Another day closes.

January 24th, 2007 by MrLuxuryFashionGuru

Yawn.  Lured by the free pizza, I put on my American flag sweater and went to the Quincy JCR (junior common room) an hour ago to see President Bush’s State of the Union Address.  I’m amazed at how quickly that 50 minutes went by – it felt more like a slightly draggy 25 minutes.  He’s certainly gotten a lot better at making speeches, or he was having a really good day, because that was almost certainly the least painful public speaking I’ve seen of the current American president.

While I was listening, in a room full of Quincy residents, it seemed to me that the lame duck President syndrome was already starting to set in.  On the one hand, it was almost surprising to hear the rhetoric about international cooperation and the (albeit passing) mention of climate change as a problem (and plug-in hybrid cars as a part of the solution).  Altogether it sounded as if he had either gained the wisdom to realise his past errors, or perhaps was being forced by reality (or opinon polls) to change his tune, or was now freed up by his limited remaining time in office to highlight (instead of downplaying) the big problems that his successor (and the Democrat-majority Congress and Senate) will have to deal with.  On the other hand, if you listened carefully, there was very little attempt to take credit for the good things America has now (a growing economy) while the longer list of problems to be dealt with (social security, education, foreign policy, military commitments, energy policy, federal deficit) seemed to signal the key shortcomings–to put it mildly–of two presidential terms almost-over.  And I didn’t really get the sense that any of those things were going to be substantially remedied by 2008 – does anyone else?

In the end, the focus seemed to be firmly on the future, rather than on dwelling on the past.  I don’t know what I think about that, given my general dislike of the sort of ahistoric, amnesiac logic I’ve sometimes observed amongst the Republicans I’m most friendly with.  I don’t like the increasingly casual, and still equally meaningless references to the faceless “enemy” that America is at war with, as well as the suspiciously simplistic descriptions of cause and effect, as well as the cartoon beliefs and goals attributed to the “enemy”.  Of course this is all in the context of a compressed speech tailored for general consumption and soundbites, and President Bush is probably not “wrong” in a general sense.  I may think it’s all a little inaccurate, and somewhat jingoistic, and potentially counterproductive, but maybe the only thing left to do is wait another year or two.  As the title of that John Mayer song aptly puts it, we’re “Waiting On the World to Change”.

Relatedly, listening to the Address reminded me of my speech-writing days back at OCS.  There really is something to be said for the power of an inspiring speech to remind you of your values, your identity and your goals.  Or to insinuate them, at least.

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10 Responses to “Another day closes.”

  1. Juan Torres Says:

    i already upgraded my family car to Hybrid to help the environment.-‘:

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