The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.
Yesterday in Rhetorical Theory we watched the Presidential Inauguration in a fairly public area due to our professor’s inability to work the sound system in our classroom. Thus it was that as President Bush gave his second Inaugural speech (text and audio at NPR), a man walked by the TV we were watching. Glancing over and noticing the speaker he immediately raised both his hands in a middle-finger salute, which he maintained pointing at Bush as the man passed by the TV image. Our class looked around and murmured, with some laughing or verbal agreements. A few minutes later another man, one who had stood watching the proceedings earlier but had left, passed by. He raised his arm in triumph as he saw the screen. Several professors also came within visible range of the TV and many grimaced or made other faces, including looking askance at our professor. She ashamedly explained to one colleague, “It’s for class!” -with the distinct implication she would preferred to have missed this patriotic moment.
I found these reactions almost more interesting than the speech itself, which contained entirely routine Bush-style material including oblique comments about the War on Terrorism and the Iraq War specifically, spreading freedom and democracy, the Social Security situation, and numerous theistic comments (which I do not necessarily disagree with, though those elicited groans from many of the students) along the lines of “Every human has value because God gave us value.” Notably, he did mention specifically discarding the “baggage of bigotry,” a commendable notion, although if you drank shots for every mention of “freedom,” “democracy,” or “liberty” you’d be tanked in minutes.
– KF –
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Update: I counted. In a 2,000 word speech “freedom” made an appearance 27 times.