Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Friday, January 26, 2007
By Smokey Briggs
Plenty of applause for
President Bush and Senator Webb
I took the time to listen to the State of the Union address Tuesday night. My daughter Dixie sat on the couch with me through most of it and had a great time, clapping in unison with those actually inside the House of Representatives as the president paused and waited for their applause.
I kept giving her “the look” so that she would know I did not approve of her clapping in support of what I thought was foolishness, but my daughters tend to have minds of their own, and she just kept on clapping as the president spoke.
Then, though my head was actually spinning with the new ideas and detailed plans the president laid out for our future, I went ahead and listened to the Democrat response from Jim Webb, the new senator from Virginia.
There was no live audience for Senator Webb, but Dixie clapped anyway throughout his speech.
Me, I did not clap so much - for either the president or Senator Webb.
I have now listened to quite a few State of Unions. I am old enough to remember the days when the State of the Union was aired on all three networks - and there were only three channels.
It made for pretty poor pre-bedtime television for a nine-year-old.
The first one I really remember was a speech by Carter. I really remember the first State of Union given by Reagan. I’ve listened to most of them since then.
After 25-plus years, I’ve noticed a trend.
The trend is the State of the Union speech is as predictable as sunrise, and as boring as watching grass grow in West Texas in August.
Here were the main topics in this year’s State of the Union, along with my personal thoughts regarding the topic:
We are going to keep kicking that Middle Eastern Tar Baby known as Iraq, and we are going to kick him harder and harder, till that sucker says, “Hello” in ‘merican.
(Note to President Bush: you should read Uncle Remus’ “The Tar Baby.” That way, you can find out how this story ends. Unfortunately for us, I don’t see any briar patches around).
We are going to pursue peace in the rest of the Middle East. (Wow, that’s a new idea. How far back do you have to go to find a State of the Union speech that did not promise peace in the Middle East?)
We are going to help small businesses. (Yeah, I’m on the receiving end of plenty of help already, Mr. President. Much more government “help” and I’ll be out of business. Go help somebody else.)
We are going to have immigration reform. (Yeah, sure we are. Just like last year. And the year before that. And the…)
We are going to improve public education. (Boy, we’ve never heard that before. Every year for about 50 years the government has improved things, and every year, high school graduates know less. I guess people are just getting dumber. Think how bad it would be if the government were not helping at all!)
We are going to do something about Global Warming. (Now, I can get behind this government initiative, since just that morning I drove through six inches of snow to get to work - in West Texas - where snow is the only thing less common than rain.)
We are going to keep subsidizing ethanol production. (This is a relief. Unless you live in Mexico where the cost of corn tortillas is skyrocketing because the ethanol plants are buying up all the corn, driving the price up. Or, unless you are one of those strange people that eats bread of any form, because wheat and oat prices are going up too, because of the scarcity of corn. What a great plan ethanol is).
We are going to provide more people with healthcare. (Gee, that’s a new one).
We are going to pursue “energy independence” through cool ideas like cutting gasoline usage in this country by ten percent and “funding” research into alternative energy sources. (We can only hope that the next initiative is as successful as the ethanol initiative has been. Really, it might work. Another initiative to convert food to fuel might starve enough people to death that there will be plenty of gas for the survivors, and hey, most of them will be pretty skinny as well, and less weight means better gas mileage in the family sled.)
Last but not least, we are going to help people out with “new tax structures.” (As I said before, I’m getting all the government help I can stand. While the tax structure may change, I’m betting the actual taxes I pay will go up. The reason I think this is that taxes have gone up every year of my life no matter what the lying blowhards in Washington promised. So, I am just going with the odds here. )
You know, I am pretty sure that I heard this speech before - I think it was the same one Jimmy Carter used the first time I bothered listening to a State of the Union speech.
For that matter, I think it is the same one I heard from Reagan, Bush, Clinton and now Bush again.
Same topics. Same lack of details. Same promises to take from some citizens and give to others.
And the opposition party’s response?
Same B.S. Everything the president said is bad, and we will do the opposite.
But, of course, they really will not do the opposite. It just makes for good sound bytes.
The quote from Senator Webb that sticks in mind is, “ We have a healthy economy, but we need to make sure the fruits of this economy are properly shared among all Americans.”
Well, that’s pretty close to what he said. I am working from memory here.
Wow. That sounds really nice Jim. Although I do not remember exactly where the “Share and share alike” clause is located in our Constitution.
Where is it, exactly, that the Constitution appoints Congress to make sure I get my fair share? (I guess I missed that lecture in law school.)
And it comes down to this. Practically nothing that either party mentioned is actually within the government’s Constitutionally granted powers.
Both parties present us with problems that mostly exist because of government meddling in the first place, that the government is not empowered by the Constitution to handle, and then present us with solutions that involve more government stacked on more government.
So, what’s to clap about?
When it was all over, Dixie clapped some more.
Dixie has an excuse.
Dixie is only 15 months old, and she claps when she stacks one block on top of another, when she sees other people clap, and sometimes, for no obvious reason.
I know why Dixie was clapping.
It’s everybody else I cannot figure out.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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