the State of the Union
so Bush gave his last State of the Union speech of this term [and hopefully his last State of the Union speech ever...come on, Dems, you can put up SOMEONE who can beat Bush, it can't be very hard!], and unfortunately -and predictably- it was highly unimpressive and unsatisfying. it's sad when the democratic response post-speech is more coherent and pleasing than the 'pomp and pagentry' of the State of the Union.
several comments i -as a non-american, non-patriot etc- have to make on his speech other than the fact that he needs to change his speechwriter, because it was seriously lacking in punch:
(1) more domestic policy less foreign chest-thumping. yes we need to hear about your recap of foreign policy of the past year, and your intents with regard to the rest of the year. but we do not need most of the speech to be a justification of the war in Iraq. if i, a non-american, want to hear more about healthcare plans and economic stimulus packages, i'm sure that most americans want to know more also. a thirty-second mention of a growing economy with no details is not a good sign -- it means you're glossing over something that isn't going to reflect well on you.
which well it shouldn't. because in the last four years this economy has gone from a budget surplus to a budget deficit, helped along by massive spending, tax cuts, and a contracting economy that is bleeding jobs. then Bush floats some undefined, ill-described plan to cut to budget deficit in half in the next four years, promising as he has for the last few years to keep spending at 4%, and more significantly, keeping all the tax cuts he's already implemented. i'm beginning to think this man could benefit from his own No Child Left Behind Act, as he has clearly never learned the laws of simple mathematics -- if you keep taking things away without putting things in you are never going to get out of deficit...
(2) personally i am unhappy with the stand he is taking toward 'the sanctity of marriage' and sexual activity in general. and i am all for states' rights. The Defence of Marriage act apparently defends the institution of marriage as involving one man and one woman, etc, and then Bush goes on to describe something like states are not allowed to influence the decisions regarding this made by other states. ok that's not quite right but it's something along those lines. well one thing i have to point out straightaway: this law doesn't prevent states from making their own decisions regarding what they think is right, as long as they don't try and make all other states follow it. so New Hampshire can damn well legalise gay marriage, and if New York or California doesn't want to acknowledge that marriage as legal, that is their choice; in New Hampshire a gay couple can be married. or if you prefer, as i would, can have a civil union. just as it is up to the church to decide if it wants to sanction the notion of gay marriage or gay bishops or what have you; it is not up to the state to decide for them.
i think his view is impractical, and doesn't take into account reality. we don't live in some imaginary landscape inside your mind, Mr. Bush: people out here do not practice abstinence, even if they share your faith; peopel out here contract and die of STDs. Abstinence may be the only 100% foolproof method to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, but you damn well better have some kind of backup plan in place -and an education program is NOT going to be that backup plan; it's not that kids don't know about STDs, believe me- because abstinence is never going to make it in this or any country.
where i was looking for a grand vision of the American agenda for the next year, i got babble about Iraq and the capture of Saddam; where i was looking for an action plan for making the American people better off i got a ragtag bunch of semi-plans and a lecture on morality.
god bless america, indeed.