I’m sure you remember a hijacking years ago that changed everything in our country. After that terrible event, the feelings toward us of people around the world were different. Here at home, we changed how we treat each other.
People say it might take us 100 years to get over it all.
The hijacking I’m referring to isn’t the one in which terrorists hit buildings with airplanes, although that was truly terrible.
What made people around the world feel differently about us (in a bad way) and changed how Americans treat each other (in a bad way) was not planes crashing into buildings, but the hijacking of the 2000 presidential election and ultimately, nearly all of the electorate.
The airplane hijacking brought a colossal outpouring of love and concern for the United States from around the globe. It made us Americans talk to each other and look out for each other and gave us a sense that we're all connected. We could have done so much good from that heartbreaking starting point.
But instead, George Bush used and manipulated those events and put us into a big mess. People around the world began to distrust and even hate us. Bush created an atmosphere in which Americans who said anything against the president or U.S. policy were accused of treason.
Under George Bush, we lost our moorings. We lost essential parts of what makes us American.
Only 16 percent of Americans today believe the country is on the right track. Even the minority who thought George Bush was a good idea in 2000 wish they could take it back.
A lot of good people voted for George Bush, but now it’s pretty tough to find anyone who’s proud of it; most are horrified. It’s no wonder. He has presided over the most hateful and embarrassing period I can remember our country experiencing.
I know you can hardly bear to think about George Bush right now, and I feel the same way, but that’s just one more hijacking he's perpetrating. He took nearly a year off at the beginning of his presidency, letting Karl Rove and Dick Cheney run the country while he cleared brush at the ranch and played video games, staying in the White House only long enough to choke on pretzels while watching TV.
Then he spent six years intensively destroying absolutely everything, taking one momentary break to cheer some of us up by falling off the un-fall-off-able Segway Scooter. Now he's a lame duck, and that's probably a good thing, considering.
George Bush has worn stupidity like a badge of honor. He's proud to not read newspapers, he's fine with torturing our enemies, he excludes from the table every American and every world leader who doesn’t agree with him and he names things the opposite of what they are (No Child Left Behind, Clear Skies Initiative, Healthy Forests Initiative, the Patriot Act).
George Bush's disrespect for education, peace, human life, the truth, science, the court system, the planet, the Constitution, you and me, the economy, the national debt, the citizens of the world and the sacrifices made by the military - not to mention basic grammar and pronunciation - are truly shameful. Eight years and who knows how many lives lost or ruined.
These are the most devastating and long-lasting ways we've been hijacked.
Now he's coming to Salt Lake City today to raise money for people who don’t need it. Yet some folks who would typically get out and protest this man’s policies simply can’t be bothered.
Eighty-four percent of Americans don’t believe the country is on the right track, but at this point, thank heavens, George Bush has finally become irrelevant.
* BARB GUY is a regular contributor to these pages.