Well, I have to admit that I was happier than usual to read the news on Wednesday, and even happier when I heard Rumsfeld had “resigned.” But the lift didn’t last long.
Overall, I try not to be cynical. I think the majority of people in this country are good and decent people who are more generous than not, more compassionate than not, more willing to help out their neighbor, even when they don’t know them, than not. But when I look at this country through a political lens, I see a society that is violent, xenophobic, reactionary and strident about Faith – which in this context, can be defined as positional interests arrived at without the aid of logic or reason.
Jefferson said that we get the government we deserve, but in the present context, that seems little harsh. Even with our apathy and need for simple answers to complex questions, I don’t think we deserve a government like the one we have. How sad it was to hear Bush’s reaction to Hussein’s sentencing. How much more uplifting it would have been to hear him express his sadness over the misery and horror that man’s life had caused, and how sad it was that we “had” to invade a sovereign nation in order to dispose of him; how sad it was that anyone’s life would have to end by hanging. How would other nations have looked at us if our leader had expressed regret for the waste of this person’s life and that of so many thousands of others rather than the satisfaction and even happiness he expressed at another man’s hanging?
Will the Democrats be any better? I’d like to think so, but I’m betting not. We may slow down the rate at which we’re headed toward a brick wall, but I don’t see the direction changing, either generally or even much at all. Most of the Democrats elected are pretty conservative, and we lost a few good people, Lincoln Chafee among them, simply because they were Republican. They’ll probably roll back some of the damage that has happened to environmental policy, and some of the tax cuts, but they’re certainly not going to do anything about the wars we’re in. (Everyone talks about the war in Iraq, forgetting we’re also mired, for an even longer period, in one in Afghanistan.) And I can guarantee you that most of the energy and focus for everyone in Congress will be taken up in planning for the presidential election in 2008.
Just the thought of that election makes me nauseated.
So while I am pleased the President got a clear message that the country is unhappy with his leadership, and while I am very happy that Donald Rumsfeld is finally out of there, I don’t hold a whole lot of hope for the substantial change we need. And what’s more, I don’t see anyone out there who’s really going to bring it – McCain? Hilary? Obama? No, nope and . . . .what are the chances of this country electing a black man?
A good and wise friend of mine pointed out that when people come to power who are idealistic, visionary etc., they get eaten alive. Kennedy. Kennedy. MLK. Jimmy Carter.
But take a man like LBJ, who by all accounts was just a real bastard, and he gets the Civil Rights Act passed.
Which leaves me looking for some real SOB who I might find personally repugnant but if elected, will be able to push through good legislation.
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