Sorry about the Bush obsession

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

One of last week’s letters to the editor pointed out that my columns are always about the same thing. She suggested that I find something else to write about, reminding me that there are other things going on locally than bashing Bush.

She’s right, of course. There are many more things going on in the tri-county area worthy of writing about. Actually, she touched a raw nerve with her nicely worded letter because I’ve been thinking the same thing for some time now.

This column has become rather one-dimensional. Once upon a time, I’d try to keep a good mix of topics and styles for the column – one week writing about a serious issue, the next week penning some loony nonsense strictly for the laughs, and the week after that I might wax philosophical about the meaning of life (probably more funny than the lunatic rants about big headed goomers from outer space or invading kangaroos from Australia).

I miss those days. I enjoyed flexing a bit of writing muscle now and again. I enjoyed the thought that maybe this week somebody got a kick out of something I wrote or were, perhaps, touched emotionally or intellectually by my words.

But somewhere toward the end of the summer of 2002 President Bush made it clear that he intended to invade Iraq as part of the War on Terror. I’ve been pretty much obsessed with this ever since.

At first, I was trying to sound an alarm; trying to get people to realize that what he was saying didn’t make sense and that we Americans needed to know far more than we were being told before committing our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers to the impending war.

Paul Revere I’m not. Nobody listened. I guess, since most of my predictions have proven to be true, that I’m more Cassandra than Revere. Congress didn’t listen. Democrats joined Republicans in giving the president a blank check to wage war whenever he had a mind to do so, ignoring his insolence in first looking for ways to circumvent the Constitution so he could wage war without Congressional approval.

(And, yes, I fault John Kerry and John Edwards for voting to give President Bush that authority without the overwhelming proof that I believe is required before any Commander in Chief sends our military men and women into war.)

Back then, not only did nobody listen to me, but I didn’t even get any feedback about the things I was writing. What I said was falling onto deaf ears or being written for those who were blind. The more strident I became as the drumbeat to war intensified, the more I heard only echoing silence, which spurred me to become ever more strident as, by about January 2003, it was obvious that most of the reasons the Bush administration gave for going to war were without foundation or outright falsehoods.

In a word, it was maddening. I just couldn’t believe the entire nation was behind this effort when almost all the evidence available at the time indicated there was no terrorist connection, that Saddam was completely bottled up, and that Iraq not only did not pose an imminent threat to the United States, it posed no threat.

Needless to say, by this time my obsession was firmly in control of what I wrote in my weekly column. The rest of gang at the paper were polite about it, but I got the impression they thought I was a bit loopy. They were all staunchly behind the president.

Go figure.

I guess the thing that has so obsessed me the last 26 months or so is that I just cannot understand why so many people are willing to give Bush a pass for all the misleading, inaccurate and, frankly, deceitful things he has said. All Clinton did was lie about having &uot;sexual relations&uot; with an intern. Bush, with great determination, led the nation to war through a variety of means that were at best deceitful. At best.

I am unable to figure out why people support this guy for reelection. I understand that the alternative has some problems of his own, but he had an uphill fight from the get-go because Bush’s supporters have consistently overlooked every wrong thing he’s said or done and aren’t the least bit bothered when he or one of his proxies has lied.

So, like trying to solve a riddle that totally confounds you, I have been seeking in vain for some degree of understanding. I enjoy a good mystery, but I usually solve them. This one seems simple, but every time I think I have a solution, it slips away and I’m left scratching my head in total bewilderment.

For example, Bush’s base are concerned primarily with morality and values. I understand that they like Bush’s stance against abortion and for a Constitutional Amendment against gay marriages. But at the center of their ideology is a deep commitment to the core values of Christianity, which to me means that lying, cheating, stealing, etc., are bad and the people who engage in such behavior should, if not punished, certainly not rewarded.

But they not only support Bush, they love him. How can you overlook such blatant amorality?

That’s just one example. There are many others. All of them equally befuddling to me. Frankly, I just can’t see why anybody supports Bush. His policies have damaged this country immeasurably, but most folks who wave the flag and proclaim their love for America and American values can’t wait to cast a vote for him on Nov. 2.

The third and final debate was scheduled for last night. My deadline for having the column ready preceded the debate so I have no idea how the two candidates fared or whether any of the questions that baffle me were answered.

I do know that I’ll be as happy to be shunt of this obsession as the lady who wrote last week’s letter to the editor. To her and those who share her hope that I’ll be able to blow more than one note from my computer, it probably ain’t gonna happen before the November election.

Sorry about that.