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President Bush and his State of the Union speeches, etc.

Mike Sullivan takes exception to my postring on the subject: "The President referred to the hero who uttered the words "Let's roll" as heard by the telephone operator when the fellow put the phone down and went with other passengers to thwart the terrorist takeover/hijacking of the airliner. Shortly after it crashed going straight down in Pennsylvania. If he said "America is on a roll" he's is probably referring to the progress of war in Afghanistan so far and the great unity shown by the American people in supporting his Administration's actions as evidenced by the polls since 9/11. You are very sensitive to any statement that doesn't put Central and South America on a par with other regions of the world. I don't believe his order of listing those regions was necessarily his priorities, but it's certainly the order of nations supporting and funding the coalition. We finally have a President that can articulate in plain, good, old Texacanese "that if you attack us or threaten our survival we're going to bring you to "justice". And "justice" is a 2000 lb bomb for most terrorists! We ARE on a roll and most Americans are very proud and thankful for what has been accomplished since 9/11. They're proud of our President and his strong leadership and resolve in fighting terrorism. That is priority #1. Even most Democrats are openly giving praise to his performance, and many have said they're glad he is the President with the country at war and with the talented folks he has around him to give advice. He is definitely a motivating Commander in Chief which has nothing to do with his political party but was lacking for the past eight years. Give the President credit for truly believing in what he is doing instead of putting on a "star performance". He has definitely risen to the occasion and has grown immensely in the most demanding office in the world. Most of America are now grateful to have him as our President".

My comment: The messages I receive cover the political spectrum. "Star performance" is not a demeaning expression. In post-Hoover times, a President must be folksy. A candidate who is not ends up like Adlai Stevenson. I agree that the passenger in the fated plane was a hero, and that this gave an epic quality to the phrase. Yet where did the phrase originate? Possibly in a movie. We have pondered the expression "pushing the envelope", which suddenly became popular a few years ago. David Westbrook says it came from a movie, based on a book, "The Right Stuff". My concern is that English is being debased by the movies. The classical theater taught even the humble groundlings beautiful English, and centuries of cultivation are going down the drain (yes, that colloquialism makes sense). As for the President's regional priorities, what Mike says makes sense, but I received one message (not from an Australian) pointing out that good ally Australia had been completely omitted. As for the popularity of Bush, it depends on how things go. Both Johnson and Nixon started out with large majorities. Will Afghanistan and Enron have a similar effect? We hope not.

Ronald Hilton - 2/2/02