Saturday, May 07, 2005

On the President Accepting Three Stars

During his visit to Latvia yesterday, President Bush was presented with the Order of Three Stars. He accepted. Unfortunately, he wasn’t especially eloquent when he did:
PRESIDENT BUSH: Madam President, I gratefully accept. I am so honored and so thrilled to be here in your beautiful country.

I was telling the President that it's such a joy to come to a country that loves and values freedom, and to be in the presence of a President who speaks so clearly about the need for people to be free, and her recognition that a free world will yield peace.

And so Madam President, thank you for your hospitality, and thank you so much for this great honor. Appreciate it.
In general, I think that the President of the United States has much ceremonial responsibility. Even though we are a government of, by, and for the People, we still elect someone to be a little bit different from the rest of us and I think it behooves this person to speak with a sense of that difference—especially when he is in another country representing us.

So, Mr. President, no "so"s; you should just be honored and thrilled—your position as President is sufficient-enough a qualifier for your sentiments. And, while we’re on the subject of your feelings, I’m not thrilled by the fact you’re "thrilled"; that feeling seems more appropriate for a roller-coaster ride than a visit to a fledgling democratic state--regardless of the ups-and-downs analogies one can make about growing a democracy. Also, I’m sure that Latvia would have appreciated it if you appreciated them enough to actually include yourself in that last sentence; “Appreciate it.” seemed a little too clipped and made me wonder if you were issuing an order to them or expressing your sense of appreciation.

Latvia may have given the president Three Stars, but I am only giving him one.


Anonymous brenda said...

beautifully written, t.

5/08/2005 10:50 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Thanks, Brenda! I'll point out that Jon Stewart had a fairly similiar joke on the Daily Show last night about the stars. I like to imagine that there are many TV shows trolling my blog for ideas!

5/10/2005 4:19 PM  

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