By Douglas Snider
George W. Bush did not keep any of his campaign promises
- at least not the ones he made publicly to the American people.
He did however live up to the promise of his less than stellar
résumé. As could have been expected w hen the reins of the
world's last surviving super power were handed to a man who
had barely distinguished himself as president of his college
fraternity, colossal failure was all but inevitable. Record
deficits, staggering unemployment, environmental retreat and
a brutal invasion spiraling to daily mayhem have eclipsed
what little hope we carried into a new millennium.
So we made a huge mistake. A minority of America actually
voted for him, and far too few of us took him seriously enough
to prevent an election so close that it could be snatched
away by unprincipled manipulation and judicial fiat.
That doesn't mean we have to remain a dysfunctional nation.
People who hold views that are legitimately conservative have
no more need to defend this administration than the rest of
the nation has to accept it.
The traditional pride of most Americans has nothing to do
with rolling over a starved and depleted nation. It has nothing
do with honoring bogus heroes who shame the real heroes they
send into harm's way. It has nothing to do with cheap plastic
flags flapping to shreds on our SUV's. It has nothing to do
with surrendering the wages we earn for our families to a
powerful elite who will only gain wealth and power from our
Our past pride has been in how we have advanced humanity
and unselfishly shared our bounty and enlightenment with the
less fortunate of the world. Our shining light to the world
is now flickering on the brink of extinction. Except for the
brief time that we stood united in stunned solidarity, we
have become a nation divided and a nation weakened by our
division. If ever there were a time when we need to stand
united as a nation it is when our democracy is so perilously
close to becoming something else, when our noble experiment
has became much less than noble.
Staying the course, the rallying cry of Bush I and now II,
is not an option when the perilous course we have taken is
so contrary to our tradition, our collective beliefs and the
vision of our forefathers. This errant cowboy president glorifies
the very worst of what we have become.
We have forsaken rugged individualism for arrogant unilateralism.
Patience stemming from unchallenged power has given way to
rash and fearful military adventurism. The nation that anguished
over the fate of a single whale has been led to ignore the
calculated slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians. Our
intolerance of injustice is giving way to intolerance of the
most hateful variety.
In only the past few weeks there has been at least a hint
that a whisper of change is stirring. Voices are being heard
that the Bush administration does not want us to hear. Serious
questions are being given serious consideration. There is
finally some hope that the American people can meet again
on common and familiar ground and become truly united in restoring
the America we almost lost.
In the coming election year when we weigh our solitary votes
against those who bask in Bush's well-secured glory at $2,000
a pop, we have to make a difference as individuals. If we
choose our leaders responsibly we can return to a time when
we did not have to consider the political passions of others
before we spoke openly and honestly among them.
This is one time the majority cannot afford to remain silent.
If we lack the courage to take a stand now to rebuild our
battered democracy we will, in our lifetimes, witness America
going the way of history's other fleeting global powers and
the world will be poorer for its passing.