Empty Rhetoric From The Master Of Bullshit
Apparently, it is the job of the American taxpayer to spread freedom across the world in the next four years. That’s the main message one could take away from the second Bush inaugural speech this afternoon. I don’t remember this being a high priority of voters in the campaign or in any of the recent post-election polls, in which there seems to be uniformity in the desires of voters for Bush to focus on getting out of Iraq and working on domestic issues like the economy, education, and dealing with health care.
And although it is our destiny according to Bush to spread freedom throughout the world in the next four years, Bush never mentioned the sacrifices already made in Iraq and Afghanistan for Bush’s failed war on terror.
A few Americans have accepted the hardest duties in this cause – in the quiet work of intelligence and diplomacy … the idealistic work of helping raise up free governments … the dangerous and necessary work of fighting our enemies. Some have shown their devotion to our country in deaths that honored their whole lives – and we will always honor their names and their sacrifice.
The dangerous and necessary work of fighting our enemies? That’s it; that’s as close as he got to talking about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. What kind of message does it send to those 150,000 troops bogged down in Iraq, their families, and the families of the over 1,300 dead and thousands of maimed Americans who have already paid the ultimate price for giving someone else freedom that their sacrifice didn’t merit something better than a throw-away line like that? Although Fox News will love this speech as something akin to Kennedy's inaugural speech, can you imagine the reaction if John Kerry had given it?
More rhetoric from the speech:
Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:
All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.
Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.
This would come as news to those in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, or in the autocratic states of Central Asia, all of whom Bush calls allies.
And all the allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom's enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies' defeat.
This would come as news to “Old Europe.”
The domestic agenda and challenges we face? Again, forget any real commitment or passion:
In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools, and build an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance – preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal.
In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character – on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives.
It would again come as news to our citizens that it is the Bush Administration’s job to prepare “our people for the challenges of life in a free society” by blowing up the safety net that has protected our society from the social Darwinism that this Administration clearly wants to foist upon us in the next four years. I thought we have been doing just fine living in a free society all these years, but apparently the Bushies feel that we cannot meet those challenges yet without their help. And being told by this Administration “the public interest depends on private character – on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives” is a real hoot, given the environment of private gain over public interest fostered by this Administration from Day One. What kind of integrity and the rule of conscience are on display with Enron, Abu Ghraib, Halliburton, the systematic disenfranchisement of blacks, and the waging of ongoing class warfare against those less fortunate in our society practiced by this Administration?
The only positive from this speech was that it clocked in at about 27 minutes, which in the post-Clinton world is welcome news. But it’s easy to give a short speech when you said virtually nothing of consequence in the first place.