Friday, January 16, 2009

May the lord bless and keep George W. Bush... far away from US!

Today is the last Beer Friday of the Bush Administration, and for that I would like to offer up the above toast. However...

I cannot wait to celebrate Barack Obama's inauguration. I'm elated. I worked so hard, as so many people did -- I yelled and screamed, I prayed, I paid, sweat, swore, bled, and could not disconnect myself from the internet long enough to actually have a life that wasn't completely connected to news media. On election day I spent 6 hours walking around Everett neighborhoods with my dog, making sure that people were voting for Barack, but also supporting other Democrats in Washington, like Governor Gregoire. As says above, we weren't fightin' for nothin'.

I was 15 when George W. Bush was appointed president (which is the correct term since after the confusion over Florida's votes, George W. Bush sued to have them stop the vote-count there, and while the Florida supreme court said "no, count the votes", the US Supreme Court said "don't you dare", and stopped the vote count, thereby instering itself into the process and appointing Bush president.) George W. Bush has been president all of my adult life. I campaigned and called and canvassed for Kerry in 2004, but maybe not hard enough?

And for the last 8 years I have protested, rallied, railed, made "shave your Bush for democracy" posters, promoted liberal/progresive talk radio, listened, thought, read, and done everything I could to make sure that I was fighting back against the war, the re-instatement of the Global Gag Rule, the ban on stem cell research, proposed bans on same-sex marriage, more war, more death. I cried so often... when Huricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, killing somewhere around 2,000 people, and Bush was eating cake with John McCain. When Israel attacked Lebanon (something that we didn't cause, but certainly acquiesced to), and killed all of those people, and Bush stood impotently by not wanting to interfere with the Second Coming of Christ. When bin Laden was surrounded on three sides in Tora Bora, and somehow he magically slipped passed us. Video after video. Security alert after security alert. Presidential address after presidential address. Gaff after gaff. Dick Cheney lurking in the shadows of trees on the White House lawn. Bush being the "commander guy".

My entire adult life I have been fighting against this man and his world view. His perception of the way things ought to be: black and white. You end terrorism by killing terrorists. Getting rid mushrooms by pulling off the heads and stomping on the stems, nevermind that there's a whole network under the ground, and you don't get rid of a fungal infection by just killing the fungus: you have to replace it with something good or something bad will grow back.

And now, well, it's a new day. The world didn't end under Bush's watch, but it's sure hanging on by a thread. As we join hands in the next several months though, we can bridge the gaps of inequality and injustice, and bring the world back... maybe even make some progress. We can reduce unwanted pregnancies. We can reduce terrorism at home and abroad. We can provide new opportunities not just for ourselves and our children here in the US, but elsewhere in the world. We can form new friendships with people who had disagreed with us before and come to an understanding that, while we may not always agree, we can still be friends.

Barack Obama is a symbol, to me at least, that the world is not evil. George W. Bush, while not evil himself (and I do believe him when he said he thought he was doing right by us -- he just lacked the forsight and intellectual curiosity to be able to predict the outcomes), wanted us to believe that the world is full of evil. That may be, but when you operate under the assumption that everyone is out to get you, you miss opportunities to forge new friendships, to better yourself and help to better others. So while Bush wanted to "fight the evildoers", Obama wants to talk to the friends of these so-called evil-doers and see if they can help us bring these people to justice.

Not good and evil. Justice. Not black and white. Justice. It's important to see nuance. It's important to be able to tell the difference between someone who is actively trying to hurt you and someone who is letting the injustice happen; that person will be more likely to actively try to hurt you if they liked the old villain, and disapproved of how you handle them. By accepting huge numbers of "collateral damage" deaths, we create more terrorists than we kill.

By accepting that private industry can do the government's job, we say that it's okay to have two classes of Americans: those who can afford the cost of industry, and those who must rely on the defunded public sector; that it's okay that a kid whose parents have money gets an education, while the kid whose parents are poor does not. However, in this new day, my success and achievement does not come at your detriment.

I don't wish George W. Bush any ill, but I won't miss him. Neither will 70% of the country. Nor, I'm guessing, will most of the rest of the world. Sorry George, but you failed at being President too. Don't let the shoe hit you on your way out.

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