I’ve been watching George Bush as he destroys my country. It has not been easy to do. Any of you who have read this blog for years now know that, except for a moment’s hope that he would serve rather than reign after his spanking in the mid-term elections, I have consistently cried out in a Jeremiah-like fashion against this man and his minions.
And though it is not a very pleasant way to reemerge from my blogging silence, I feel compelled to make a few comments on Bush and our national scene as it currently appears to me. I will confine myself to the political; the moral is too painful to even address.
The game is very simple as George Bush plays it: The president is subject to Constitutional checks and balances except in times of war. Therefore, say we are in a state of war and all rules are off. The president then has granted himself the right to be a despot.
It is up to Congress to stop this dangerous foolishness, but they have neither the courage nor the will. It is they in whom the power to make war is vested; the president merely has the power to prosecute that war. Had they refused Bush the right to make war, or, if they were to make a claim on the illegitimacy of his war-making, they could stop him. But they didn’t and they won’t, because the shibboleth of “undermining the troops” will be trotted out to paint them as anti-American and putting our sons and daughters in harm’s way.
As to impeachment, he has insulated himself by putting a criminal in the post of vice president, so his successor would be even worse — a variation on the Nixon-Agnew strategy that the old timers among you will remember. Also, the Democrats now want to drag the Republicans behind the wagon until the next election, so they would rather let the crimes of this administration reveal themselves in excruciating slow-motion than call the administration to task for its betrayal of the trust of this country.
Meanwhile, we kill women and children in Iraq and are subtly shifting the blame to the Iraqis themselves, saying it is their fault all the killings are taking place because they have not put a stable government in place. No one is standing up and saying, “We made a horrible, horrible mistake and must ask forgiveness from an innocent people who had the misfortune to be sitting on a field of oil and to have been under the reign of terror of a brutal, megalomaniacal dictator. We are truly, truly sorry, and will find a way to make it right.”
We also allow our husbands and wives and children to continue to be killed because no one among the Democrats had the courage to fight back when the Republicans called them to task for referring to the dead soldiers as “victims.”
“How dare you call them ‘victims’?” they thundered. “They are heroes.”
No they’re not. A person who gets killed is not a hero unless they are doing something heroic. A person who is put in harm’s way under false pretenses, and is killed as a result, is a victim, even if they demonstrated incredible personal courage and resolve. But the parents who trusted this small and evil president cannot face the fact that their children died in vain. Who can blame them? I couldn’t face it, either. If I let myself face that fact I would be so angry I could no longer go on living. The best I could do is hang desperately onto the notion of heroism and try to move through my grief-stricken life. This is what these parents are doing, and the Republicans are exploiting it in the most venal and unconscionable fashion.
For those of you who wonder where all this vitriol comes from, and who want from me inspiration and sweetness and light, I can only say that I have seen this before in Viet Nam and Johnson and Nixon, and it scarred me forever. The tricks are more sophisticated now, and the president, incredibly, is even more shameful and less competent. But make no mistake, our nation has been severely wounded and will not be healed in my lifetime or yours or our children’s. The legacy of this man’s reign is one of singular destructiveness.
Put simply, he has been the Hurricane Katrina of presidents. He has laid waste to our moral and political landscape.
May we not see his like again for generations and generations.