Issue April 11, 2006

Culture Maven: Are we really better off?

I turned on O’Reilly last Thursday night just to see that pundit’s take on the important news of the day.

Mr. Billy was vacationing. His replacement was doing his best to adopt the star’s condescending tone. Not an easy task. The guy couldn’t pull it off. The temp sounded almost objective.

He mentioned there was “one big story” that day — the purported compromise on an immigration bill.

Which was confirmation enough that our grand and glorious republic has degenerated into a state of absolute torpor.

For the real news that day was the release of certified court documents revealing that George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, approved the leak of classified national security information for purposes other than protection of our borders. To wit: partisan politics.

I’m a simple guy. I have my own left of center perspective that differs from many others. But would somebody please explain to me why this news — the president violated his oath of office in an attempt to besmirch political opponents — didn’t immediately become a watershed moment for this administration?

Here’s a question I presented a year or two ago to conscientious conservatives, to Republicans willing to objectively assess our state of affairs. What do George W. Bush and his band of imperious cronies have to do before we stop and proclaim, “Is this really the kind of guy we want leading the country? Are his values those we cherish?”

I would have thought this light bulb moment would have happened long ago. At least for fiscal conservatives. George W. Bush has lowered taxes for the nation’s fat cats, while engaging in a war that is sapping every available resource of this country. The deficit is in the gazillions. The foundation of our financial system is starting to crack. Our country is fast becoming a foreign-owned chattel.

But it’s not only financial resources that are being depleted with terrible swift sword. Our land’s emotional reserves and the stability of our constitutional process are eroding like Louisiana levees in a hurricane.

Bush is spending billions to prop up a country that is a petri dish for the terrorists he says he wants to thwart. This comes after spending billions to send our under-equipped sons and daughters off to liberate Iraq, thus making it safe for those who would bomb us to smithereens.

All the while, much of New Orleans, one of America’s great cities and certainly its most unique, remains in a state of Third World moldy rot. One might have hoped he would have designated a billion or two to employ the displaced along the Gulf Coast to clean up and reconstruct their homes. Obviously not.

This is the George W. Bush who decided on his own to circumvent the strictures of the Constitution to wiretap citizens in the name of “national security.”

This is the George W. Bush who wanted to dismantle the Social Security system, which has been the bulwark of serenity for our elderly for decades.

I know there are George W. Bush loyalists out there reading this. You are cursing my words, grousing at my failure to grasp this man’s plan.

Tell me then, please, what is his plan? How is it working? In what ways is this country in better shape than it was when George W. Bush took office?
Are we financially better off?

Has our stature around the globe increased?

Do our citizens have a greater understanding of our problems and differences and the need to reconcile them?

Have this president and his designated administrators made our country a safer, more stable, more ethical nation?

Has George W. Bush provided the leadership and values that we Americans want and deserve?

It would seem that any clear thinker would understand that it’s time for a change. I’m not talking about any impeachment or censure. That’s the way the Machiavellian Tom DeLays of the world think.

I’m talking about first turning the Congress over to a loyal opposition. That would force the administration to learn to consult and compromise. I’m talking about fostering electable presidential candidates with fresh, positive ideas to pull our country from the quicksand.

I’m talking to conservatives, liberals, anybody who cares, those who have been loyal for loyalty’s sake and those who have brayed at every administration move. Be true to your beliefs. It’s long past time to work together to escape the mire created by George W. Bush, to take our beloved country back to where it once belonged.

Contact the writer at
cdk@culturemaven.com