We’ve been fairly professional about this up ’til now. However, after this week, my objectivity is gone. Hitch up your sports cup, rant fans: here I go.
President George W. Bush recently visited Monmouth County, NJ to press the flesh for the local candidates. There were several protests to commemorate the event, but one piece of dissension that quietly slipped by was a sign lovingly placed on Laird Road, home to an extensive apple orchard owned by Laird’s Apple Jack Company. The sign read “Mister Bush, do not come here. You are the worst president in history.”
This week, the government is betting the farm on a bailout for Wall Street. Companies allowed to run rampant and wild, trampling business ethics and common sense, are being given a huge financial do-over because, if they don’t get the money, they could run us straight into a depression. If you look at the numbers — the real ones, not the fudged figures our elected officials have been slipping us — you’ll find we’re already in a recession. We were lied to, essentially, because it’s an election year, and if the truth is kept in the darkness long enough, it ceases to be an issue. It ceases to exist. Right? It won’t harm the party, right?
Peer behind the truth-speak. They’ve been saying they want to “avoid recession,” but they really mean “avoid depression” — as in Great Depression. Because Bush allowed his rich cronies free reign, his trickle-down theory has finally short-circuited the works, and guess who gets the golden shower? You the taxpayer, or should I say your kids. You remember all of Bush’s tax cuts and that flaccid, impotent Economic Stimulus Package? You, the next generation and maybe the one after that are going to have to repay it back for many, many years to come. Because George told his white-collared criminal cohorts to go nuts, unrestricted and unencumbered, they have flipped the ultimate gambit on us, blackmailing us to pay up or else the wholeÂ economy gets it.
George W. Bush went after Iraq like a size queen at a stud farm, diverting necessary funds and troops from Afghanistan. Now the Taliban are back and pushing hard to destabilize what little stability there was. Why did he do it? Was it the Iraq oil? Was it a sick vendetta that put his personal grudge against the welfare of the country he runs? Was it a twisted Oedipal foul to show up his father who couldn’t get Saddam Hussein, or was it an in-your-face to brother Jeb who the family, supposedly, had infinitely more confidence in? Does it matter now? The dead are dead. The hands are slicked with blood and oil, and the mastermind of one of America’s darkest days was allowed to slip away because of you, Mr. Bush. I blame you.
I do not blame you, however, for 9-11. I do not blame you for the start of a down-trending economy. Those seeds were sown in the Clinton administration. I do, however, believe that had a Democratic candidate inherited Bill Clinton’s position, tainted and semen-stained as it was, he would have governed well enough that these current, severely dark times may have been lightened, lessened, or (dare we dream?) avoided altogether. They may have kept their eyes on the ball. Instead, we had you, too busy loofa’ing the sphincter of that upper 10% (your “base,” as you once referred to them) with that thoughtless, lip-servicing tongue of yours. The underworld moved. The towers fell. You were shocked. That the towers fell is not your fault — that you loaded those fears into your Saturday Night Special and blew your country’s brains out for your short-term political benefit definitely is.
America needed teachers and the respect and paycheck they deserved. You vilified intellectualism, told the teachers to ‘man up or get out,’ essentially, and presented a three card monte in the guise of an educational initiative. You told a young generation that it isn’t what you learn for life that’s important, it’s what you can remember well enough to pass the test. You have no desire to raise a bright, gifted and intelligent generation of students, smart enough to see through your sham. Keep them stupid so that they’ll think you’re great, even as you secretly loathe their poor, unrefined ways. Keep their expectations lowered so that they don’t mind busing the tables your elitist brothers-in-checkbook inhabit or sponging down the lavatory walls their lily-white bottoms blew up so that their rosy cheeks wouldn’t touch that ‘commoner’s porcelain.’ Keep them on anti-depressants so that Big Pharma gets its reward. Keep them from achieving anything, because it’s still a volunteer’s Army.
Because of your inability to “talk to the enemy,” or to keep your eyes on movements in countries we once considered enemies, or worse, keep your eyes out for countries we know are our ‘frenemies,’ you have allowed the Cold War to begin anew. We could have engendered a state of sympathy for those disaffected comrades, kept their impression of democracy favorable, and given them a reason to hold the line — but instead, we turned away. Now we have Grand Poobah Putin and his puppet president; missiles and madness. The Republican party reveres the memory of Ronald Reagan and considers him the architect of the collapse of the U.S.S.R. They steadfastly cleave to his memory every election cycle, and what have you done? You’ve dropped trou and defecated on the cornerstone of their pride. It was once said that it is best to keep friends close and enemies closer. You turned away and were shocked yet again when what you thought would happen didn’t.
Scared and desperate Americans are being force-fed the red meat rhetoric of your party’s current choice to fill your shoes. Some are buying into it. It indicates perhaps you’ve even blown the war on drugs because, after all these years of hardship, we’d have to be high to want to elect anyone who voted your way 90% of the time. Oh, and why didn’t we see the possibility of a President Cheney, huh? Isn’t that the usual pecking order of a two-term president, that the vice-president ascends to claim the throne and crown? Why is it that no one considered this remotely a possibility? Is it because your vice-president doesn’t even consider himself a part of the executive branch of government, thereby allowing himself the opportunities to foster shadow governments above our petty little rights, freedoms and liberties? Did you know it was happening and allow it, or did Cheney, Addington and the rest of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight do it under your nose? President Bush, I want to know. Are you willfully ignorant or hopelessly incompetent? You have no other option. You’re either complicit or you’re the crony.
The sign said it all. “Mister Bush, do not come here. You are the worst president in history.” I have suffered more in that last eight years than I have through all of my previous life — through car wrecks, a body cast, untimely family deaths including a murder, members with addictions, and the occasional agoraphobic so afraid of the outer reality that they turned away from it entirely. In these eight years I have fought harder than ever, and so has my family. Dear friends struggle through a nearly merciless cycle of getting jobs, losing jobs, and waiting for paychecks that may or may not arrive. A friend down South who I love dearly is going through a hard time and is making tough decisions. The infrastructure you helped warp, destabilize and terminally screw up will not assist her. My father relies on a Social Security check and Medicare waiver you dangle over his head like a filthy stick and carrot. You are the worst president in history.
Jimmy Carter redeemed himself greatly in his post-presidential years. He tried. Richard Nixon went to China. You’ve gummed the works of not only the great nation of America, but the economy of the world. In a just, yet flawed world, schoolchildren will learn lessons about you and have pity on you because no one ever gave you the instructions on how to assemble your equipment properly. Some may just laugh at you, reducing your legacy to an infinite number of punchlines to resonate long after your demise. Mostly they’ll be so very, very grateful you’re not their president.
Your legacy is that you took office from a reprobate who may be considered a moral embarrassment, and still somehow you’ve managed to look even worse. Parents will not pass down a life better than theirs to their kids; instead the children shall inherit the debt. As a leader, you have sucked harder than it has ever been humanly possible to suck, and you should never be allowed to make a decision thereafter, not whether to turn left or right, not whether you want yours with or without pepperoni, not anything. You have hurt me. You have hurt all of us, yet I do not wish the ultimate against you. I wish you no harm or pain. I just wish you would go away to a private island somewhere once your term is done, never to bother us again with your deceptions, your class-war machinations, or your “aw shucks” demeanor that hid your contempt for us. May your replacement make a dent in the damage you’ve done. May we all be able to get past this national nightmare, and if there is justice in this wonderful existence, may the ghosts of every elected official who ever gave a damn and tried to make this world a better place haunt your restless sleep for the rest of your days.