Last chance at an easy target
Better writers than me will no doubt celebrate the significance of Barack Obama becoming the Forty-Fourth President of the United States immediately after Martin Luther King Day. Angrier and/or lazier writers than me, on the other hand, would no doubt prefer to get their cheap shots in against the worst president in history while they still can. Rather than look down on them, I figured I might as well share a story that comes to mind when I think of George W. Bush and the monumentally terrible job he’s done.
Back in 2000, when I was a student, I was lucky enough to be the co-editor of the alternative humour paper on campus. Blogs hadn’t yet become a popular medium, and a regular public soapbox was still the sort of thing that you wouldn’t want to take lightly. But even back then, it was a safe bet that the average Canadian university student thought that George W. Bush didn’t exactly deserve to be the president of the United States.
As the election dragged on, and the results were continuously contested, we watched with dread at the possibility that some incompetent son of privilege might actually be chosen to run the most powerful country in the world. But after a while, quite frankly, we became bored with the whole thing. And on Sunday, 26 November 2000, we found ourselves sitting around the board room table, trying to figure out what the hell we were going to put on the cover of that week’s issue.
It was only after one of our newer writers entered the board room to tell us that it looked like George W. Bush was officially going to be the next leader of the free world, and everybody in that room swore in unison, that we finally settled on an idea for the cover.
I wish I could provide you with a link to the finished product, because it’s honestly one of the proudest moments of not only my tenure at that newspaper, but of my entire post-secondary career, for what it’s worth. On Wednesday, 29 November 2000, nine thousand copies of Golden Words were distributed all over campus. The cover featured the repugnant smirking face of George W. Bush, flanked by a single four-letter word in red, white and blue block letters.
As it was uttered spontaneously in the board room, so did it go forth across campus – and so has it yet to be disputed by eight of the worst years of American history.
I’m a left-leaning guy, but deep down, I hate confrontation. Sure, I yell and scream a lot, but I ultimately hate the thought of criticizing somebody who might deserve the benefit of the doubt. With that in mind, I can tell you that there has not been a single day since that issue was published that I’ve felt like I was being too hard on Bush. Even this post, which I admittedly wrote while drunk off my ass after Obama’s landslide victory, is something I choose to stand by.
The fact of the matter is that Bush was a really, really terrible president. He claimed his presidency under dubious circumstances, he consistently failed to prove himself worthy of it, and quite frankly, he never seemed to care about the fact that he clearly didn’t deserve his position. No president in American history has achieved such a high disapproval rating, and if democracy still counts for anything, then I guess that’s a pretty significant figure.
But enough about that. Let’s just say that the White House may or may not have a door that could sufficiently hit Bush’s ass on the way out, and leave it at that. Tomorrow, a new guy takes over.
But whoa, hold on! He may be a different dude, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be better. Yes, he couldn’t possibly be worse, and sure, he looks to be a fundamentally decent man. But as such, I’m sure he’d agree that it’s the duty of American citizens to hold him accountable, and to ensure that he lives up to the promise of his campaign.
As for us Canucks, we’ll just have to keep an eye on him and push for the best. That’ll probably be a lot easier once our own federal government starts doing stuff again.