation rather than the attitude of "it's not my problem."
What many other Americans and I heard tonight was a long preamble to a short conclusion, but little to do with the real state of the union. As to the true state of the union and America's image abroad and even at home, for those of us who are hard core constitutionalists, we heard another political speech filled with hot air.
American politics, also known as stupidity as usual, has triumphed again.
"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Dorothy Anne Seese is a freelance political writer for Patch Work papers and a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
We invite you to visit her website at Flagship
Dorothy Anne Seese can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the January 22, 2004 issue of Ether Zone. Copyright © 1997 - 2004 Ether Zone.