Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I Guess He Wasn't Talking about Gays

I'm home sick today, trying to head off a cold at the pass. (Sidebar: how does the human body produce so much snot so fast? UCH.)

I was channel-surfing and landed on the President's press conference. I'll give the President some credit; it does take guts to stand up there on live television being shown around the world fielding random questions on a broad array of topics. His job, of course, is made harder still by his determination to put the best possible spin on a number of different disasters.

He was visibly distressed when a question about Social Security reform arose. This President should never play high-stakes poker: in 18 point bold Arial font, the words "Oh, crap, I thought we were done with this one...what were those arguments I used again?" appeared across his brow.

Anyway, I'm sure the press will have much to say and many statements to parse from this rare, hour-long appearance by the President, mostly on the subjects of Iran and Iraq. I wanted to focus on the disparity between two civil rights issues that Bush addressed.

Referring to the Taliban, the President said: "They rule by intimidation and fear, by death and destruction. And the United States of America must take this threat seriously and must not -- must never forget the natural rights that formed our country. And for people to say, Well, the natural rights only, you know, exist for one group of people, I would call them, you know -- I would say that they're denying the basic rights to others. "

For the moment I will let slide the irony that the Bush Administration does largely rule through intimidation and fear and has sought to promote "liberty" through death and destruction abroad. I wanted to contrast Bush's correct concern that the "natural rights" (presumably Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness) exist for all with another statement he made a few moments later.

A reporter asked, "Mr. President, two years ago, Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, heard your State of the Union address, went back to California and began authorizing the marriage of gay men and lesbians. Thousands of people got married. The California courts later ruled he had overstepped his bounds. But we were left with these pictures of thousands of families getting married. And they had these children. Thousands of children. Now, that might have changed the debate, but it didn't. But in light of that, my question is: Are you still confident that society's interest and the interests of those children in gay families are being met by government saying their parents can't marry?"

Oh, snap! But the President punted: "I believe society's interests are met by defining marriage as between a man and a woman. That's what I believe. "


Barbara said...

sorry andy my comment has nothing to do with this post, i just wanted to comment what you said on glennalicious.org about american tourists abroad and... thank you. the same "gimme-some-double-A-batteries"-thing happened to me. i'm italian and i live in rome, one day i was walking somewhere next to the vatican museums when some ladies stopped me and asked if i knew where the entrance to the museums was. they didn't even say thank you when i told them (AND they were speaking english of course)... i have to say i was real pissed off, i might not have known english and they didn't even bother to ask if i spoke their language. just as if it were the most natural thing in the world. and this is just one example. i'm sorry andy but sometimes americans can be so arrogant, that's why i felt like i needed to thank you, because american people usually don't bother to show that after all they know the meaning of the word "humbleness"... thank you andy! ps. by the way... sorry for my english!!! lol :)

DJRainDog said...

I am mortified that this man is the face of America seen most prominently throughout the world. I am shamed that somehow, he managed not to be educated, despite being a graduate of my alma mater. I am humiliated that the majority of his constituents seem to be as ignorant as he is, and I am personally offended that I might, by proximity, be mistaken for one of them. I have all but given up on attempting to educate them, though; my only viable option seems to be ignoring them until the din they create becomes completely unbearable, at which point I will once again exile myself to friendlier, more enlightened lands.

Barbara: I haven't read the post on glennalicious, but I will second your feeling. When I lived in Paris, anytime I spotted American tourists (and you can spot them from about a Metro stop away), I pretended I couldn't speak English. Sad, really, though I do have to say the furiously buzzing pushing and shoving of the Japanese tourists on the Eiffel Tower was more annoying than the majority of the Ugly American behaviour I witnessed.

Time said...

I also saw the press, show. His response to the gay marriage question was vintage Bush. He doesn't like to explain himself in matters of his (values) religion. He just states his belief and moves on.

When asked why he hasn't vetoed a spending bill, he stated that the Congress had met the figure limits; they just spent the money on something other than he had requested. He then stated, that's why he wants the line item veto.

The legislative branch is responsible to approve and fund expenditures. The executive branch should not have the ability to undo legislative decisions, with the stroke of a pen.

Andy said...

Cara Barbara, non c'e necessario. Lei parla Inglese meglio di molti Americani; certo piu meglio dell Presidente. Chiedo solo che ricorda tutti Americani non sono idioti.

Jade said...

I'd be more impressed by the President if he actually answered the question. Stating his personal beliefs doesn't answer his confidence in whether or not the children's interests are being addressed. I just want to ask him... "didn't you hear the question?"

DJ - I once worked with a Korean woman and we were discussing differences between our countries. She pointed out that people don't stand in line in Korea. I asked, how do people know who's turn it is? She said "You just know, you know? Like at the grocery store, you just walk up when it's your turn, but you don't stand in line. That's why people here think we are rude..." I still can't wrap my head around the unorganized concept, but she thinks that our need to stand in line makes everything take longer than it should.

epicurist said...

"...must never forget the natural rights that formed our country. And for people to say, Well, the natural rights only, you know, exist for one group of people, I would call them, you know -- I would say that they're denying the basic rights to others. "

It's Animal Farm all over again isn't it?

Andy said...

Yeah, but with a Chimp instead of a pig on the cover.

Bob said...

No queues in Korea?!? The Brits would have immediate aneurysms. Sort of like the ones Bush has during those press conferences (which I so do not miss now that I'm too busy standing in queues to watch US news).