In his previous term, President George W. Bush took his loss, by more than 500,000 votes, to former Vice President Al Gore in the popular election as a “mandate” by the U.S. people and then proceeded to push his right-wing agenda as if he had won by 20 million votes.
Unfortunately, in his second term, there’s absolutely nothing stopping Bush’s radical, neoconservative agenda. No longer does Bush have a re-election bid to hold him even slightly accountable to the U.S. people. No longer does he have to hide behind the false rhetoric of “compassionate conservatism,” a claim that many U.S. have ignorantly believed, once again. No longer does he have only a slight majority in the House and Senate, and when one party has substantial control over all three branches of the government, there is never compromise. There are no checks and balances to keep the party in power from doing whatever it wants; that is not healthy for the country and it cuts into the very core of our democracy. However, there is an upside: No longer can the president blame the Democrats in Congress and the Clinton presidency (Geez, I hated those pesky years of economic prosperity and relative peace, too) for many of the country’s problems. What happens from now on is completely the Republican majority’s fault – no one to blame this time but itself.
In his acceptance speech Nov. 3, Bush said, “To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support,” referring to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., supporters, “And I will work to earn it.” He went on to say that what we need now is “unity.” He will “work to earn it”?
It didn’t seem as though he was working much to “earn it” when he was deregulating environmental regulations and allowing air and water pollution to shoot up well past record highs. It didn’t seem as though he was trying to “earn it” when he maliciously used gay marriage for political gains. He wasn’t trying to “earn it” when he told us Saddam Hussein was connected to Sept. 11, 2001. He certainly didn’t “earn it” when he told us that Saddam was an “imminent threat” because of his vast stockpiles of “chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.” Where were those pleas for support during the last four years, when his administration was cramming its extreme right-wing ideology down our throats?
No, Mr. President, we will not get behind you. We will not support you. We will not suddenly sit down and let our values and principles be trampled over in the name of national unity. Instead, we will fight tooth and nail while preparing for 2006 and 2008.
Now, here’s a life lesson not even Bush political adviser Karl Rove or Vice President Dick Cheney can teach you: To make a friend you have to be a friend. Mr. President, you’ve never even tried to be our friend, so I’m sorry, but we can’t be your friends either.
Lars Krogstad is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]