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· On Student Stylechoice: Naiveté and Irony and GWB ·

I've been out and about attending to elective stylechoice recently. Riding a bus last Sunday in New Jersey, I had thrust into my hands a New York Times Magazine article on the much-contested faith-based presidency of George W. Bush. I couldn't help but note the article today, Ron Suskind's aptly-titled "Without a Doubt" (10/17/04), since Suskind marks a split I'd seen the previous week in reading scores of student essays on President Bush's beliefs. They divided along religious lines essentially, turning on whether students took a naive or ironic, a stylishly straight or slanted view of the Bush presidency.

Though I can't begin to epitomize the wide variety of opinions read, I can mark their extremes at least. Without further comment, here are two stylishly varied takes on George Bush. You should know they're the impromptu essays of non-voting teenagers asked to reflect on "great decisions" reached in human history.

Stylechoice #1

A great decision was made when Mr. George W. Bush was elected President of the United States. President Bush is a dedicated man, not only to God and his country but also to his family. He rises early every morning to spend time in prayer and to study the Bible. Once he has completed his daily devotionals he awakens his wife with a hot cup of coffee. He then goes on to greet the day and to do his best at running the country.

President Bush is a compassionate man. He cares about the people of this country. His desire is that no citizen would live in fear. He may not be the smartest or the toughest but his desire to do the right thing outweighs the rest. He is a man of integrity and he relies on his faith in God and his country to help him get through the daunting task of running the most powerful country in the world.

Stylechoice #2

Truly, a great decision was made when George W. Bush was nominated by the Republicans to run for the presidency. A masterful Republican think-tank must have come up with that one. He is the people's man in the truest sense of the word. No president since Jackson has exuded such unbridled populist charisma, and no opponent could ever hope to overcome his impenetrable foolishness.

George W. Bush is the perfect president. With no political history of any kind to hang around his neck like an albatross of experience, he is free to think boldly about the course our country must run. And with an austere, almost prophetic quality to his thinking, he can walk across any mud his opponents may throw at him. He ascends above the coarseness of partisan politics and transcends political discourse altogether.

Even if events should seemingly turn against his logic or show that he appeared to have no logic at all, he can bare his soul to the electorate and show us he means well. Let him take on the heavy burden of thinking about politics. He has a plan, and it may or may not come from God himself. So rejoice, people of America! Throw off the shackles of self-doubt and introspection and rejoice in the knowledge that a great choice was made when George W. Bush was allowed to descend onto the political scene. Rejoice, my brothers. Rejoice.

You should know Styles' own choice falls somewhere in between.

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Logic and reason have almost no role in this political campaign. Beliefs trump facts. We're seeing cognitive dissonance on a national scale.

I have great difficulty imagining a real human being producing "Stylechoice #1," but that's my problem.

I took a sillier approach on my blog today.

Posted by
John on October 30, 2004 06:29 PM

I noticed. Oregon-Washington border stories of the sort Dave tells are legend — or is that legion?

I prefer to remember the example of Senator Wayne Morse, a true Oregonian turning uncomfortably in his grave now.

Posted by Styles on October 30, 2004 09:37 PM


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