Yes, Saddam Hussein was killed. Yes, Iraq has more potential today than it did four years ago. It’s not better as far as women’s rights, security, separation of religion and state and religious tolerance go, but the mere fact that even with these setbacks there is general improvement says something. Yes, I respect Bush for holding steady in his Iraq policies, despite getting slammed by the same people who voted for them originally. But do not be an apologist for the President. Americans at home are forgotten in poverty, sickness, neglect and old age every waking hour.
Despite solid economic growth and record corporate profits in recent years, the minimum wage remains dismal and the gap between rich and poor has grown. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 45-60% of wealth is currently passed from one generation to the next, versus about 20% twenty years ago. This equates to an overwhelming advantage for the entrenched wealthy versus the rising American.
The US Census Bureau reported in 2005 that a record 46.6 million Americans, or 15.9% of the population, lacked health coverage. So much for trickle-down economics and benevolent growth.
The environment is rapidly changing, with ice shelves 3,000 years old breaking off in the Arctic over the last week. My beloved Connecticut has not seen more than a handful of snow flurries on one occasion this year. Normally, we have had several major snow storms by now, if not blizzards. Despite these disturbing changes, the Environmental Protection Agency is fighting a lawsuit ordering them to regulate carbon emissions.
Our immigration policies currently consist of a broken border, the chance of deportation for workers and talks of outlawing a critical sector of the American working class. What part of this protects us or makes us free?
National emergency readiness, supposedly the trademark of the post-9/11 Bush administration, entirely failed to prevent a drop of 4.87% in Louisiana’s population following Hurricane Katrina. This does not even begin to account for the total collapse of a major US city or the destruction of lives throughout America.
Stem cell research has stalled. Jobs are flowing away from America. Warrantless wiretapping was carried out. Torture was state policy. The last two programs only stopped following court orders. Capital punishment has continued unabated, defying the concept of a “culture of life.” Educational standards went unfunded. Social Security was ignored. Record deficits have been racked up by the government. Medicare prescription drug coverage is impossible for the average American. Many students cannot afford college due to reductions in federal student loan programs. A number of influential lobbyists, congressmen and government staffers have fallen to corruption. The president’s approval rating stands at 36%.
Not all of these issues are the president’s fault. Most started long before he took office and will continue for a long time after he leaves. Many have nothing to do with him directly. But the president was elected twice to represent the people of the United States. He was elected to stand for us. He was elected to be our executive, fighting for what we collectively believe in. He was elected to stand as the leader of America. He was elected to rise above and fight for our values, to listen to us and to be a moral example for statesmen and for all citizens.
Confucius spoke several thousand years ago in China, but his words are as relevant and true for America’s leadership today as they were for Asian dukes and emperors of old. “By raising the straight and putting them on top of the crooked, one can make the crooked straight.” President Bush, we have raised you and put you on top of the crooked because we believed you were straight. Please make the crooked straight. That is your duty as the leader of America and the leader of the free world.
You have done well in Iraq, despite setbacks and some flaws. But America elected Democrats to win the wars on our homefront. Do not forget that you are the servant of the American people. We need your service now. Uncle Sam, the American people, wants you. We need you.
Stand with us and vigorously serve us with strength and conviction as our elected leader. Remember the American people.