Re: George W. Bush's Speech on September 20, 2001

From: Olga Bourlin (
Date: Fri Sep 21 2001 - 13:30:05 MDT

From: "E. Shaun Russell" <>
> Greg Burch wrote:
> >Let me defend briefly -- and before I've finished my first cup of coffee
> >(never a good idea, admittedly) -- my hyperbole of last night about
> >*speech* being a "pivotal moment in history." These are the things that
> >me to write those words: [...]

> I must agree with Greg's assessment wholeheartedly. This is certainly the
> best live speech I have heard in my lifetime, and I depending on the
> outcome of the next few years, it will likely stand as one of the best in
> U.S. history. [snip] Perhaps it was written for him --it
> probably was...but I don't think that anyone can fake sincerity to the
> degree that Bush displayed.

My opinion is that someone else probably did write the speech (but that's
neither here nor there). Faking sincerity is another matter altogether -
while I don't think Bush faked his sincerity, either, I don't think
sincerity is all it's cut out to be. (You know, as when someone sincerely
believes he's Napoleon - but isn't; or, when Ronald Reagan sincerely
believed he was in some movie from the past - when in fact he was not).
Maybe I'm talking more about "belief," and the sincerity that comes from
having a particular belief. In Bush's case, maybe his sincerity comes from
his belief in the "God" he so profusely mentioned at the end of his speech.
As much as I may have liked parts of Bush's speech (and for the most part, I
thought it was good - kudos to the speechwriter(s)), I thought it was
intellectually compromised as soon as "God" was brought into the equation.

Luckily, Bush's "God" has somewhat more wiggle room (surely debatable, but
let's leave it at that for now) than bin Laden's "Allah" (and did you see
those Taliban clerics poring over holy books to look for solutions to their
political dilemma?) ... but Bush's sincerity may have been inspired more
from his Christianity than from our secular form of government (also
debatable, but let's leave it at that for now, too). Of course I'm being
simplistic - and churlish - but as a nontheist I've just been so tired of
listening to all the irrationality and emotionality around the subject of
"God," and all the calls to grovel, pray and to bow heads. Patriotism is
not synonymous with religiosity, but it's certainly seemed like that's been
the message lately, more than ever.

Looking for solutions from the root cause of the problem is nuts, in my
opinion. The Taliban do it. We, supposedly, don't do it?

So, why does the U.S. feel the need to lower itself by invoking God into so
many important situations (and speeches)? Would Bush's speech have been any
worse if "God Bless America"-type sentiments weren't written in? In my
opinion, as soon as "God" is mentioned in the political arena, the debate
stoops to "my Non-Existent Being can beat up your Non-Existent Being."


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