“George W. Bush was officially sworn in to begin his second term as president of the United States Thursday, promising to pursue “the expansion of freedom in all the world.”-CBC
If the last four years are an indication of Bush’s idea of ‘freedom’, I am officially moving to Mars.
I have studied the United States, in one way or another, since I was a teenager. Be it US foreign and covert policy, the Civil War era, pop culture, or civil rights; I have looked south with a voyeuristic fascination the better part of my life.
I have to admit that in November of last year I lost a great deal of respect for a healthy slice of America. I have long regarded the United States government, and its various internal apparatuses, quite coolly, but must admit to readdressing my personal definition of culpability with regards to the American public after November’s election. Given its outcome, how could I forgive those that would willingly back such recklessness, such callousness, and such blatant neo imperialism?
People make mistakes, true enough, but the one that was sworn in today for a second term in office has been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents. And that, I am afraid, is not so easily forgiven.
There are good people in the US working tirelessly to monitor the Bush administration, to hold it accountable, and to inform the world of what is happening behind closed doors. They deserve our respect and whatever assistance we can offer them, as they are on the front lines of a domestic war that reverberates outwards to affect billions of others.
There are lives to be saved by doing whatever can be done in every American house, in every American shop, in every American legislature, and on every American street corner. One hopes that Americans will remember that. One hopes that in the future, foreigners won’t need to have to tell them.
How will George Walker Bush be remembered? That will depend on how the person who is sworn in on this day in 2009 addresses the damage he has caused to what was, in antiquity, a good idea. Because today, Thomas Jefferson, asleep in the soil of Virginia, officially became a citizen of France.
American Progress would like you peruse the cost of this week’s coronation…
“A look at this week’s festivities by the numbers:
$40 million: Cost of Bush inaugural ball festivities, not counting security costs.
$2,000: Amount FDR spent on the inaugural in 1945…about $20,000 in today’s dollars.
$20,000: Cost of yellow roses purchased for inaugural festivities by D.C.’s Ritz Carlton.
200: Number of Humvees outfitted with top-of-the-line armor for troops in Iraq that could have been purchased with the amount of money blown on the inauguration.
$10,000: Price of an inaugural package at the Fairmont Hotel, which includes a Beluga caviar and Dom Perignon reception, a chauffeured Rolls Royce and two actors posing as “faux” Secret Service agents, complete with black sunglasses and cufflink walkie-talkies.
400: Pounds of lobster provided for “inaugural feeding frenzy” at the exclusive Mandarin Oriental hotel.
3,000: Number of “Laura Bush Cowboy cookies” provided for “inaugural feeding frenzy” at the Mandarin hotel.
$1: Amount per guest President Carter spent on snacks for guests at his inaugural parties. To stick to a tight budget, he served pretzels, peanuts, crackers and cheese and had cash bars.
22 million: Number of children in regions devastated by the tsunami who could have received vaccinations and preventive health care with the amount of money spent on the inauguration.
1,160,000: Number of girls who could be sent to school for a year in Afghanistan with the amount of money lavished on the inauguration.
$15,000: The down payment to rent a fur coat paid by one gala attendee who didn’t want the hassle of schlepping her own through the airport.
$200,500: Price of a room package at D.C.’s Mandarin Oriental, including presidential suite, chauffeured Mercedes limo and outfits from Neiman Marcus.
2,500: Number of U.S. troops used to stand guard as President Bush takes his oath of office
26,000: Number of Kevlar vests for U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan that could be purchased for $40 million.
$290: Bonus that could go to each American solider serving in Iraq, if inauguration funds were used for that purpose.
$6.3 million: Amount contributed by the finance and investment industry, which works out to be 25 percent of all the money collected.
$17 million: Amount of money the White House is forcing the cash-strapped city of Washington, D.C., to pony up for inauguration security.
9: Percentage of D.C. residents who voted for Bush in 2004.
66: Percentage of Americans who think this over-the-top inauguration should have been scaled back.”
Matthew Good is a big time rock star from Canada