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more about speech
Previous | Next by robin 16 January, 2003 - 7:00 PM

I know this seems to be the topic of the moment on this site, but I was watching the NBC Nightly News and Brian Williams put together a quick 3 minute segment on how countries around the world were reacting to the upcoming war against Iraq (and yes, it looks like it will happen). There were shots of people protesting all over the world, but what stuck out most (and probably BECAUSE of the recent postings) was how journalists from around the world commented on Bush's plain spoken language, which supposedly is what endears him to the American public. The rest of the world, however, does not seem to be as enamored with his speech as our citizenry as they would like someone more articulate. Ironic isn't it? Most of the people in this country like that President Bush is "plain spoken" but the rest of the world wants someone who actually sounds like a leader of a country. Personally, this just confirms my belief that the United States is the laughing stock of the rest of the world.

1/17/2003 >> howard

It doesnt help when a 15 year old Welsh girl is asked by the leader of the most powerful nation in the world which state Wales is in! She explains it is a separate country altogether and his response is 'Oh, Ok'. Forget for a moment the impending wars and other world issues and consider that this man still does not understand the concept of the United Kingdom...his closest ally. How can we have faith in a President that is still attempting to figure out his ass from his elbow!

1/18/2003 >> jackie

i think one important thing to remember here is that millions of americans DO have faith in Bush and have for the past year. his approval ratings have been crazy high, and even now when they are lower, they are still pretty high. people posting here may not have faith in him, but millions do. why do you think that is? i think part of it is that america is traditionally anti-intellectual, and so that the more journalists and such pick on bush's speech, it just endears him to millions of voting citizens who could care less about being laughingstocks because we are the "leaders of the free world".

1/18/2003 >> howard

America may see herself as omnipotent, America may not necessarily give a shit how the outside world perceives her but how the hell can the self-proclaimed "leaders of the free world" lead the world when a high proportion of the population are simple minded. A majority of the population have barely left the US let alone their own state and really don’t really seem bothered whether the outside world exists or not! It has been proven that America is not safe from external terrorism and hence the high level of involvement from the US against these terror attacks. America has also seen a lot of support from its allies during this period but would its allies have seen the same level of support if the situation had been reversed? I doubt it very much! The Bali bombings was on a much smaller scale as 9/11 but it terms of lives lost and the effects it had on people and their livelihoods scale does not seem important, yet the media coverage on this terror attack was over long before that of 9/11 (in terms of length) and is now less talked about. It was an attack primarily on the Australians and the first ever attack primarily on Australians! It has potentially wrecked a whole economy that was based on tourism, a developing world in tatters because it was a playground for an ally of the US. The only place I have seen collection boxes for the people of this island and the families affected was in Australia and yet after 9/11 people worldwide were pitching together to raise money for the victims. America may be the leader of the free world but as the leader of the free world America should consider other nations in the world and provide the same support to its allies as its allies provide to the US.

1/19/2003 >> ben

on my phone, please excuse any errors... they're all the fault of mr madsen....
howard, gillian, cas. observer, I think you all will fit right in here, heheh. more to the point, I know its fun and releiving to complain about our vaunted leader (well, he leads some of us, you two are excused, hehehe), but to what end? I don't really fault him for being about himself and simple to boot, more the people who think this is what we need... and most the people who, as mark from the bar pointed out, just join the realm of apathy and don't even care... more than show what's wrong... what can be done about it?

1/20/2003 >> robin

Gillian...long time no see (or something) you been?

What can be done? Well, we can protest...sign petitions. Basically, we can exercise our rights as Americans (and those that aren't can still protest and write about it, howard). We can vote. It seems that many in the country are united against our current president. So, the best, simplest, and really, easiest way to do something about it is to buy a paper, read up on what our president is doing and when election day comes, go to the booths and vote. It's our right (as Americans) to do so. I know this sounds all easy and whatnot, but in actuality it is. There are some, though, who cannot get to the polls or think that their vote makes no difference, but every vote counts. The underprivileged will have a rougher time doing so, but really, buying a paper or watching the news is the best thing they can do as well. To be informed is to be a good citizen, or so I tell my students :)

1/21/2003 >> spike

'America' does little that is not in its self-interest. This isnt wholely wrong. I mean if we, individual people, always did everything only for others, well that might not be a good way to live life. However, as the most militarily powerful nation, our self-interest should take others into account, only because if not we will continue to be on the receiving end of anger and hatred. No we cannot please everyone, but we should also be more of aware of the great responsibility we have as the 'most powerful nation on earth.' I do not think that we do, and it is not just this administration.

But i do want to agree with something Gillian said about how this country is too large. I do not think democracy works in so large a setting. If i had my way i would actually get rid of the entire notion of a nation state. If there was to be anythingresmebling states their borders would be determined by geography. That way the people who live there would actually have reasons to work together beacuse their livelyhood and environment would depend on thier compatability.

1/21/2003 >> ben

people in general don't do much that isn't at least partly affected by self-interest... we're a self interested species, it's part of being individuals

what i was bringing to the table though, is that, functionally, we're not a democracy... we're not even really a democratic republic... because so few people do vote, and so few people do have a say in the system. getting people to exercise their rights is harder than getting them to exercise at all... (c.f. the article about people suing macdonald's for making them fat) personally, i love the size of america, it's easier to move around here, and see and do everything, than even europe (where it's really really easy)...
but that's just me, and that's a whoooooooole different rant.

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