Mentioning God and other Things at the National Conventions (UPDATES)

UPDATE II:

Still stinging from criticism on his failure to mention U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan during the Republican National Convention — an omission that was even criticized by Conservatives such as Bill Kristol – Romney attempted to make amends while speaking before National Guard members on Tuesday saying that “the return of our troops cannot and must not be used as an excuse to hollow out our military through devastating defense budget cuts.”

Just as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin had done, Romney also touted “his own experience as the commander in chief of the Massachusetts National Guard during his time as the state’s governor” and also tried to buttress his commander-in-chief-to-be credentials by mentioning a trip he took to Afghanistan and Iraq back in 2006.

Read more here.

UPDATE I:

The reader will notice towards the bottom of the table illustrating how many times certain words and phrases were mentioned by speakers at both National Conventions that Democrats mentioned the words and phrases “military, armed forces, troops, service members, veterans, military families and Afghanistan” 45 times and Republicans only eight times per 25,000 words spoken.

Now we know why Republicans praised the troops so little or mentioned Afghanistan so few times: because one talks about the things that one thinks are important.

In an interview with Fox, as reported by ThinkProgress, this is what Brett Baier asked Mitt Romney about this issue and Romney’s answer:

BAIER: To hear several speakers in Charlotte … they were essentially saying that you don’t care about the U.S. military because you didn’t mention U.S. troops and the war in Afghanistan in your nomination acceptance speech. … Do you regret opening up this line of attack, now a recurring attack, by leaving out that issue in the speech.

ROMNEY: I only regret you’re repeating it day in and day out. When you give a speech you don’t go through a laundry list, you talk about the things that you think are important and I described in my speech, my commitment to a strong military unlike the president’s decision to cut our military. And I didn’t use the word troops, I used the word military. I think they refer to the same thing.

Read more and watch the video here

Original Post:

There was quite a commotion among Republicans when it was discovered that the word “God” did not appear in the 2012 Democratic Party platform.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney quickly jumped into the fray saying, that the omission of the word “God” in the Democratic platform proved that the party is “veering further and further away into an extreme wing that Americans don’t recognize.”

Similarly, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, said that the absence of the word God in the platform was “rather peculiar” and “is not in keeping with our founding documents, our founding vision.”

After the decisive, personal intervention by president Obama, the word “God” was included in the party’s platform. This was followed by more Republican temper tantrums.

It was a different story, however, with respect to the Republican Party’s platform. Although the Republican Party’s nominee for president of the United States has stated that he is in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest and the health and life of the mother, the Republican Party’s platform does not include exceptions for abortion in the cases of rape, incest or for the health and life of the mother.

But unlike president Obama, the Republican nominee did not want to, or did not have the authority, the standing or the conviction to have the necessary changes made in the Republican platform to reflect his (latest) position on this important issue.

But back to the “God issue.”

God is a three-letter-word in English. In Spanish it is a four-letter word. It is spelled Dios and not at all pronounced as in the song “Vaya con Dios.” One religion has 101 names for God. I understand that in Hinduism there can be literally millions of names for Deities or Supreme Beings.

The Republican platform mentions God 12 times, but the word “God” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution.

I do not know how many times the word “God” appears in the Bible or the word “Allah” in the Koran — I am sure many, many times — nor do I know what the word for “God” is or how it is pronounced in the many religions and faiths around the world.

But there is one thing I have absolutely no doubt about.

God does not care by what Name humans refer to Him.

God does not care how humans write or pronounce His Name.

God does not care how many times His Name appears on a piece of paper, whether it is a Holy Book, a nation’s Constitution or a political party’s platform.

What God cares about is how human beings treat, respect and take care of their fellow human beings, especially the most poor, most sick and most disadvantaged among us — without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation or national origin.

But since Republicans have decided to count words, the New York Times just happens to have kept track of how often speakers at both Conventions used certain words and phrases based on an analysis of transcripts from the Federal News Service.

Some of the numbers are interesting.

Starting with the word “God,” God-fearing Republicans mentioned “God” 95 times and those Godless Democrats mentioned Him 86 times, or as the Times documents it, Republicans mentioned God 35 times per 25,000 words and Democrats mentioned God 22 times per 25,000 words.

After all the hullabaloo, not much difference, is there?

Let’s look at some other words (Number of mentions per 25,000 spoken words)

WORD OR PHRASE………………………………..DEMOCRATS…………..REPUBLICANS

Work, workers, jobs………………………………….167…………………..135
Middle class……………………………………………47……………………..7
Education……………………………………………….33……………………10
Community…………………………………………….11……………………..4
Equal Pay…………………………………………………6……………………..0
Manufacturing…………………………………………..4………………………1
Level playing field………………………………………2……………………..0

——

Women……………………………………………….69…………………..26
Choice…………………………………………………22………………….15
Values…………………………………………………22……………………8
Vote……………………………………………………29…………………..11
Justice………………………………………………….6……………………4
Equality………………………………………………..3…………………….1
Fair, fairness, fair share……………………………21……………………1
Diversity………………………………………………2……………………0
Women’s rights………………………………………2……………………0

—–
Compromise, cooperation, work together………..6……………………2


Health, health care…………………………………..62…………………..17
Medicare, Medicaid………………………………….28……………………7
Health insurance……………………………’………….4……………………1

—–
Military, armed forces, troops, service members..20……………………5
Veterans………………………………………………..16……………………2
Military families………………………………………..3…………………….0
Bin Laden………………………………………………..6……………………0
Iraq……………………………………………………….9……………………3
Afghanistan………………………………………………6……………………1
—–
Israel……………………………………………………..7……………………1
Foreign policy, foreign relations,diplomacy………..3…………………….1

Finally, on “citizenship,” a word that Republicans mentioned only twice and Democrats eight times in all the speeches, only President Obama used the word in the context of membership in a community and the quality of an individual’s response to such a membership:

But we also believe in something called citizenship – a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations.

The presence or absence of words, the frequency in which they are used may or may not reflect on the character or views of the person, or party, using those words.

Republicans apparently believe that the absence of one word, such as God, on a piece of paper means something sinister, heretical, that it “is not in keeping with our founding documents, our founding vision.”

I will let the reader draw his or her own conclusions on the frequency of certain words used by Democrats and Republicans during their respective Conventions.

Others may want to select different words and draw their own inferences.

Image: www.shutterstock.com

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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