Monday, March 26, 2007
Boy, this election is a long way off. Yet every day, major news outlets cram another story about the candidates down our throats.
Is it just me? Or do we not want a qualified president anymore? Are we tired of men and women of conviction and vision? It seems more and more that we will never see presidential terms of office remembered by their great accomplishments or failures again. There don't seem to be any New Deals, Louisiana Purchases, Monroe Doctrines, or Men on the Moon to look forward to. Bill Clinton is looked back on with growing fondness in this country for not doing anything too memorable either way. We live in a time where it seems the best we can say about a president is: "Well, at least he didn't fuck it up too badly..."
Must every election now be solely about condemning or affirming the actions of those who came before us? Or are there simply no new ideas under the sun? Say what you like about George Bush... You can't fault him for his lack of commitment. This new crop of candidates seem to be hanging their hopes on who can show the appropriate level of guilt or comfort with supporting a war the American public wanted. Lest we forget, after the World Trade Center attack a vast majority of the country was calling out for blood. Convenience store clerks were being savagely beaten. This country wanted vengeance and the administration sought out easy targets to satisfy us. That's what politicians do for the most part, despite what we may like to believe. They try to gauge the will of the people and act on it.
Now of course, we've calmed down a bit. We realised that people actually die in wars and we don't like it so much. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Wars are, by their very nature, horrible. But can we stop with all this self righteous indignation? We got ourselves into this mess. We did. Not George Bush, not big Oil, not some secret cabal of Zionist sympathisers and industrialists. We did. We are the Star Chamber.
And now, predictably, we have gone far beyond any kind of reasoned debate in our search for a scapegoat to ease our collective minds. Will we ever learn to take responsibility for anything in this country? If we were all so dead set against this war then why did we allow the congress to authorise it? Only two answers exist: Either we wanted it, or we were too lazy to pay attention. We certainly weren't "duped" into it as some would have us think. Unless of course, we believe that nearly every member of congress, our intelligence services, and our executive branch are all complete morons. If so, it still places the blame squarely on us. We put them there.
So maybe we should all take a little blame, feel a little guilt, and share a little responsibility for this mess. No shining white knight is going to ride over the hill to save us from ourselves.