President Bush addressed Congress and the nation from the Capitol building last night.
His 3,000-word speech included demands on Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, praise for the American people, and direction for the new war on terrorism.
A “content analysis” of the speech reveals the presence, and absence, of certain “democratic” and “religious” keywords.
Some form of “pray” was used six times. “God” appeared three times, and “Allah” twice.
Islam’s “teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah,” Bush said.
Bush uttered “religion” twice. He used some form of “Islam” six times, and “Muslim” five times, once saying, “The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends.”
He referred to “Christians” twice and to “Jews” twice, grouping “Christians and Jews” together each time.
Bush used some version of “freedom” 14 times, reiterating it often, as in: “They hate our freedoms–our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”
Bush referred to “evil” twice, “grace” once and “wisdom” once.
“In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may He watch over the United States of America,” Bush concluded the speech.
“Justice” echoed through the chamber five times, thrice in one of the speech’s more clever phrases: “Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.”
He spoke of America’s “values” once, and urged some form of “patience” three times.
“I ask for your patience, with the delays and inconveniences that may accompany tighter security; and for your patience in what will be a long struggle,” Bush said.
He twice characterized Islam’s teachings as “peaceful.”
Other keywords in the religious lexicon, such as “ethical,” “moral,” “mercy” and “forgiveness,” were not used.
After the speech, CNN’s Judy Woodruff said Bush was playing “almost a spiritual role. … You saw a President fulfilling … more roles than he’s ever called on to fulfill.”
Cliff Vaughn is BCE’s associate director.