Author: Aidan Lewis
As we watch the final weeks of the George W. Bush presidency unfold (or unravel), I can’t help but wonder what happened to the more caustic and fiery attacks on our head-of-state. A year ago at this time, everyone was involved in the usual scathing discourses on Bush’s ineptitude, miscommunications, and general failures as a leader. Now that we are almost in the wake of one of the most turbulent and derided presidencies in American history, I can honestly say that I am relieved to witness an end to the anger. Actually, it ended almost a year ago-Bush has been living in the shadowy recesses of the political stage ever since the primaries began in early 2008. The only question now is how he will make his exit.
I have to admit that I feel a measure of pity for Bush. Yes, he has been wrong on many grave and dangerous issues-the Iraq War not the least of them-and he very possibly invited the demise of the economy, but I still feel genuinely sorry for the man. He is not pure evil, just incompetent-and while he should not have been instated as President, I can imagine him being excellent company on a fishing trip. I am glad, for his sake, that this past year was less strenuous than his previous years in office. He got to bask in obscurity while first the party contenders, then the presidential candidates, distracted the public eye. I am sure he received the idea of someone filling his place with relief.
These days we meet the mention of Bush more with a tired smile than a thundering tirade. The Bush years have left us all exhausted, and I am glad that our rage has subsided to mild humor. I will not forget what Bush has to answer for, but, to some extent, his name has degenerated to the state of an over-told joke in my mind. It is true that he can still do damage in the remaining weeks of his presidency. He still has time to make at least one rash and disastrous decision. But if everything remains more or less as it is until Barack Obama is sworn into office, Bush can escape quietly and we can let the past die.
My recommendation for Bush’s final agenda is mostly a list of “Thou shalt nots.” He should not make any major decisions on the economy without the complete agreement of Obama and his aides. He should not make any sudden moves in Eastern Europe that would leave his successor to deal with an irate Russia. He should probably not sign anything of his own device with the word “Iraq” on it. If there is one thing that would be wisest for Bush at this point, it would be to invest most of his energy in making the transition to an Obama presidency smooth and relatively painless.
If we as a nation are going to enact Obama’s message of change and unity, it would be in everyone’s best interests to let Bush off the proverbial hook. I, for one, grew tired of the invective long before it ceased. Let us wash America of the filth of partisanship and blame by letting Bush make a graceful, albeit quiet, exit. Let us not disgrace ourselves by living incessantly in the past-and let us hope that Bush does not disgrace himself further.
Aidan Lewis is a first-year ECLS major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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