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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Paucity of Justice


I listened to the State of the Union message on Tuesday. I am, by nature and profession, very interested in how language is used and what that reveals to us about the user. I examined the text of the speech and made these language discoveries:

Bush used the word "terror" or a form of it ("terrorist", "terrorism") over 20 times in his speech.

The word "economy" or a form ("economics") was used over 15 times.

The word "justice", except in the title "Supreme Court Justice", was used 3 times in the following sentences:

"And we do not forget the other half -- in places like Syria and Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran -- because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom, as well."

'A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under the law."

. . .let us also work for the day when all Americans are protected by justice, equal in hope, and rich in opportunity.

So, out of the three reference to justice, only twice did Bush call for some form of justice at home in the United States. Out of those two, only one can be thought of as a call for the kind of social justice that people like Coretta Scott King devoted their lives to. (Several people people who watched the speech with me noted that Ms. King's tribute came from a man who has snubbed the NAACP, an organization Dr. and Ms. King worked through.)

Bush knows war. Bush knows money. Bush doesn't know jack about justice.

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