July 14, 2007 by lonbud
Songs Of Freedom
Let it not be said George W. Bush has led an inconsequential life.
After a thoroughly unremarkable childhood and youth as the n’er-do-well drunkard scion of one of the East Coast elite’s most powerful and well-connected families, in the fourth decade of a life most notable for the dissolution of both his morals and his finances, Mr. Bush embraced Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour.
And so began an unlikely journey that would lead him to the governorship of one of the largest states in the Union, and eventually, to the Presidency of the United States of America.
From there, in the time it takes a human child to learn to swear, Mr. Bush became a lightning rod for questions of law, morality, and reason that – prior to his installation as President – had seemed well-settled for hundreds of years.
His very existence demands a degree of inquiry into the nature of will, autonomy, and independence that few have inspired in any age.
It’s impossible to know where to launch an examination into the many ways Mr. Bush’s life has stood centuries of logic on its head, into how a man who had exhibited mediocrity and failure at every stage of his development — a man of pedestrian intellect but fortunate birth — might cause the entire breadth of humanity to consider the ways people relate to one another, and how States engage in the courses of global diplomacy.
But we must accept Mr. Bush’s challenge to our understanding of all that is Good and all that is Evil. And we must consider his claim to the mantle of Goodness.
Aside from his protestations toward acting in its service, what do we know of Mr. Bush’s works for Good?
Is there any evidence of his having brought together disparate views? Has he championed any positive or productive shift in our expectations of what it means to govern ourselves, personally or politically? Has any policy or initiative of his led to the betterment of the conditions of Life for anyone beyond his immediate circle of family, friends, and benefactors?
These are the questions a generation of pundits and historians will no doubt ruminate on, and likely will provide incentive for the waste of many words and innumerable reams of paper in the decades to come.
Now, in the waning months of what a clear majority of American citizens regards as a failed presidency, it is not difficult to discern the tumult, chaos, and divisiveness he will leave behind.
Above all else, he will be identified with having committed the United States to war in Iraq.
To some, his greatest achievement will be seen as having liberated the citizens of that ill-fated land from the oppressive despotism of Saddam Hussein. Consider, however, the costs of “liberation,” and reflect upon the nature of the freedom bestowed upon the Iraqi populace by the “goodness” of Mr. Bush:
It is well known official U.S. government policy from the start has been to leave the dead and wounded among the Iraqis uncounted, however it is not difficult to imagine the numbers exceeding those of the U.S. by many orders of magnitude.
And these are just the paid-in costs in blood and treasure. What of the ongoing costs? What has Mr. Bush’s defining embrace of the “duty” to champion Good over Evil bestowed upon Iraq and its people?
Global consensus indicates whatever freedom the Iraqi people may one day fashion for themselves in the wake of Mr. Bush’s decision to force it upon them, a humanitarian disaster on a par with the worst in the annals of modern history will precede it.
And so the crowning achievement of Mr. Bush’s public life will be to have wrested a foreign land and its millions of innocent citizens from the grip of terror and oppression levied by a lone pathological dictator, only to leave it in the throes of terror and oppression of a different sort.
Whereas once the Iraqi people trembled before the capricious megalomania of Saddam Hussein, Mr. Bush has bestowed upon them the freedom to tremble at the thought of going to the post office or to the market for a crust of bread.
A free and independent Iraqi nation is but the starkest, most obvious disaster for which Mr. Bush will bear responsibility. He and his pursuit of Good vs. Evil must also be credited with the dismantling of America’s prestige on the world stage.
While there can no longer be any credible doubt as to the fact of shrinkage in our nation’s global esteem, those on both sides of the political divide here at home may still debate its provenance.
Whether one is inclined to accept the generally conservative notion that we have always been hated for our freedoms and our prosperity, that we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t when it comes to our foreign policy, or whether one takes the position espoused by a certain leftist mindset that we’re hated because we’ve always been a hegemonic evildoer in our global affairs, evidence suggests neither such view is accurate. In point of actual fact, world opinion of the United States has declined markedly during — and largely as a direct consequence of — the Bush administration.
Behold, therefore, the greatest good works of our 43rd President: the instigation of a bloody civil war in a land to which he laid waste without provocation, and the tarnishing of the credibility and reputation of a nation to which many the world over once looked for inspiration and hope for a better tomorrow.
As the man himself might say, “a heckuva job.”
But Mr. Bush will leave Washington with much more than the chaos and devastation of Iraq and the ruination of our international esteem in his wake.
He is also responsible for virtual paralysis among the three branches of a government once thought to be the exemplar of man’s imperfect desire to order his affairs justly and equitably.
Never in our history has an administration sought to perform its functions in such secrecy.
Never in our history has an administration reveled so unapologetically in its contempt for congress and the courts, for science, logic, fairness, and the long-term security and prosperity of its people.
The life of George W. Bush stands for the proposition that, no matter how unprepared for the challenges of adulthood and citizenry, without regard to the disdain one might show for history, learning, and wisdom, despite one’s rejection of his very connectedness to the universe – one can still have an effect in the world.
Let Freedom Ring.