It was the first State of the Union address during “wartime” since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1942. That was the comparison made by media outlets, but the State of the Union is quite different this year.
That was an actual war, declared by Congress, this is hardly one. It’s a campaign of retaliation used to reinforce our incorrect mindset of being the Global Police. President Bush all but used that term, bringing back visions of political cartoons from decades ago.
Bush’s most recent budget calls for “the largest increase in the defense budget in two decades.” Bush continued, saying, “Whatever it costs to defend our country, we will pay for it.” Thanks for taking our input President Bush.
Bush spoke to the terrorists and those countries that harbor them: they “will not escape our justice.” But what about justice for others? Why isn’t this the job of the United Nations or any of the dozens of other international organizations? Only once in his speech did he mention “our allies” in bringing peace and justice to the planet; a very utopian vision that no one should expect in this lifetime.
Bush also spoke of taking a proactive approach to dealing with countries seeking weapons of mass destruction, even as America blatantly broke treaties designed to suppress the use of these weapons.
Yes, President Bush had plenty of ideas for fighting terrorism, for working simply to draw out our fall from a world superpower – hardly needed in this world now called a global village. What he lacked was any idea for improving anything else.
When it came to education reform, he simply called for a quality teacher in every classroom, but how does he plan to do this? He called for improved Headstart and early childhood development programs, but where was the biggest increase in education spending in two decades?
His “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001” called for a scant $4 billion increase in that spending. That is compared to his $48 billion defense increase in spending, in addition to a pay raise for the military.
If America didn’t spend so much time pushing people around, if America didn’t spend so much time clinging to the title of “world superpower,” if America didn’t spend so much time serving as the Global Police, maybe more could be spent on education at home.
Bush also had the gall to admit to Congress that this year the budget would see a deficit – undoing years of balancing by former President Clinton – only to call on Congress to be fiscally responsible.
Aside from the scant increase in education spending that is sure to affect students in college now and those entering college in the coming years, there was little sunshine for today’s young adults.
Probably the only true programs he set forth for the younger generation was balancing Social Security and allowing us alternatives to Social Security when it comes to our retirement.
He called on us to devote more time to protecting our neighbors and our country by serving in the Armed Forces. Just to make it easier, a new “branch” has been set up: the Freedom Corps, solely to serve the purpose of helping fire fighters, police and any other enforcement agencies in times of disaster and attack.
All of the other myriad of concepts and policies that interest us were set aside for a brief five minute listing while the remaining 43 minutes of “yes-ing” and standing ovations by the audience were filled with Afghanistan, terrorism and Bush’s faltering economy.
All of this, and the man continues to enjoy an 83 percent approval rating?