Thursday, 9 February 2006

Just a Silly Daydream

Family obligations kept me from listening to the State of the Union address last week. So I've made up my own.

Bush supporters complain of Bush detractors that there is nothing he could say that would make them happy. And you know what, they're close to right. The actions of this administration have been so consistent in many ways, that mere words alone could hardly assuage the anguish we feel at this administration's constant assault on so many of the values we hold dear.

I began contemplating what sort of speech Bush could have given that would have earned him my respect. If he made an utter about-face and gave a speech that one might expect from Ted Kennedy, proclaiming a new liberal day in America, I just wouldn't believe him. No, he would have to show me something different, but somehow square it with his abysmal record. Here, perhaps, is the speech which would have finally earned him my respect:

My fellow Americans,

The state of our Union remains strong on many fronts, with high employment, manageable inflation, the strongest defense in the world, and most importantly a diverse citizenry, comprised of millions of exceptional individuals whose abilities, inventiveness, compassion, and industriousness embody the hope for generations to come for American prosperity and idealism. Beneath these strengths, however, I must report that there lie some mighty troubles, which must be faced squarely and addressed aggressively before they eat away at the fabric of all that is great in our republic. I come to you tonight humbly acknowledging that I must share in the blame for these underlying afflictions which threaten the future that we all want for our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

When I came before you as a candidate for this office six years ago, declaring myself as a compassionate conservative who sought to be a uniter, not a divider, I meant it. I have personally known liberals, conservatives, and moderates, all of whom share the desire to do what is best for themselves, for their loved ones, and for their fellow citizens. Working together I believed we could find a way to move this country forward.

However, I seriously misjudged the extent to which my particular tactics for stimulating the economy would draw the ire of those who, also earnestly, believe those tactics to be severely misguided and injurious to less advantaged Americans. When my dear friends, who are the captains of industry, explain to me how cutting taxes, especially on inherited wealth and investment, is key to rejuvenating the economy, I believed them and I still do. But when billionairres such as Bill Gates, Sr join the chorus of liberal and Democratic voices who point out that such tax cuts have the immediate result of increasing the gap between the wealthiest Americans and those of less means, I can understand the angry resentment which has divided rather than united America.

These same captains of industry, fine people who love their children and relish clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, assured me that their industries could do a much smarter job of regulating themselves. They explained how so many of the environmental laws were burdensome, damaged the economy, and put us at a disadvantage in the global marketplace. Of course, I believed them, and I still do. Industry is smarter about regulating itself than a bureaucratically laden government ever can be. But I misjudged the grave distrust that many Americans have for allowing industry to police themselves. Very reasonable clear-headed thinkers really believe there is a danger that the lure of profits might coerce industry-appointed regulators to endanger our environment. I had intended to unite us, but instead I have divided America.

When terrorists struck their fateful blow on September 11 of 2001, we were united in our grief for those who were lost or whose lives were awfully changed forever. We were united in horror that anyone could so delight in such wanton destruction. However, I seriously underestimated the passion with which a large minority of Americans revere certain freedoms and their privacy. Our secret wiretapping program, for instance, was a common sense precaution against the terrorists gaining the upper hand. But after it was revealed, we discovered that it, as with other elements of the PATRIOT Act, was seen as a terrible invasion upon the liberties of ordinary Americans who had no connection with terrorists. My administration lost the trust of millions of Americans doing what we thought was necessary in our defense, and some really reasonable people are telling me that those measures are illegal. I had intended to unite us, but instead I have divided America.

When a brutal dictator in an oil-rich nation in the Middle East is believed to be accruing weapons of mass destruction, and my good friends who conceived of the Project for the New American Century assured me that his overthrow can only be accomplished by American initiative and is critical to our planet's future, I believed them. I anticipated that the American people would be united in their resolve to crush his dictatorship and attempt to bring Democracy to this fragile but important corner of our planet. After it was discovered that the weapons did not exist, and that the cost of the war in lives of our own men and women, in the lives of innocent civilians in the area, in the trust of the global community, and in dollars were all exponentially larger than we anticipated, the anger which would be felt toward our government for making that decision was beyond what any of us thought possible. Cindy Sheehan personified for many the heartfelt revulsion that many Americans had toward the deployment of our troops for what we believed to be a noble cause, but what for many was a foolish boondoggle. I had intended to unite us, but instead I have divided America.

When nature ripped savagely into the heart of our Gulf coast, Americans responded heroically to assist their neighbors rendered homeless. I responded with great faith in my good friends who I trusted to get the job done. I discovered that competence must trump loyalty though, when lives are at stake, and our government lost the trust of more of our citizens, as our treasury took another hit at a time when it could ill afford that.

When the combined effects of all these policies, nobly undertaken: Cutting taxes; Funding a protracted war; Passing health care reform; responding to disaster, but too late and without proper planning, combined to convert a huge surplus into a huge deficit, I find that even conservatives who have long supported my policies are questioning the wisdom of pushing forward without directly confronting this deficit. Their solutions of ending programs dear to liberals is in direct conflict with liberal solutions of ending the tax cuts for the wealthy and reducing non-essential military expenditures. I had intended to unite us, but instead I have divided America.

My good friend, and partner in this enterprise, Dick Cheney, has failed to agree with me that a dramatic change in leadership is required at this time, and so effective immediately, sadly, I am dismissing him from his post as Vice-President. Told of my plans, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld has already tendered his resignation. And effective tomorrow, because my desire to unite rather than divide America is truly sincere, I will resign my office of President of the United States, and as provided by the Constitution, Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, will take the oath of office. Please give to him your support and prayers as we all work together to preserve the dream that is America.

God bless America!

All right, all right, it doesn't really square with Bush's past - his refusal to admit error, what we know that he really DID have to know about, and gosh in places he sure sounds a lot more like Walker Willingham than George Bush - but hey, it's just a silly daydream.

1 comment:

Vaughn Amerling said...

Perhaps a daydream, Walker, but definitely not a silly one. If only GWB had spoken even a few of these words he would have regained at least a little credibility. If the president would only dismiss Dick Cheney...I'm daydreaming now.