Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The End of an Error

Inauguration Day should come on New Year's Day. It's the real deal that New Year's Day only pretends to be -- the day full of hope and possibilities. Even if it's not the person you voted for taking the oath of office, there's a new beginning much more profound than simply starting a new calendar, complete with expectations that haven't yet been stomped to death by cold realities. I've had that feeling of hope and possibility at every inauguration of a new president, even if it is just the hope 'maybe this won't be as bad as I think.'

All that remains is the pomp and circumstance that culminates in Barack Obama taking the oath of office of president of the United States today at high noon. Actually, that won't be the culmination. The partying will then start up again and continue until the wee hours of Wednesday morning in Washington, all across the United States and around the rest of our fragile globe.

No, the heavens won't part and angels won't descend and declare Obama 'The One.' At least I don't think that will happen. All of our country's problems won't suddenly be fixed with a wave of Obama's magic wand. Peace, love and understanding will take a while to achieve. Our two wars, our broken economy, and a host of other problems will be with us for years to come, and that's if Obama does a fantastic job. But, later today, we will see the most amazing, miraculous sight -- President George W. Bush will get on a Marine chopper and fly out to Andrews Air Force Base where he will step on a plane that's not Air Force One and fly, fly away. Hopefully into oblivion or a small jail cell somewhere, but thankfully, finally away.

For a while, I harbored a small paranoid thought that this would never happen, that some national catastrophe would make it necessary for the government to cancel the election, that we would be stuck with this man Bush forever. I see now that my fears were groundless. He is done. Now, at long last, our national nightmare is over.

These last eight years have been the antithesis of that little bit of hope I felt on Inauguration Day, 2001, when I dared to dream for just a second 'maybe this won't be as bad as I think.' It has been much, much worse. How bad? To quote David Michael Green, writing at Alternet...
It is a breathtaking record. It really is. Indeed, one might argue in complete seriousness that it would be far easier to list the one or two exceptions to a blanket rule of disaster than to catalogue the endless list of travesties. It would certainly take a lot less time to specify any successes than to climb the mountain of wholesale failures. In short, it literally involves almost no exaggeration to describe this adventure in catastrophic governance by means of a simple covering adage: If there was a way the Bush administration could have diminished America, it did.
The Daily Show has been doing a retrospective of the Bush Years. I'm not sure if these segments ever aired. If they did, I never saw them, but they've posted a few online. Take a few minutes to check out Bush's Alfred E. Newman "What, Me Worry?" grin once more, and delight in the fact that he is utterly, truly gone. There's the 2000 Election, the 2004 Election, the Iraq War, He's the Decider!, Dubya Economics, Jon's Dubya Impression and Farewell, Mr. President.

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