Thursday, October 07, 2004

October 2000

I remember October four years ago. There was a tremor traveling across the land and with it came uncertainty, a sense of foreboding. A man from Texas was invading our consciousness and he swept forth from the gulf like a hurricane. He knew how to talk to the common man, he was a good ole boy and he didn’t join in the rhetoric of fuzzy politics because normal people just couldn’t relate to any of that stuff anyway. But who was he, really? What had he done to create value in this life? What kind of leadership ability could we expect from this man of self-distinction who everyone was falling for? These answers would never be answered as the day of reckoning loomed ever near.

I felt optimism on Election Day. Surely the American people would come to their senses and realize that this man was unfit for the role. He was naive and cocky. Surely the American Voters wouldn’t emulate that behavior. Then came Florida and the sudden crashing thud of that paper tiger we call Democracy. The people had their say and it exclaimed, “We want Al Gore to be our President!” to the tune of over a half-million votes. But the peninsula governed by the brother of our man of Texas in collusion with the woman who actively campaigned for him had its final say and it said, “Fuck you America, we George W. Bush will our President!”

Now, here I am, four years later and I find myself in a similar situation. As we move closer to the first Tuesday in November I’m beginning to question the sanity of the American Public. But this time I’m even more amazed that I have these feelings of uncertainty about my fellow Americans. George W. Bush isn’t descending upon our awareness like a hidden natural disaster this time. We are standing here in what is left from that hurricane that turned into a tornado and swept through America for four years scattering anything that wasn’t bolted down to the far corners of the Earth, leaving many dead in its wake. We now know about George W. Bush, we understand what he values in life, and we’ve seen first hand what kind of leader he is. It is all very clear. Yet I worry and fret over the strange reality that the people of this country will let that man control our lives for another four years.

On the teevee we are constantly being told how to think and feel about this President and the job that he’s done. Opinion polls invade our brains at an alarming pace so that when we have the opportunity to have our say we will not make the wrong choice. One day it seems like George W. Bush doesn’t have a chance and the next he’s ten points ahead. We don’t have time to think about what it all means and we seldom focus on what really matters; the reality of his Presidency and what has occurred while he was our commander-in-chief. So here’s my simple look at the last four years in America and what George W. Bush has accomplished.

-- He was the standing President during one of the worst scandals involving corporate corruption ever to disgrace our economy. The CEO of the company involved was a close friend of the President.
-- He was the standing President when the most devastating foreign attack on American soil took place. Approximately 3000 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001 in what he termed the “Worst Terrorist Attack Ever!”
-- He pushed the “Patriot Act” through Congress in the weeks following the attack, which gave stronger secretive powers to the security forces in America whilst weakening the Civil Rights of all Americans.
-- He started a war against the country that harbored the mastermind behind this terrorist attack in what he called the beginning of a “War on Terror”. The war against Afghanistan was supported by a majority of the world and was extremely successful. A handful of American soldiers were killed while thousands of the Afghani people died and millions were displaced from their homes. Three years later, we still have not captured that mastermind.
-- He secretly removed many of the special forces involved in the Afghanistan campaign before it was completed and prepared for an attack on the nation of Iraq before approaching Congress with the idea. He then proceeded to persuade Congress with faulty intelligence and bully tactics to give him the authority to declare war whenever he deemed it necessary. When the rest of the world questioned that same faulty intelligence and wouldn’t heed to his bully tactics regarding this ambition for another war, he called them “irrelevant” and determined to “go it alone” in Iraq. The second war of his Presidency began with the majority of the world opposed. Even the American people said they didn’t want to go to war in Iraq without the approval of the United Nations. He didn’t listen to our allies and he didn’t hear the voice of the American people, stating that he “didn’t make policies based on focus groups”.
-- The intelligence behind his determination that Iraq was an “immediate threat” turned out to be wrong just as those who opposed the war had declared. He still hasn’t owned up to this colossal failure. To date over 1000 American Soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and how many Iraqi people have died? He doesn’t bother to count.
-- Of all the countries involved in the two separate wars mentioned above, the United States of America is the only country to have and use “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (WMD); in the form of depleted uranium. The desert in Iraq has more radiation now than both Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined after World War II. Not only are they infecting the Iraqi people with this deadly toxin, the American Soldiers are being infected as well. Over 60% of the veterans who fought in the first war in Iraq have health issues today, the first time this new and “efficient form of warfare” was used. He continues to support this heinous technology that qualifies as a WMD under the requirements of the Geneva Convention.
-- His Administration never prepared for the postwar occupation and rebuilding effort. To this day the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, as the insurgency grows stronger. The American leader of the reconstruction effort in Iraq, Paul Bremer, says that we never had enough troops on the ground to handle the awesome task of putting that country back together.
-- He opposed an investigation into what happened in Manhattan and Washington on September 11, 2001 and once the investigation was under way (despite his efforts) he continued to do everything he could to hinder the investigation.
-- His second in command, Dick Cheney, is the first Vice-President to be under indictment while in office.
-- He passed his touted education reform with the “No Rich-White Child Left behind Act” that basically rewards schools that are already excelling with more money and punishes those that are failing with less. The Federal Government is currently not meeting the mandated financial requirement of this new bill pushing the fiscal burden on the states.
-- He passed the “Clean Air Act” and similar legislation that turned the clock back on all Pro-Environmental legislation thirty years taking us back to a time before effective Government regulation forced corporations to combat their dirty habits. These new rules give companies the freedom to pollute more easily, to dump more toxic waste in our environment and increase mercury poisoning in the food chain. In every instance he replaced renowned scientists with industry executives on the oversight committees dealing with these new laws.
-- He passed across the board tax-cuts that mainly benefited the wealthy and the corporate sector of America. These tax-cuts helped cause the National Budget, which was at an unprecedented projected surplus of ten trillion dollars, to plummet to an unprecedented projected deficit of ten trillion dollars in less than two years. The financial situation in almost every state has become dire causing an increase in taxes on the state level, which mostly affect the general populace.
-- He passed a new Medicare Bill that primarily benefits the Pharmaceutical companies rather than the people. It allows drug companies to charge whatever it wants without respite and it makes it very difficult for people to obtain cheaper drugs elsewhere. He also failed to divulge the true cost of this Bill when it was put to vote before Congress.
-- He proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would be the first to limit individual rights.
-- The cost for healthcare in this country has skyrocketed causing 45 million Americans to be uninsured.
-- Almost 3 million jobs were lost during his tenure making him the first President since the Great Depression to fail to increase employment for the constituents.
-- The World opinion of America is at an all time low.

This November I hope and pray that the American People listen to the truth and hear the voice in their hearts. I have faith that once again they will make the right decision and show the world that we are not ignorant and cocky, that we do understand the impact of the choices we make and that we can choose to remedy all our blunders. It will not be easy. It will be admitting that we’ve made mistakes and sometimes that’s a hard thing to do. It’s quite obvious that this President doesn’t know how to do that, otherwise we would have seen some effort to change this deplorable track record. Yet during his campaign we’ve heard nothing but praise for all of these policies and phrases such as “stay the course”.

I remember going to the polls on that clear, sunny day on the first Tuesday of November in the year of our Lord 2000. It was beautiful day with the bright promise of hope. It was a day that the American People expressed their desire for a wonderful future. It was a day of calm sanity that the Voters have learned to appreciate in this land of freedom. Before the day would end that peaceful security would be struck down by a deranged whirlwind of politics that wiped out all that we knew with its 150-mph winds. That storm hasn’t ended and we-the-people have to this day continued to feel the reverberation of Hurricane George. This November we can end that storm and one day, with the right choice, we will see blue skies again.



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