Thursday, February 03, 2005
State of the Union
I took the time to actually sit and watch the W's fifth State of the Union address last night. It was good as political speeches go. W laid out a very ambitious task list for his second term. It is bold and reaching - I believe those are admirable traits. W is obviously not someone who wants to spend the next four years solidifying the legacy of the first four.
The main crux of his speech was, as advertised, Social Security. Democrats have pledged to lay themselves across the tracks in order to fight needed reform. Well, folks, W campaigned on this pledge. It will move forward because people my age are tired of throwing money down the Social Security Rathole with little hope of ever seeing a decent return on the principal investment.
So, Nancy "San Francisco Treat" Pelosi and "Dusty" Harry Reid, go ahead and stand in front of this train. Lay yourselves across the tracks (politically speaking). Take it from an old railroader. You won't want to see what's left after the train runs you over.
There is one singular event that will set this State of the Union apart from any other. In the gallery, set next to "Classy" Laura Bush, was Safia Taleb al-Souhail - an Iraqi woman still wearing the election ink on her index finger. Her father was executed by Saddam's intelligence service some years ago. W introduced her and she got a round of applause from the gallery.
Toward the end of his speech, W introduced a couple seated behind the First Lady. They are the parents of Marine Sergeant Byron Norwood of Pflugerville, Texas. Sergeant Norwood was killed in action during the assault to retake Fallujah from the terrorist thugs sworn to Al Sadr. W saluted them as they represented the families of those who have given the last full measure of devotion in defense of liberty and the liberation of Iraq. As expected, Mr. and Mrs. Norwood received a thunderous round of applause from the gallery.
Then a remarkable thing happened. Ms. al-Souhail turned to Mrs. Norwood, who then took Ms. al-Souhail in her arms and embraced her for what seemed like an eternity. Had they not separated and Mrs. Norwood returned to her seat, the applause would still be thundering inside the House of Representatives.
Both these women have cause to mourn. One lost her father to Saddam's tyranny. The other lost her son to those who would just as soon return Saddam to power. I have read and heard many Iraqis thank their American liberators, but this is the first time I've ever seen it happen. Mrs. Norwood's son willingly gave his life for the freedom of Ms. al-Souhail. Watching their embrace reminded me of a line from Saving Private Ryan - the last words of Captain John Miller to Private Ryan:
Somewhere, a Marine assigned to Heaven's Detail is smiling.
Here endeth the lesson.