In this post I will discuss my opinion of our president, George W. Bush. Been wanting to write this for a while, but I thought to myself, my e-mail address is on my business card. Now that I’m in sales, I wondered, what if a potential client hits my website and decides not to buy from me because my political views are different from his/hers? But, after thinking about it some more, ah, screw it. I’m not going to stop being me because of a job.
In the election of 2000, toward the end of the primaries there were four candidates still standing. Bush, John McCain, Al Gore and Bill Bradley. At the time, I would have been very happy to support McCain, Gore, or Bradley for president. Bush, I thought, just didn’t seem to have the intelligence to be president. I also worried about his lack of foreign policy experience.
But, Bush got elected. I thought to myself, maybe he won’t be so bad. He may not have a lot of foreign policy knowledge, I thought, but he has Dick Cheney as his vice-president and Colin Powell in his cabinet, two people with backgrounds in foreign policy – and he could always turn to his dad as a trusted advisor.
Then 9/11 happened. Maybe he could have done more to prevent it, maybe not. We’ll never know, because all we can do at this stage is apply hindsight. I don’t hold 9/11 against him.
And then he decided to invade Afghanistan, to drive out the Taliban who provided the 9/11 terrorists a place to train. No problem with that. We had to show the world that terrorism would not be tolerated.
A year later, he decided to invade Iraq. Now, I agree that Saddam needed to go; in fact, I wish Bush’s dad had finished the job 10 years ago. And now that we’re over there, I support our troops 100% and am very proud of them for defending our freedom. What I have a problem with is the way Bush handled the Iraq situation.
Around this time, I began to notice something else about Bush, something that disturbed me even more than his lack of intelligence. He seems to have a mindset of I’M RIGHT, and if you disagree with me, I don’t even have to bother to listen to you, to try to understand your point of view, because I’M RIGHT and YOU’RE WRONG. That is a very dangerous mindset to have. It can close a person off so that he ignores valuable information, and leave him vulnerable to being manipulated. I’ve always believed it’s extremely important to listen to the other side’s argument with an open mind before forming an opinion. Bush doesn’t seem to do that.
Worse, a couple of his key cabinet members share this I’M RIGHT, YOU’RE WRONG mindset – Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. Bush seems to be ignoring people like Colin Powell who are more inclined to consider all sides of an issue. Not sure how much he goes to his father for advice.
So, my problem with Bush is not that he invaded Iraq, but that he didn’t listen to the many nations that opposed the invasion. I’m not saying that he had to agree, but he should have made more of an effort to meet with them and listen to what they had to say. Ever talked to someone and just knew you were wasting your breath, that they weren’t listening at all, or that they were merely pretending to listen to be polite and they really didn’t care what you had to say? It’s not a pleasant feeling, is it? That’s the way Bush made those citizens of all those countries feel. In two years, he managed to turn world opinion of the U.S. from a country everyone sympathized with (following 9/11) into the Evil Empire.
More recently, I’ve noticed another mindset of Bush (and Cheney and Rumsfeld) that is equally scary – that the end seems to justify the means at any cost. Did you see my journal entry a couple of days ago, where Bush is pushing a bill through Congress to reinstate the draft? He’s waiting until after the November election, of course. It makes me wonder which countries he plans on invading next. Iran? Syria? North Korea? If he’s not planning on invading anyone else, is the draft a sign that he’s made a bigger mess in Iraq than he’s willing to admit? The draft will affect ages 18-26, and women as well as men. It’s frightening to think that I might be dating someone 25 or 26 this time next year, and suddenly she could be shipped off to Iraq against her will to fight a war she may not even believe in.
I’m really, really afraid of what will happen if we give this man four more years in office. Nuclear war seems like a definite possibility. I worry that historians will look back and see Bush’s second term as the beginning of the fall of the United States.
So, I’m supporting Kerry for president.
It’s not a Democrat/Republican thing. I try to make my voting decisions based on the issues, rather than political affiliations. In my adult life there has not been a Republican presidential candidate I have supported, but I would consider it if the right person ran – McCain perhaps, or Powell. If I still lived in Arkansas I would vote to re-elect Mike Huckabee, a Republican, as governor because I think he has done an excellent job.
It’s not even a liberal/conservative thing in the traditional sense. On most social issues I tend to take the liberal point of view, whereas I tend to be centrist to conservative on fiscal issues. But let’s take a look at the record. When Clinton was president, we had a balanced budget. Bush, on the other hand, adds hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt every year, with seemingly no concept that the next generation is going to have to pay for the mess he has made. Or possibly he thinks to himself, “Well, if the debt gets out of hand, we’ll just default. We’re the United States of America, we can do that.” I really don’t think the consequences have occurred to him, or perhaps he doesn’t care because his term will be over by then. So, who’s the real fiscal conservative here? Sure doesn’t seem like it’s Bush.
So, in summary, I’m really frightened by the thought of four more years of a Bush presidency, and therefore I’m voting for Kerry.
I know that some people will read this and disagree with what I have written. And, if you wish, I will be happy to discuss it, to listen to you and do my best to see things from your point of view.
Which, I think, is more than our current president would do.