MAKING AMERICA BETTER
Americans don't agree on much these days, but one thing we can all agree on is that the state of our union is a lot different today than it was three years ago.
President Bush made that case Tuesday night. The war in Iraq. The war on terror. Tax cuts. No Child Left Behind. The Patriot Act. Unemployment. A jobless economic recovery. Growing health care costs. Faith-based initiatives.
Much has changed since George W. Bush took office in January 2001, and not all of it is due to 9/11. For better or worse, depending on one's view, President Bush has left his mark on America.
And Tuesday night he proved that he's not done yet.
The president still wants to give Americans the option of privatizing their Social Security. He wants to make his tax cuts permanent while at the same time cut in half the deficit he's amassed in three years.
He wants to see a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. More programs encouraging abstinence among youths. A jobs training program for ex-cons.
He wants to go further with No Child Left Behind, the education initiative that set standards and provided for decertification of schools and teachers who fail. Yet he had the heart to say we need a program to help those who do get left behind. I'm assuming he means students. Schools and teachers would be on their own.
But George W. Bush's vision for America wouldn't have been complete if he hadn't hit upon the one issue that's foremost in everyone's mind. The issue that will make America great again.
No, the president didn't mention his space initiative in his State of the Union address. Putting man on the moon, again, and on Mars is a significant and expensive goal, but it pales in comparison to the one issue that for years has been eating away at America.
Yes, I'm talking about steroid use among professional athletes.
Finally, a president with the wisdom and the guts to address this pressing problem. One who is willing to stand up to professional athletes and owners of pro sports franchises and say "Knock it off,'' "Do something about it.''
A country that can provide $23 million for drug testing our children in schools, as the president wants to do, cannot ignore the insidious problem infecting our professional athletes. It's about time this issue became a presidential initiative.
The president didn't address cuts in veterans' programs and health care. He didn't talk about escalating college tuition rates. Or about job creation or the loss of manufacturing jobs overseas.
But it's no wonder. He's got his hands full.