Late in the afternoon of September 11, 2001 after all the phone calls trying to track down friends in NYC (where I had lived for 15 years) and family members in the DC area, after all the feelings of sorrow and rage, and after I could no longer watch another minute of the day's events (but I couldn't make myself turn off the TV), I finally went outside and sat in my postage stamp-sized city yard and a thought occurred to me:
Thank God that Gore isn't president. After eight years of watching many in the Republican Party and the media do everything possible to pull down President Clinton, I didn't trust that they'd actually be able to rally around Gore if he was president. I thought they would crucify him for anything and everything he did.And then I had a far darker thought:
Oh God, that shallow, ignorant, fake cowboy, cheerleader Bush will now get anything -- everything -- that he wants.It wasn't but a day or two later that I heard talking heads on TV first throw out and test the waters with the word torture.
I wasn't familiar then with the Benjamin Franklin quote, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" but I would learn of it in the following years.
And, after all he many, many sins of the Bush Administration and the never ending attack on our Constitution, I feared this country would lose its soul.
Still, I believe it wasn't the loss of our liberties and moral high ground that turned the majority of the country against Bush -- it was the other half of the quote's equation -- it was Bush's inability to secure the safety of our citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
People finally woke up to the fact that politicians who say that government is the enemy cannot be trusted to govern.
Bush proceeded to fuck up everything he touched in his years in office.
The words of The Onion's January 17, 2001 post seem downright prophetic now: Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over.'
This bit from A Tiny Revolution from May of last year is not meant as any slight against Obama's amazing victory, but damn if it doesn't hold some truth:
It's September 12, 2001. You're sitting in front of a TV, watching footage of the World Trade Center collapse over and over and over again.Yes, Bush will properly go down in history as The Worst President Ever.
All of a sudden, someone from seven years in the future walks out of a tiny temporal vortex, and tells you: George W. Bush is going to fuck this up so badly that in 2008, the United States of America will likely elect as president a black man whose middle name is Hussein and whose father was Muslim. Oh, and he also admits he's used cocaine.
I think it would have been easier to convince me of the reality of time travel. "No, no, I believe you really are from the future. But the other stuff, that's CRAZY."
He gave us neither neither liberty nor safety.
He failed at everything that a president can fail at.
I feel almost like I have been holding my breath since the November election. That it can't be true that we will finally be rid of this horror show of the last eight years.
At noon today, at long last, I can finally exhale and breathe again.