EDITORIAL - Asleep at the Wheel
Think back, just before the 2004 election; remember... we had a string of terrorist threat ‘heightened’ alerts from ‘unspecified’ sources.
These threats probably happen all the time, so why did the Bush administration decide to let the American people in on 'those' alerts just prior to the presidential election?
Why have we not heard many 'heightened' alerts since? Will we be getting more 'unspecified' threat alerts before the next presidential election?
Let's take a look at some of the highlights of the Bush White House during their watch:
- Economy: Wall Street has done well, the really rich are doing really well. The middle class has lost some spending power, poverty is relatively stable around 12%. The National Debt (wiki) has risen. Our "Debt - external" has exceeded 10 trillion dollars as of 2006 (CIA). Investments have been continually heading overseas while the dollar languishes.
- Education: (wiki) The "No Child Left Behind" act has initiated a grading shell game, causing schools to lower their standards to make the grade, or risk losing funding. (ERIC)
- Energy: (wiki) The White House has been promoting nuclear energy (see special interests) and will likely use Global Warming to support its position.
- Environment: (wiki) The White House evaded the relevant science on Global Warming ignoring it's own experts. Administration policy relies on rhetoric, saying voluntary reductions in GHG output will help. President Bush wants America to believe that for-profit corporations are willing to reduce their profits and let their competition make more money (he seems to believe corporations are not-for-profit)?
- Healthcare: (wiki) The cost of healthcare, continues to rise without substantive attention by the FDA. Cigarettes and obesity remain strong contributors to medical disorders, complications and costs. Medication, rather than healthy lifestyle, continues as the method of choice to deal with an increasingly ailing public (see special interests).
- Political Reform: (wiki) Special interests have seemingly taken over elections and the legislative process on both sides of the aisle through gerrymandering and lobbying. The lack of choice in the political arena plagues America, as we may yet again suffer the fate of choosing not 'the best president', but 'not the worst president'.
- Security: (wiki) We were attacked by terrorists; which may have been avoided (see stovepiping) had our systems been more integrated (see 9/11 commission)(Report) Note: governments are rarely prescient, so I am not saying it was likely to avoid this attack. We have outsourced so much of our military needs that the cost of running US security operations has exploded, while the quality and benefits for military personnel has been reduced.
- Foreign Policy: (wiki) We invaded Iraq, a country that did not attack us, because President Bush said they were linked to 9/11 and developing WMD's. In reality we attacked them because they had oil. Oil is a national security concern; any administration would be foolish not to admit it. We did not attack North Korea even though they were developing, and now claim to have, weapons of mass destruction.
- Checks & Balances: The checks and balances of our constitution have been circumvented, in various degrees, in the name of national security and patriotism, by an Executive Branch that thinks Congressional oversight is... an inconvenience. President George W. Bush stated in an interview with Bob Woodward "I do not need to explain why I say things. — That's the interesting
thing about being the President. — Maybe somebody needs to explain to
me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an
explanation." Dick Cheney refusing to appear before congress, Alberto Gonzales outright evading congressional questions, Harriet Miers no show, and now Karl Rove, resigning as an investigation into his role ramps up, etc.
- Blind Faith: The Bush administration seems to have chosen the path of party and power, over reason and common sense. Its decisions are decidedly short sighted and liberally lacking in wisdom and consideration of the ramifications of its actions regarding short and long term consideration of the public good and national needs. It does seem to be acting inline with campaign cycles and agendas, rather than wisdom, or what one might expect from a public servant.
Who is "Asleep at the Wheel"?
President Bush, or is it us? The best answer is likely both. We allowed governance and election campaigns to degrade, into pandering spitting matches, and baby-kissing festivals; and elected office, into an orgy of political favors and cronyism.
President Bush is doing the job he believes should be done. He seems to be thinking short term in the constraints of political expedience and party politics to retain power and possibly secure the respect of those special interests that he will be working with after he leaves office.
We should question his reasoning and motives. To do so, we must be aware of those motives. Beware; they are well masked behind the rhetoric.
It's really more of a wake up call for democracy in our republic. Americans must ask themselves how, and why, did we allow it to go this far?
America's political slumber did not happen overnight, which is why it is hard to identify exactly what happened. Like frogs in a pot we got used to the warm water and probably are saying to ourselves, it's nice, why get out now?
In reality, this is the perfect time to question. If we wait till it gets too hot, it actually might be too late?
Think, discuss, and take action to increase choice and reduce special interest influence in governance. We need to stop saying we can't fix it, and get down to the job of fixing it; because the reality is, if we don't... we all lose the election.
Something to think about.
Successful spin is the ability to portray an image on the surface, to achieve an agenda that is contrary to the motives behind the image portrayed.