Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Shock of Recognition?

Yesterday, in the course of writing about what a "contentious lot" American's are, I found myself riffing on the following proposition:

What is more interesting about American history is the ways in which a highly robust social system managed to emerge from all that contentiousness that gave little, if any, truck to such elevated concepts as "respect."

This afternoon I found Jason Linkins' post on Huffington Post concerning a statement (with video recording) made by George W. Bush in the White House Rose Garden on his legacy as President:

In the seven years that I've been the President we've had a recession, corporate scandals, the 9-11 attack, major national disasters...uhhh...two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq--all that created was uncertainty. Each one of those instances. We've been able to come through it because we've been resilient.

I could not help but wonder if he was using "resilient" in the same sense that I had used "robust." This led to a sudden chill that The Man might have actually been reading something that I wrote! The feeling quickly passed, however, when I realized that, had he seen the post, he could not have missed the text in the following paragraph:

I suspect the reason it prevails is that, while those who make it are always making messes, our culture seems to have been endowed with a talent for compensating for those messes. In other words, if we have any common goal at all, it is to apply our lives and fortunes to get out of a mess once we wake up to the fact that the mess is biting our collective asses.

On the other hand I could also see how Bush might read these last two sentences to his advantage. He might take them to mean that his role as Mess-Maker-in-Chief was the motivating factor that would eventually unite the country in a common goal. Between his approval ratings and the now fashionable jargon of change, he may be right: The country may well be united in the desire for a new President who can lead the way in undoing all the damage done by the present one!

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