Thursday, October 14, 2004

Divorced from politics and filled with platitudes

So in the previous post I mentioned the line from Bush's 2000 speech that I'd liked so much. I went back and read the 2nd half of his acceptance speech in 2000. It's just incredible. The imagery and word choice is so powerful, poetic and beautiful. It's wholly divorced from policy and only about values (which isn't all bad for a closing, in my mind), and sadly disconnected from the reality of his leadership.

For me, gaining this office is not the ambition of a lifetime, but it is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I will make the most of it.
I believe in tolerance, not in spite of my faith, but because of it. I believe in a God who calls us not to judge our neighbors but to love them. I believe in grace because I've seen it, and peace because I've felt it, and forgiveness because I've needed it.
I will not attack a part of this country because I want to lead the whole of it.
My fellow citizens, we can begin again. After all of the shouting and all of the scandal, after all the bitterness and broken faith, we can begin again. The wait has been long, but it won't be long now. A prosperous nation is ready to renew its purpose and unite behind great goals, and it won't be long now. Our nation must renew the hopes of that boy I talked with in jail and so many like him, and it won't be long now. Our country is ready for high standards and new leaders, and it won't be long now. An era of tarnished ideals is giving way to a responsibility era, and it won't be long now. I know how serious the task is before me. I know the presidency is an office that turns pride into prayer. But I am eager to start on the work ahead, and I believe America is ready for a new beginning. My friend, the artist Tom Lea of El Paso, Texas, captured the way I feel about our great land, a land I love. He and his wife, he said, ''Live on the east side of the mountain. It's the sunrise side, not the sunset side. It is the side to see the day that is coming, not to see the day that has gone.''

Imagine if those ideals were the actions eminating from that office. It's a speech that could have been given by Obama or Harkin. I love the sentiment, and marvel at the craft--but I have to admit feeling even more betrayed than before. Those words and ideas mean something, and it's not this. People say you can say anything with stats...apparently you can mean anything with a speech.

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