Although history is rife with the fall of super powers, I never thought that America’s fall would happen in my lifetime. I am saddened and ashamed of what our country has become, not only in my own eyes, but also in the eyes of the rest of the world. This country was once a palace of integrity and an example of what a country should strive for, now we are little more than a punching bag and a laughing stock.
The Bush administration has sold the ideals of our founding fathers to special interests and allowed greed and pigheadedness to take the place of morality and justice. Sadly when the rest of the world thinks of America they shake their heads and throw their hands in the air. What breaks my heart is not that the world looks only upon the Bush administration as greedy and incompetent, but that they look upon the American people this way as well - and can one blame them for thinking this way when the American people voted this administration into power twice? We, the American people, must also bare the yoke of responsibility of a world less safe, satisfying, and ethically progressive by allowing this administration to do what it has done to the world. If I sound angry it is because I am. I want my country back. I want to be greeted with open arms and smiles once again when I go overseas. Now I want to crawl into a hole when overseas. Where have our morals gone? What has happened to our sense of decency and respect?
Before Bush took office this country had a surplus for the first time in its history, we had strong allies across the world, a bull market, reasonable gas prices, the wealthy stayed wealthy and the poor and middle class saw improvement, interest rates were low, we were not at war, in short; we were progressing. Now we have the largest deficit our country has ever seen, we are in debt to developing and other advanced countries, we have few if any allies in the world, the wealthy have become more wealthy and the poor and middle class have become poorer, our education system is the worst its been in decades, interest rates are at an all time high, inflation is out of control, we are engaged in two wars with no end in sight for either, our country has been rocked by corporate scandal after corporate scandal, global warming has become a myth, corruption the norm, lying acceptable, not caring moral, denial convenient, bullying courageous, and our rights have become malleable. Bush makes Putin look progressive!
As shocking as this decline may be to most Americans, what is even more shocking is the rate at which is has taken place. How can one administration do so much damage to a country in such a short period of time – and in so doing be so impenitent and brazen about it? Corrupt administrations of the past at least went to great pains to hide their debauchery, which at least conveys that they knew themselves that what they were doing was wrong, but the Bush administration does not appear to even care if what they are doing is wrong, popular, or moral. My stomach churns every time I hear Bush tout that he does not read, nor care about public opinion polls. What kind of a leader does not care what his people think?
As a political science major it makes me sick to my stomach to reflect on how the Bush administration runs the executive branch of the most powerful country in the world. In my mind it would be more ethical for him to base his policies on a coin toss than on his reason and ideals. It’s one thing to sell our country down stream but need he laugh at us and rub our noses in it while doing it? As sobering as this reality is, one can take solace in the fact that the Bush administration doesn’t get to choose how its legacy will be looked upon by posterity, the history books and public opinion will choose for him.
In closing, America need not be the strongest country in the world if we are the most virtuous, but the Bush administrations Hobbsian “the strong do what they want, and the weak do what they must” attitude has isolated us from the rest of the world and fractured and divided us internally. We have reneged on our promises and faltered on our ideals, and in so doing we have caused violence to our reputation and the dreams of our forefathers.
No country can simply demand that it is virtuous like Bush has demanded; it can only prove that it is through its actions, and America has fallen short. Therefore, if America cannot uphold the ideals of a just system then maybe we do not deserve the honor of super power. If we do, however, want to retain our position in the hierarchy of global power then we must all wake up and stay awake, lest we all too soon forget the process of deceit and lackadaisicalness that lead to our current state, and once again vote into power an amoral administration.
Americans, we have let ourselves down and we have let the world down. We have defiled a palace. We deserve better - we are better. It’s time for a change. The Bush administration has truly ushered in the end of a great era, an end in which America did not go out on a high note or in a blaze of glory, but one in which we simply went up in flames. Shame on you George Bush, shame on us all.