I've been stewing all morning and now it is time for a tirade. Hit the Daiquiri Deck last night with Chris, then headed home to take in that fondest of Constitutional requirements, the so-called State of the Union address. My thoughts on President Bush have appeared in this feature before, but now I find myself primed to get personal and to speak out more than I have previously. There are, naturally, broad points on which I agree with Mr. Bush: thank the troops you see, support those you don't. Let's not allow role models like athletes turn into bad role models - not that I find this to be a topic worthy of the bully pulpit from which he speaks. At this point, though, we part ways. In his speech he said we should remember our allies and then turned on our allies saying we won't wait for a "permission slip" before riding roughshod over countries against which we have a personal vendeta. He talked proudly of how diplomacy led North Korea to back down from their nuclear stance, and spoke of how diplomacy didn't work in Iraq. It seems contradictory to me to say that diplomacy didn't work when, in fact, he didn't ask the right questions: before the war we asked to see Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, to which Iraq responded "hey we got no weapons o' mass destruction." Turns out, they were telling the truth. So, Mr. Bush, I'd say it was you who sold diplomacy down the river, not Mr. Hussein.
Then, later in the speech, after talking at some length about how government holds the answer to education and health care, he arrives at the topic of the Constitutional definition of marriage. I fail to see how we as a people and he as a leader can condone this trivializing of the single most important document in the western world. If Mr. Bush gets his way, he will have made a mockery of the law of our land, ratifying a notion that will make the very foundations of our country a hotbed of hypocrisy. It strikes me that to achieve his goal, Mr. Bush will have to not only amend the details of our Constitution, but the very Preamble itself since it will no longer include the collective 'we' but rather a diminuitive "some" of the people. What's more, his beliefs fly in the face of the Declaration of Independence, and who are you, Mr. Bush, to trump your own forefathers? To disagree with our nation's founders is one of the rights for which they fought and died, but to desecrate that which they risked everything to form should be an insult to every American. I say to Mr. Bush go ahead and develop what legislation you must to feel all is right in the world, but as a sanity check I want you to stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when you pitch it to the nation. If you can, in good conscience, devalue a few members of our society from that spot where Dr. Martin Luther King spoke, in the shadow of our greatest President's legacy, then I maintain you are unfit to lead the nation.
My final point of contention is with the federal funding of religious charities. I agree with the President that these groups tackle some of the hardest challenges with the most resolve, but I find it rare that such a group is not working towards an evangelical end. That's not to say I view it as a problem, but I don't feel that the taxpayer's dollars should be directed in a way that may lead towards the beliefs of the few, especially on matters of religion. Our country is based on a religious exile and for nearly 228 years separation of church and state has been a pillar of our laws...to revisit this establishment now seems to me very thin ice indeed, especially for a leader with as dubious a track record as our current Chief Executive.
I close with this. The language isn't mine, but shouldn't we unanimously attach ourselves emotionally to the message - in it's entirety?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."