Dance President Bush -
Dance while coalition soldiers and Iraqi innocents are killed and maimed;
Dance while the wounded writhe with pain;
Dance for those who will never dance again.
In November 2008, I drafted a letter to President-Elect Obama asking him to have the nation forego all inaugural-day balls and other celebrations in consideration of all those who have so little, if anything, to rejoice about in these troubled times. I sent a draft to friends and family, most of whom considered me a party pooper, wet blanket, stick-in-the-mud, etc,--considering how many people were looking forward to celebrate this special inauguration. Although, I felt that there had been enough rejoicing on November 4th, I toned down the letter to the following, emailed it to the transition team and faxed it to three of Senator Biden's and two of Congressman Emanuel's offices in the hope that it would get through to Obama:
Dear President Elect Obama,
In January 2005, I was sick at heart seeing video images of President Bush dancing and making merry at the inaugural festivities. I realized that because of the unjustified war his administration had started in Iraq, multitudes were writhing in pain and sorrow while he was dancing: multitudes of wounded military personnel and innocent civilians, their families and the families of those who had been killed. Not only those killed and wounded in Iraq, but in Afghanistan also; as you so rightly pointed out, if we had not diverted our human and fiscal resources to Iraq, we might long ago have eliminated al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and achieved stability there.
Although I was pleased to hear Obama express, in some pre-inaugural interviews, his mixed feelings about rejoicing during the inauguration, I was disappointed that these were not expressed in any of his speeches yesterday when many more people would have heard. I was also pleased that he visited Walter Reade Hospital, but this was done on Monday and received very little attention in the media – even the New York Times had only one line about it. I would have preferred it to have been done yesterday as a first act as Commander-in-Chief, and when there was more public awareness. Certainly, it would have been tactless for it to have been a photo-op, but just having it on the inauguration-day schedule would have made the public more aware of his concern for those who sacrificed so valiantly.