How are you doing? What have you been up to lately? Sorry it's been so long since I've written.
I was actually in the middle of writing an open letter to President Bush when I thought of you.
I was asking him, respectfully of course, about his insistence that Senator John Kerry apologize for his botched joke. Perhaps you've heard of all this nonsense? You must think we're pretty ridiculous. I mean look at all that's going on in the world, and all Bush and his friends (including a mostly compliant media) want to talk about the past couple of days is a poorly thought out and delivered joke. Big deal. I'm sure that Kerry, a veteran himself, meant nothing disparaging against his fellow soldiers, past or present. Anyhow, I was asking him why he would insist Kerry apologize for a stupid joke when he himself so stubbornly refuses to apologize for anything/everything he has done wrong the past five plus pretty botched years of his presidency. Things that have had consequences of such greater magnitude that, to say the least, it boggles the mind.
Like refusing to apologize for not taking those pre 9/11 warnings seriously. Refusing to apologize for sitting in a classroom reading a story about a pet goat for seven long minutes after learning that the country was under attack. Refusing to apologize for the lies he told and cooked intelligence he used to start a war of aggression against a sovereign nation. He continues to bullheadedly refuse to apologize for all the miscalculations that have been made since, at every turn along the way, in that illegal war. Refuses to apologize for all the thousands and thousands and thousands of stolen Iraqi lives. Refuses to recognize, and then apologize for, the fact that his lies and deceptions have also directly led to the deaths of over 2800 (to date) brave men and women from the United States.
(By the way, speaking of bad jokes, what about those not so funny wmd jokes Bush told that one time?)
I could go on and on with all the things that I would suggest Mr. Bush apologize for. And I'm sure you could think of a bunch more to add. Yet even just one of the things already mentioned are more egregious, by far certainly, than Kerry's blunder and would be enough to win a debate regarding who has more to apologize for, don't you agree? But this joke thing is just more political slime slinging anyway. I wish I could say that everyone here can see that. That it's obviously just a rerun of an overused play from a tattered and pathetic book that never should have been used in the first place. Unfortunately I can't say that, but I do suspect that with the redundancy of the plays being called, eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) enough people on the other teams will figure it out and take advantage of it and counter with better and more effective plays. Or maybe the management of the Bush team will get canned. Or both. We can hope. One thing is certain, right now we desperately need change at all levels and in all divisions.
Anyhow, while in the middle of my letter/argument to Bush, I remembered reading something a while back that he'd told author Mickey Herskowitz. Herskowitz was hired in 1999 to ghost write George's autobiography (and was later replaced after he didn't show Bush in the most flattering light--surprise, surprise).
"He told me that as a leader, you can never admit to a mistake," Herskowitz said. "That was one of the keys to being a leader." (Of course, the whole "leader" moniker, as well as the "President" one, are debatable.)
Thus I realized, it would most likely be a waste of my time entreating Mr. Bush to apologize. (Yeah, I know--duh.) But, I do want to say it again for emphasis, albeit a bit differently: What a shame to our country, and a sham he is, to make so much about Kerry's stupid joke, considering all the mountains of damage done and lives wasted that he and his cronies have authored.
Apparently, according to Bush, I'll never make it as a leader, as my letter to you is mostly just one big apology. An apology from an ordinary, increasingly appalled and ashamed, American citizen.
There is so much to be sorry for. Especially so the past five years of Bush's presidency. Sorry that he and his administration didn't heed the warnings regarding an impending terrorist strike within the US. Sorry that he used the awful events of that day to justify a global and "long" (seemingly unending) war on terror that has, by all accounts, only increased terrorism. Sorry the good will that was directed at us immediately following 9/11 was so quickly squandered. Sorry that the will of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, saying no to war, went unheeded and unappreciated. I'm so sorry that we couldn't stop the war machine from its costly (yet so profitable to the warmakers) and oh so deadly crawl across Afghanistan and Iraq. Sorry that so many many innocent people were crushed in its path. Sorry that we invaded a country, under false pretenses, destroying its beauty, culture, infrastructure, lives.... Sorry that we then had the audacity to authorize no bid contracts for the rebuilding of it to the very people who destroyed it.
I'm sorry that we don't seem to appreciate the sickening absurdity of it all.
I'm sorry that our "leaders" don't seem to care about being good stewards of the earth. Sorry that they laugh in the very real face of global warming. (Especially since the US is such a big contributor.) I'm sorry for the very real problems around the world that they, and by extension-we, continue to ignore. Sorry that the focus continues to be mostly only in areas of the world that are abundant in valuable resources or that are deemed important for strategic reasons. Sorry that these reasons usually, if not always, have nothing whatsoever to do with humanitarian causes/crises.
Sorry that it might appear that we all, the people, permit these things, though I do hope you realize that appearances can be deceiving (maybe you've noticed that we have some issues with the integrity of our voting system).
I'm sorry for the exasperation and frustration and justified anger that you must feel when you observe our actions, and the actions of our government. I'm sorry for all the sleepless nights you might experience because of the big ass bully storming through your neighborhoods. (And, just to loudly clarify, I'm not referring to the mostly good men and women in uniform who are on the ground in these neighborhoods). I'm sorry that our current leadership is the bully. And that I and my fellow countrymen and women have so far failed to reign that bully in.
I'm sorry for all the things I don't know, and therefore can't act upon. And for all the things I do know and don't act upon.
I realize now that Bush and I are very much alike in one way. We both have many more things to be sorry for than we can list here.
Yes, I'm writing to tell you how sorry I am. But also to tell you that I'm not alone in my sorrow. I want you to know that there are many of us here, more than any of us probably realize (and coming from all walks and political persuasions)--who can't believe the scope of what has happened to our country--and because of our country--in such a short time. But an apology is fairly meaningless if there is no growth, no learning, no wisdom gained, no change in behavior, right? I know that. So, I'm here to tell you that we are intent on changing the direction of our country. There are far more of us who want to get along with each other and our neighbors than don't. I'm certain of that. So please hang in there with us as we go through these turbulent times. It's sort of like the teenage years in some ways. I know I feel a bit like a teenager here as I write to you. Yes, we know we have a lot to work on. And yes we know we have some growing up to do. And hopefully on November 7th you'll see an example of us doing just that. (Then again, if you don't, please remember that looks can be deceiving.)
Hope to write again soon. Take care.
Love and hugs,
This article originally published by Common Dreams on November 2, 2006.