Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of the Union Highlights

“As Franklin Roosevelt once reminded Americans, ‘each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth.’ And we live in the country where the biggest dreams are born. The abolition of slavery was only a dream - until it was fulfilled. The liberation of Europe from fascism was only a dream - until it was achieved. The fall of imperial communism was only a dream - until, one day, it was accomplished. Our generation has dreams of its own, and we also go forward with confidence. The road of Providence is uneven and unpredictable - yet we know where it leads: It leads to freedom.”

President Bush spoke with confidence and passion to the American people in the State of the Union Address. In an inspirational moment Bush spoke of an Iraqi patriot:

“One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. She says of her country, ‘we were occupied for 35 years by Saddam Hussein. That was the real occupation. Thank you - to the American people, who paid the cost, but most of all to the soldiers.’ Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country - and we are honored that she is with us tonight.”

Bush spoke with emotion about the brave men and women “who died for our freedom, and whose memory this nation will honor forever.”

“One name we honor is Marine Corps Sergeant Byron Norwood of Pflugerville, Texas, who was killed during the assault on Fallujah. His mom, Janet, sent me a letter and told me how much Byron loved being a Marine, and how proud he was to be on the front line against terror. She wrote, “When Byron was home the last time, I said that I wanted to protect him like I had since he was born. He just hugged me and said: 'You've done your job, mom. Now it's my turn to protect you.'" Ladies and gentlemen, with grateful hearts, we honor freedom's defenders, and our military families, represented here this evening by Sergeant Norwood's mom and dad, Janet and Bill Norwood.”

While the combined House and Senate audience cheered, Janet Norwood embraced Safia Taleb al-Suhail. Sgt. Norwood's dog tags became entangled in the Iraqi woman's sleeve and for a moment bound these two women who had lost a father and a son in the fight for liberty.

The President expressed commitment and confidence in the US policy to end tyranny in the world.

“Our generational commitment to the advance of freedom, especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored in Iraq. That country is a vital front in the war on terror, which is why the terrorists have chosen to make a stand there. Our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorists in Iraq, so we do not have to face them here at home. … We will succeed because the Iraqi people value their own liberty - as they showed the world last Sunday.”

“That advance has great momentum in our time - shown by women voting in Afghanistan, and Palestinians choosing a new direction, and the people of Ukraine asserting their democratic rights and electing a president. We are witnessing landmark events in the history of liberty. And in the coming years, we will add to that story.”

Turning to domestic matters, Bush addressed the most important issues:

“Because HIV/AIDS brings suffering and fear into so many lives, I ask you to reauthorize the Ryan White Act to encourage prevention, and provide care and treatment to the victims of that disease. And as we update this important law, we must focus our efforts on fellow citizens with the highest rates of new cases, African-American men and women.”

At risk youth
“Our government will continue to support faith-based and community groups that bring hope to harsh places. Now we need to focus on giving young people, especially young men in our cities, better options than apathy, or gangs, or jail. Tonight I propose a three-year initiative to help organizations keep young people out of gangs, and show young men an ideal of manhood that respects women and rejects violence.”

Life Ethics
“To build a culture of life, we must also ensure that scientific advances always serve human dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of others. We should all be able to agree on some clear standards. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought and sold as a commodity.”

Budget Deficit
“America's prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government. I welcome the bipartisan enthusiasm for spending discipline. So next week I will send you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. My budget substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs that are not getting results, or duplicate current efforts, or do not fulfill essential priorities. The principle here is clear: a taxpayer dollar must be spent wisely, or not at all.”

Economic Growth
“To make our economy stronger and more competitive, America must reward, not punish, the efforts and dreams of entrepreneurs. Small business is the path of advancement, especially for women and minorities, so we must free small businesses from needless regulation and protect honest job-creators from junk lawsuits.”

Health Care
“I ask Congress to move forward on a comprehensive health care agenda - with tax credits to help low-income workers buy insurance, a community health center in every poor county, improved information technology to prevent medical errors and needless costs, association health plans for small businesses and their employees, expanded health savings accounts, and medical liability reform that will reduce health care costs, and make sure patients have the doctors and care they need.”

Tax Simplification
“To build the prosperity of future generations, we must update institutions that were created to meet the needs of an earlier time. Year after year, Americans are burdened by an archaic, incoherent federal tax code. I have appointed a bipartisan panel to examine the tax code from top to bottom. And when their recommendations are delivered, you and I will work together to give this Nation a tax code that is pro-growth, easy to understand, and fair to all.”

Social Security Reform
“One of America's most important institutions - a symbol of the trust between generations - is also in need of wise and effective reform. Social Security was a great moral success of the 20th Century, and we must honor its great purposes in this new century. The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy. So we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security. As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility to make the system a better deal for younger workers. And the best way to reach that goal is through voluntary personal retirement accounts.

Americans have much to be thankful for and, with George Bush’s leadership and God’s blessings, much more to look forward to in the years ahead.


Blogger Ralph said...

My son caught me crying at the big hug.

11:03 AM  

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