Here are THREE letters, on politics. Unfortunately this column is only funny this week if the mess of our system makes you laugh instead of cry. Or maybe you're just bored? Next week I'll be answering a guy who doesn't think 5 years is long enough to put a rock on his girl-friend's finger. And there is still that philosophical business about philial love. I'll wait on answering any more politics until election day.
ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:
Considering all the problems the next president will inherit (the war in Iraq, the economic bailout, increasing unemployment, etc.), should we be concerned about the sanity of anybody who actively seeks to become our next president?
Good point. Whereas, sanity is demonstrated by those who have made it clear they want NOTHING to do with running for president. So this is why everyone in America should lodge their concern at the voting booths by writing in the only (politically legitimate yet) sane choice for President:
Ha ha ha. Isn't Dear Jon funny. Hm.
ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:
With both candidates and a majority of politicians from both parties distancing themselves from him, is there really anybody who A) still thinks President Bush is doing a good job, and B) if it were possible, would want him re-elected for a third term?
You know, I've been on George W.'s case for many years, mostly having to do with the Patriot Act, Abu Ghraib, misguided loyalty to treasonous underlings who expose our own intelligence agents, Gitmo, patent disregard for the Constitution, patent disregard for the Supreme Court, patent disregard for international law, and patent disregard for standard English usage.
However, your question about a third term invites comparisons with FDR, and the assumption is that such comparisons would be unfavorable. Right now, George W. is about as popular as baby seal burritos at a PETA picnic. So what? The American public is as fickle as your typical talent scout for the Detroit Lions, with the same attention span. My point is: What about thirty years from now? How will history remember George W.?
Consider FDR: While President, his country suffered a surprise attack on sovereign territory; the targets were predominantly military, and many civilians as well as military personel were killed. FDR's response was a total global war, an engagement which cost hundreds of thousands of American combatant lives, hundreds of thousands of non-combatant Japanese lives, and eventually led to the ONLY use of atomic weapons in anger in the history of the world.
Consider George W: While President, his country suffered a surprise attack on a sovereign state on the American mainland; the targets were predominantly civilian, with many civil defense personnel killed as well. George W. took an angry nation with a nuclear arsenal and kept the war limited, kept the commitment of ground forces nominal for the purported mission, and kept the engagement regional. The attempt to imperialize into existence a friendly democratic regime in Iraq as part of the regional strategy has had mixed results--but the results are mixed, not a failure.
Consider FDR: He pumped huge amounts of federal money into the economy both in the peace-time depression and in war, and set about creating the entitlement safety-nets that we now consider part of the fabric of our nation.
Consider George W: Remember the prescriptions assistance for seniors act? And he has mailed out tax rebate "economic stimulus checks," twice. Now we have the bail-out, with provisions that sound to me like the modern 401K version of the FDIC (I don't know if that is accurate or not. I don't have time to look up and read a 400 page Act of Congress).
No one would elect George W. for a third term. We should not have elected him for a second term either; one problem was that Kerry was not a viable alternative. (Don't try to tell me he was.)
But how will history look on this period? Our engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost us just a fraction of the combat deaths we suffered in Vietnam. George W. took the fight to the enemy and insulated American culture and society from the bitter effects of war. He achieved this AFTER the collapse of the Twin Towers, when with the mandate of an angry public he could have chosen a much more ferocious, immediate and indiscriminate responses with the power at his disposal.
Maybe, just maybe, we have misunderestimated him.
ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:
In a country that so values freedom, democracy and the right to vote, why isn't election day a national holiday? Other countries give their citizens a day off to vote for their candidates, why doesn't America? Instead, voters have to either arrive early in the morning to voting booths, come in after work (and most voting booths only stay open until 7:00 PM) or skip all or part of work to vote. Is this some sort of conspiracy by the two-party system, and is there anyway we citizens can make it a national holiday? If it is as important to vote as everyone says it is, shouldn't our government make all businesses give us the day off to ensure we can perform our patriotic duty?
Rushed to Vote
I would only agree with you if I wanted the nation to continue its march headlong into President Worship. Sometimes I think the public's biggest
problem with George W. is that he is insufficiently deific.
We think it is inconvenient for working people to vote; consider the inconvenience to the true engine of national greatness--productivity--if that were shut down just so people could focus an entire day on politics. I like it this way a lot better. Vote when and if and because it is convenient for YOU in the REAL truly patriotic pursuit of living your own life, and not because a president declares a holiday by decree.
People who care find a way to fit voting in, and those that don't, won't start caring just because they are given a day off.
I was in Germany during the election that was followed by Merkle cobbling together a coalition. The reason that most German voters had the "day off" is that their elections happen on Sundays. Call me over-religious or whatever, but that is not a plan that I like one bit-- especially if our elections are going to be in November. Let's keep our priorities straight: NOBODY televises football on Tuesdays.