September 25, 2011

“A kinder, gentler nation” – or maybe not...


GEORGE’S APPARENTLY IMPOSSIBLE DREAM:

“I want a kinder, gentler nation.”
      
George H. W. Bush  
       Republican politician and 41st President of the United States 
       This is one of three famous quotes from
the speech Bush gave on August 18, 1988 at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans, accepting his nomination as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party. That address, written by speechwriter Peggy Noonan, also included the memorable phrase “a thousand points of light” and Bush’s infamous pledge: “Read my lips: no new taxes.”
       In the part of the speech that included the soon oft-parodied words “a kinder, gentler nation,” Bush explained:
       “Prosperity with a purpose means taking your idealism and making it concrete by certain acts of goodness. It means helping a child from an unhappy home learn how to read - and I thank my wife Barbara for all her work in literacy. It means teaching troubled children through your presence that there's such a thing as reliable love. Some would say it's soft and insufficiently tough to care about these things. But where is it written that we must act as if we do not care, as if we are not moved? Well I am moved. I want a kinder, gentler nation.”


DONALD TRUMP’S RESPONSE:

“I like George Bush very much and support him and always will. But I disagree with him when he talks of a kinder, gentler America. I think if this country gets any kinder or gentler, it's literally going to cease to exist. I think if we had people from the business community — the Carl Icahns, the Ross Perots — negotiating some of our foreign policy, we’d have respect around the world.”
       Donald Trump
       American businessman, reality TV celebrity and unreal presidential candidate
       In
an interview published in the March 1990 issue of Playboy magazine


NEIL YOUNG’S RESPONSE:

“We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler
Machine gun hand...
Keep on rockin’ in the free world.”

      
Neil Young
       Canadian rock musician and songwriter 
       These lyrics come from Young’s popular, politically-charged rock anthem “Rockin’ in the Free World,” released in 1989. He originally wrote the song to express his opinions about the political policies of President George H. W. Bush and what he viewed as an increasingly meaner, harsher America. Young still performs it with great passion today and many of the lyrics seem as relevant as ever. Maybe even more relevant.


DICK CHENEY’S RESPONSE:

“I think they were hoping for a kinder, gentler Dick Cheney, and I listened to what they had to say, and then I ignored their advice.”
       Dick Cheney
       Republican politician and U.S. Vice President under President George W. Bush
       Cheney made this comment in his memoir, In My Time (2011). It describes
his response when campaign consultants working for Bush asked him not to use harsh rhetoric attacking Democrats during his speech at the 2000 Republican convention, due to their concerns that Cheney would alienate moderate swing voters. Of course, the consultants’ concerns were unfounded. Dubya went on to win the 1988 presidential election by a huge landslide over Gore and moderates came to love Cheney. Nah — just kidding.


A MARKET FORCE RESPONSE:

“Market forces are not kinder and gentler to technologies just because we prefer them.”
       Scott L. Montgomery
       Geologist, author and faculty member at the University of Washington, Seattle
       Commenting on renewable energy sources in his book The Powers That Be: Global Energy for the Twenty-first Century and Beyond (2010)

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