That’s right, while the President mentioned “justice” only once in the State of the Union Address (“. . . to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen,”) he used the word “access” a total of six times:
“150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education”
“the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job”
“guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education”
“a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need”
“Offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job”
“Across Africa, we’re bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity”
This is in comparison to Afghanistan (ten times in only three different paragraphs) and Iraq (only three).
These people know what they are doing, so we have to assume that “access” is a powerful word that resonates with themes of inequality and lack of opportunity, and does so in a non-ideological way.
That’s something to think about as we think about how to talk about justice.
I completely agree – the White House chooses words and concepts very carefully, based on extensive research. I noticed some other words, decided to count, and found “opportunity” (12 times, including two uses of “opportunity for all”), “communities” (7 times), “help” (in some form, 38 times), and America/American/Americans (83 times).
Then I decided to do a Google search on the topic, and found a series of “word clouds” that I think you will find interesting: http://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/news/politics/2014/01/28/what-did-obama-say-his-past-state-of-the-unions-in-word-clouds/4966671/
One more fascinating resource: a SOTU/Twitter interactive analysis graphic that links the most popular hashtags trending on Tuesday night with corresponding SOTU text – in real time. Note that the apex of tweeting for the entire speech was also the point at which #fairness was most tweeted about. http://twitter.github.io/interactive/sotu2014/
That is very interesting; perhaps “Access” may make justice more widespread. Perhaps better access would entail equity as well as justice. “What does the Lord require f thee but to love jusrice and to walk humbly.’Justice, strictly construed, may not give access to education, if thee is no mercy involved.