Tuesday, September 21, 2004

"God bless you" versus "thank you"

My toddler is trying to figure out when to say "thank you" and when to say "God bless you." Bush's speechwriters may be struggling with the same issue.

Bush concluded his speech to the United Nations General Assembly today with the phrase,

May God bless you.
(This can be confirmed by a video of the speech and transcriptions on the web sites of the White House and various news organizations.)

But an earlier draft of the speech concluded not with "May God bless you," but instead with a simple,

Thank you.
The web sites of the U.N. and CBS News both contain the "thank you" version.

The U.N. version is labeled "Draft #21." The CBS version is labeled as "the text of President Bush's speech to the United Nations as prepared for delivery."

Did Bush ad lib his concluding sentence? Or was the speech he delivered actually prepared in advance as draft #22?

Why did God get inserted in the speech? Why was God not in the earlier version?

A look at the President's earlier U.N. addresses is inconclusive. Bush's Sept. 23, 2003 address to the U.N. did end with, "May God bless you all," but his Nov. 10, 2001 speech to the U.N. did not. (The Nov. 2001 address did however contain a reference to God in a passage about history having "an author who fills time and eternity with his purpose.")

Instead of "may God bless you," perhaps the President could have said "Gesundheit"--an oblique reference to Dan Rather, he who has recently come to personify the opposite of krankheit.

A little pun from my departed Grandpa for the German speakers in the readership.

It's late, I'm babbling. G'night.