Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Compassion etcetera

Okay, Bush. You and I both know that I'm no speech analyst, no policy wonk. I'll leave that work to others, and there's no shortage of them this morning. You won't be surprised to hear my inexpert view, however, that your speech last night was long on hot air and short on any significant ideas or information. But I guess that's the nature of the beast, with the State of the Union. I can't hold it against you for making the best of the opportunity to blow your horn.

But here's the one thing I have not seen or heard mentioned: for all your "compassionate, decent, hopeful society" theme, your compassion did not reach far beyond these shores--nor was it particularly evident in any specific policy here at home. I heard some high-sounding words. I did not hear any intention to take action. And out of sixty-six paragraphs (by my rough count), you devoted only two, a bare sixty seconds of your entire speech, to the real and pressing problems of world hunger, disease, and poverty. Even then, you saw the American role as "taking the offensive"--hardly a metaphor that suggests compassion--"because regions overwhelmed by poverty, corruption and despair are sources of terrorism, organized crime, human trafficking and the drug trade."

It seems to me, Bush, that if we are to be perceived by the world as a "compassionate, decent, hopeful society," our President needs to devote proportionately more of his attention to problems other than our wielding power on the world stage and protecting ourselves from those multifarious "evil-doers". It would be refreshing for me personally to hear something other than that old, rather hollow, rather strident "America is strong" rhetoric: perhaps an acknowledgement of a more modest place in a world that it so evidently ailing on so many fronts, of a share in the common responsibility of all peoples to alleviate the suffering of the many and to accept real stewardship of the planet.

Two paragraphs, Bush! One minute! So much for compassion.

4 comments:

Fred T, recovering oil addict said...

Bush's desire to shift health care costs from employers to workers bodes ill for our already pathetic health delivery system. The rest of the speech was his usual predictable, stay the course blather.

Where is the 12th step program for oil addiction anyway?

dennis said...

When Bush talks, nothing happens except the opposite or worse.

PK said...

I normally don't watch Bush's speech's. Being into it, and only 3 left, I watched part of it. I was just curious what happy hell he was planning for the future. Sos just different day, unfortunately. Get away from oil? As he cruses the great sky's in his jet that we pay for, I don't see any get away but him from the White House. I heard no resolution to anything. Just yada yada yada.

David said...

Peter, I didn't listen to Bush's speech, but this "compassionate, decent, hopeful society" thing sounds awful familiar. It has that "kinder, gentler nation" feel to it, don't you think? Wonder if daddy's speechwriters have been coaxed out of retirement.