I occasionally check how frequently political figures refer to the concepts of freedom and democracy in their speeches and debates. The theory is, if you care about something, you talk about it.
Today’s “Freedom Count” tells us how often Bush mentioned the key words freedom, liberty and democracy in his sixth State of the Union message. (Note: Some consider this Bush’s fifth State of the Union message, because they don't count the one Bush delivered Feb. 27, 2001, to Congress as a State of the Union speech.)
Freedom: 17 times.
Total Freedom Count: 24.
This is another high Freedom Count for Bush. A Freedom Count of 10 or above is higher than average in any political speech. A 24 reflects the president’s unusually high attention to the power of freedom.
Bush has delivered similar speeches. His fifth State of the Union address last year had a Freedom Count of 36; his Feb. 22 Brussels address to Europe had a 38 count; and his Second Inaugural address had a super-high 43 count.
Humanity’s future. Among the notable passages in the president’s speech tonight:
Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens. Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity.
Dictatorships shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror. Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer, and so we will act boldly in freedom’s cause.
At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half -- in places like Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran -- because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well.
And tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.
America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology.
All in all, not bad. Bush didn’t give us a whole lot new on the freedom front, but the wheel of progress rolls on.