President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Address


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Essay #: 056827
Total text length is 4,572 characters (approximately 3.2 pages).

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The beginning:
President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Address
Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Address compares past and present circumstances in the U.S. in such a way as to flatten the difference between past and present entirely. In other words, Bush’s America—both past and present—is a uniform and ultimately ahistorical entity.
Bush admits early in the address that the present U.S. has problems, including problems pertaining to national security, the economy, and education. Bush refers to the present as a “whirlwind of change and hope and peril,” a trope that seems like mere cliché at first, but that actually contains an important clue as to Bush’s elision of past and present.
The America that Bush invokes can never do wrong, because it is sanctioned...
The end: American success with the Decider in heaven and between appealing to himself as the decider. One cannot have it both ways. To the Decider, history does not matter; to the decider, history is everything, because history decides the contingent facts of power on the ground.
Bush’s confusion is the confusion of all tyrants who wish to co-opt supernatural favor for themselves and their regimes. On the one hand, they have to invoke a timeless divine favor for their countries, but on the other hand they have to insist that God’s favor is something contingent on they themselves remaining in power and getting what they want. The contradiction between these two attitudes can be subtle, which makes it all the more subtle and ensnaring as rhetoric.