Monday, December 29, 2008

The Bush Legacy

My continued philosophy in these posts is to offer an alternative thought, a non-attacking way of looking at an issue, an event, or even an experience. Today’s post is an opinion.

Yesterday on the Sunday news shows Mrs. Laura Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared on separate programs defending the President’s legacy from critics who say it is one of the worst in history. It seems they too have a different way of looking at an issue, an event and an experience.

Initially I thought Mr. Bush would be a good president. I voted for him the first time around even though I knew vice-president Al Gore personally and liked him and what he stood for. I was, however, disappointed enough in his lack of environmental actions and moral condemnations during his Vice-Presidency under Bill Clinton that I could not give him my vote.

But then came Florida and the “hanging chad” debacle and an election that was decided by the Supreme Court and not the popular vote.

I think the fact that Vice President and candidate Gore chose not to contest the election for the good of the country was one of the most patriotic acts in our history. Contesting it would have shredded the political fabric of this nation; his was the right decision. History is filled with that kind of grace; it is only that we forget most of it.

I think it is admirable that Mrs. Bush stands up for her husband. Truly, what else could she do or even would she do. Secretary Rice is still the Secretary of State, serving Mr. Bush and there was not much she could say given the circumstances of political and diplomatic protocol. I suspect once she is out of public office and writes her book there may be a hindsight acknowledgment of flawed presidential decisions.

Both women intimated that history would be the judge. Yes, history will make its adjudication, but we all live in the “now” and history is the future. Right now, the Bush legacy is not good.

We live in a country with fewer freedoms than we had eight years ago. We live in a country in a deep economic crisis. We live in a country that is no longer respected by most nations and peoples of the world. We live in a country that is spending our national treasure on two wars, one of which is suspect and the other very difficult to win because of terrain, terror and regional tensions. We live in a country where our national leadership uses fear to enact ill-advised laws and rules and even though we’ve spent trillions on security we are not really safe.

No one and no country is safe against the diabolical, the fanatic, and the delusional of the world that are willing to die for their delusions.

Mrs. Bush and Madam Secretary I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the Bush Presidency. Like you, I’m sure President Bush’s original intentions were based on a hopeful outcome. That’s as good a compliment I can give him at the moment. I am one American citizen who is glad he is leaving office and I’m fairly certain I won’t be around if and when history might offer enough evidence for me to change my mind.

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