What they were shouting over…

Kim Dunlap

Last Tuesday, 2100 Fox Valley residents welcomed President George W. Bush to the Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton with a lengthy standing ovation.In his introduction speech, Bill Welch, President of the Fox Valley Chamber of Commerce, greeted President Bush, stating, “What hasn’t changed is the extraordinary admiration our community has had for our President.”

Following yet another standing ovation, President Bush began his speech by thanking the entrepreneurs for their contribution to the American economy as well as the volunteers who have dedicated their time to the well-being of others. He thanked, in particular, Gloria Grendoni, a local resident who met him at the airport earlier that morning. He used her example of volunteerism as a vehicle to point out America’s strongest asset-its citizensdeclaring, “Our strength [as a country] lies in the hearts and souls of America [. . . ] My call to our fellow citizens is to love your neighbor as you would like to love yourself.”

President Bush then addressed the challenges that the United States has faced and overcome during his tenure as President-an economic recession, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the betrayal of Americans’ trust by “people who weren’t raised right” in corporate scandals. Bush defended his actions against terrorism, indicating that the “best way to protect the homeland is to chase the terrorists away and bring them to justice-that is what we’re doing.”

He maintained that the war in Iraq “liberated people from the clutches of one of the most barbaric regimes” and that human rights-specifically women’s rights-were protected and secured because of the U.S. military’s actions in Iraq. He also asserted that, because Saddam Hussein chose defiance over compliance, he was forced to take action against his regime, asking whether he should choose “the words of a madman” over the defense of America. “Given the choice, I will defend our country every time,” Bush said with added emphasis.

President Bush further stressed the importance of resolving the conflicts in Iraq for the procurement of a stable and peaceful future. He claimed, “We are now marching to peace.”

According to Bush, the American economy is becoming more stable and prosperous. He stated that U.S. economy is growing, inflation is decreasing, the number of homeowners is increasing (specifically, more minorities are purchasing homes than before), and the unemployment rate is lower than the average rate of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

He explained that the role of the government is to create an environment that fosters economic growth. He stated that his implementation of such measures as his tax policies (the child tax credit, tax relief, the elimination of the marriage penalty) “let people keep more of their own money” and serve to foster this growth. Bush added that he is strongly pushing for the eradication of what some call the “death tax.”

In addition to articulating these economic achievements, he called for more conservative spending in Washington D.C., affirming that taxes and government spending are the enemies of job creation.

Bush credited Wisconsin dairy farmers for producing exported commodities that are crucial to overseas trade. He then asked for a trade policy in which U.S. markets would serve to benefit consumers, calling for a “level playing field.” He asserted that “this administration refuses to accept the doctrine of economic isolationism […] Open trade means fair trade.”

President Bush indicated that he was concerned about the rising costs of health care–especially for small-business owners. He emphasized that the healthcare industry should not be placed in the hands of the federal government. He posited, instead, that small businesses should be allowed to share the risk across jurisdictional boundaries and that tax-free health savings accounts should be available to consumers.

At the end of his speech, President Bush mentioned the pertinent issues of medical liability, energy, taxes, and education. He said that there should be medical liability reform at the federal level, more exploration of natural gas resources in order for the U.S. to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy, and that his tax cuts should be made permanent, as they are about to expire. He discussed his educational policy, emphasizing the importance of accountability in his “No Child Left Behind” act. He also added that the funding for Title 1 (the legislation behind the NCLB ct) has increased by 41% since 2001.

President Bush concluded his speech by saying that we as a nation must “stand with [other] people, not against them.” He stressed the importance of personal responsibility-that parents must be responsible for their children, community members must be responsible for the education of the children within their community, and CEOs must be responsible for telling the truth. He closed by citing the golden rule, stating that Americans should love their neighbors as much as they would like to be loved.