I, along with countless other writers have catalogued the Bush failures, his ineptness, his total inability to govern. But to what end? Yes, his poll numbers are in now in the mid 30's, unprecedented for a second term president just reelected. And his vice President, the loathsome Dick Cheney, is somewhere in the vicinity of 18%. As one writer pointed out, this is less than believes in space aliens and ghosts - which is about a third of the population. How can one govern when being totally out of sync with America's values ands standards? Is democracy now on the decline in the U.S.? Have greed, self interest and spin won the day? Has the American public been made fools of by the clever machinations of Karl Rove, the Dr. Frankenstein of American politics, the man who took this half-brained creature, this pseudo-moron, George Bush, and transformed him into president of the U.S.?
I have a writer friend who argues that Bush has reached the end, that he is now road kill. No longer is congress rejecting him, but he believes that the "military elite" will stop Bush before his madness leads to another military debacle. I find little comfort in this view.
What military elite?
Look at another Vietnam combat veteran, John McCain, and you see much the same thing, a physical hero who endured years of captivity and torture in a North Vietnamese prison camp, but in the end, just another moral coward, unable to lead, a man who stands for nothing -- nothing, that is, except the insatiable desire to be president. There is not an ass in Washington McCain won't kiss to be president. I saw McCain on Jay Leno a few months ago trying to act like a cool dude. He was truly pathetic. You would really have to be sick to vote for John McCain for president.
And look again at another Vietnam fighter pilot, "top gun" Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Congressman from California, just convicted of fraud and tax evasion and sentenced to eight years in federal prison. As a young man he was "full of piss and vinegar," but as a real adult, faced with real responsibilities, he was a total failure. Like George W. Bush, he never grew up. He never learned what real life was all about.
All three "heroes" have at the end of the day disgraced themselves and disgraced their country. What are we to make of this? For one, they are all Republicans. And in one way or another closely associated with George Bush. Is that a coincidence? Perhaps.
Only two members of Congress have ever worn the Congressional Medal of Honor, Sen. Daniel Inyoue of Hawaii and former Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, both Democrats.
But it's not hopeless for the GOP in the courage/cowardice category. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is a Vietnam combat veteran, wounded in action. And Hagel opposes most of George W.'s Iraq war policies. And then there is Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a 37-year Marine Corps veteran of two wars, who like Hagel has little use for the cowardly George Bush.
And on the subject of cowardice, consider this. In a recent hunting escapade, Dick Cheney accidentally shot one of his hunting comrades. There may have been negligence involved, but that is up to the local district attorney to decide. But more importantly, I think, is the nature of the hunt. These were not wild birds. The birds were bred in captivity. They had spent their lives in pens, and then on hunting day, were released for the sole purpose of being killed by Dick Cheney and cohorts for pure sport as they flew into the open sky for their only moments of brief freedom. Whether you are an animal lover or not, there is something disgusting and degrading about this kind of hunt and something less than human about those who participate in it.
All this brings to mind words from Kurt Vonnegut from his book of essays, "Palm Sunday," when he addressed the graduating class of his alma mater, Cornell, in May 1980.
"I pity you people of today for not having truly great leaders to write about---Roosevelt and Churchill and Chiang Kai-Shek".Oh, sure, we [may] have another war coming, and another great depression, but where are the leaders this time? All you have is a lot of ordinary people standing around with their thumbs up their ass."
So, America, these are the leaders you elected. You chose them. Now, what are you going to do about it?
Gerald S. Rellick, Ph.D., worked in aerospace industry for 22 years. He now teaches in the California Community College system. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org