In what way was President Bush's speech after 9/11 Progressive?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One way in which President Bush's speech after the September 11 Attacks could be seen as Progressive was that he was able to speak to the idea of a united nation in the face of tremendous adversity.  The speech on September 20 spoke to the idea of how a united America can rise in the modern context.  While President Bush appealed to elements of the nation's past, he was able to pivot from this by suggesting that a united American identity is part of the nation's historiography.  At the same time, I think that there is a certain amount of Progressivism evident in the speech because it speaks to the idea of how the moment of tragic proportions is able to bring a nation together.  This is a refrain of the President's notion of "compassionate conservativism," something that would not be a hallmark of his administration, but something present in this speech:

We have seen the state of our union in the endurance of rescuers working past exhaustion.  We've seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew and Arabic.

There is Progressivism present in the idea of focusing on the workers, the ones who toil, and incorporating the notion that the umbrella of what it means to be "American" is something that can apply to as many groups as possible.  This is where we see Progressivism in the speech, even if it is something that was not as present in the administration and policies of the President after the attacks of September 11.

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