Saturday, November 08, 2008

Well, here we are in the waning days of the Bush presidency and the extent and breadth of the damage his Republican team has wrought on this nation is only now becoming clear to the vast majority of people. We the people ... what sadness that phrase evokes in my mind. We the people elected this man TWICE to lead us down a road of unfettered greed, rule by brute force, knee-jerk decision-making that created policies which eroded the Justice Department's credibility, indeed, its reason for existing, and military fiascos that cost thousands of lives around the world and here at home. We gave Bush unlimited power and he used it to spread the wealth among his personal friends, to undermine the Constitution of the United States, to steal the privileges and freedoms Americans have enjoyed since the turn of the century; he used presidential power to deliver death-blows to the body politic of the GOP, which will be long in recovering from the nightmare this president has bequeathed it. But it's not just the GOP that wandered off the track of democracy and into the fields of tyranny, fascism and autocracy. It was the electorate, we the people, who've placed our very lives in the hands of a team of men and women whose vision for the rule of America excludes most of its people participating in that rule. Bush had one agenda when he ascended to the presidency, and that was to prove he was tougher than his father, especially with regards to Iraq and Saddam Hussein, a brutish dictator in Iraq who dared to plot against the life of George senior. I believe that Bush 43 went into office knowing full well that, by hook or by crook, he was going to kill Saddam and make Iraq pay for the perceived indignity visited upon his family by that Middle East nation.
And so he did!
To number the evils visited on this nation by Bush and his administration will take decades of scholarly investigation and hard work to unveil the darkly cloaked secrets that he and his cronies wrapped 'round their policy-making process. If the "we the people" were to be privy to the sub-rosa meetings that developed the Bush doctrines and guiding principles, we probably would never sleep again!
But maybe we'll survive this president, yet. Of course, he still has a couple of months to exercise his unique brand of unfettered lunacy at the helm of state, so anything is possible. Perhaps he'll decide to launch nukes against Russia or Iran before his exits the world stage, just to prove to the world that he had the balls to do it. It would not surprise me.
But if we make it to Barack Obama's inauguration and beyond, hold on to your hats, 'we the people.' We're in for a really bumpy, thrill-soaked ride, I think. But what I hope for is a president who will hold steady to the Constitution's guiding principles and the moral spirit of our nation -- a spirit that I believe holds dear the least among us, the poor, the unfairly convicted, the wronged and discarded, the needy and the weak. If we, as a nation, cannot find our deeper impulses that spring from our spiritual relationship with the world, the universe and with one another, then we are doomed to die of our own hands.
No doubt about it. But if we can, once again, gain hold on our better natures, our instinct to do "good," to share, to lift up, to be the good Samaritan, to lead with love AND strength, with wisdom AND conviction, to be human beings who bear the mutual responsibility of life on this planet, then we might begin a new era in America and not only survive, but flourish and grow stronger than ever, as a nation and as individuals.
We must come together in bonds of mutual self-interests. We must embrace unions in our businesses, we must embrace health care for all our citizens; we must embrace freedom as a living concept made real by our tolerance and acceptance of others' viewpoints. We must submit when wrong, and stand tall when right. We must be willing to suffer the stones of criticism and derision that always greet the true and the honest. And honesty, above all, must become our guiding beacon in this world of intrigue and terror. Our honesty is at the core of the principles that created the Constitution. The men who gathered together in those frightening days of liberation from England by force of arms somehow knew, by intuition or predilection, that to form a bond between themselves and 'we the people' that honesty would be the rudder by which the ship of state would steer. Without honesty, our government is an enemy to the people. Without honesty, our government is a dark stalker whose motives are destruction and craven power for power's sake.
I shed tears when Obama won the presidency. Emotions long-dormant in my chest simply overwhelmed me (to my surprise) and I sobbed and quietly cried for all the pain and suffering born by American blacks and whites and Indians and Japanese and all stripes and colors in the name of freedom and democracy. Obama holds a promise of reclaiming the America that once evoked pride and admiration in the hearts of its citizenry. But, as he himself has said, that promise is ultimately in our own hands; ours to fulfill or lose forever.
I have deep empathy with our president-elect, and I hope and pray that he will get a break at critical moments during the coming historic challenges and events that will undoubtedly face him. But my deeper hope is that the 'we the people' that is our nation will rise up again, rise up wiling to bear the weight that gravity bestows on opposing forces, and it's a weight that boggles the mind! We, as a nation, have the power to destroy this planet. We have the power to level all nations, burn to cinder all oceans, lakes, mountains and plains. And if we forget this true fact, we will edge ever closer to the brink of that destruction. With weapons such as ours, total destruction is too easily accomplished. Just push a button and, voila! The deed is done.
We must acknowledge this fact again and again, and recognize the potential horror of it. Bush has strained the moral fiber of our nation to the point (almost) of rendering it beyond repair. And without a moral compass to lead our journey, human frailty will take the helm, and that will be the end of us all. For human frailty is all too predictable. It invariably chooses the impulse to act over the reasoned process of solving problems through deduction and insight, cooperation and determination.
If we continue to move along the trajectory laid down by Bush's administration, we will without a doubt destroy ourselves and all that life has become in our time.
But if we take up the burden of statesmanship and thought, if we decide to solve the world's problems, not simply beat them into submission, perhaps we will survive.


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