After all the corruption, all the deceit, all the manipulation, all the evasion that we've seen come out of this administration, the fact that this woman just tenaciously seeks out the president in pursuit of a straight, honest answer is inspiring enough. But the fact that she actually got a response, a human response, granted not from the president, but from actual human beings who have actually been in physical contact with him...that's astonishing.
Now, she's apparently not satisfied with that, and I'd be very disappointed in her if she was. I'd like to believe--oh, how I would like to believe--that the meeting with the aides was inspired by simple human decency, that someone--perhaps the president, perhaps not--felt compassion for this woman and was reaching out in the hope of easing her pain. But I've grown so cynical with regard to this administration that I can't believe that there was any motive but a political one. Also, it doesn't sound like they told her anything she hasn't heard already.
Nevertheless, I think we, as Americans, should all follow this woman's lead and demand that the president stop isolating himself from us, demand that he tell us the truth, demand that he listen to us. This is not to say that I am advocating a return to the days when any Tom, Dick, or Harry could stroll into the Oval Office and say, "Hey, Prez, what's happening?" That would be foolhardy, as it was foolhardy then. But this president has taken great pains to insulate himself from the people, or at least the people who disagree with him. He doesn't read newspapers, he rarely talks to reporters, and when he does have town-hall meetings or public fora, or what have you, they carefully screen the people who are allowed in to make sure they won't ask any questions that would require him to explain his position or defend his actions. Now granted, in previous administrations I wasn't really paying attention, but given the amount of coverage the Daily Show gives this phenomenon, I have to conclude that it's peculiar to this administration.
I don't understand how you can lead a people--how you can even attempt to lead--if you're entirely out of touch with them, if you'll only listen to the ones whose opinions align with yours. And if he absolutely refuses to listen, quite frankly he really ought to be removed from office and replaced by someone who will.
I have hope, far more than I had in November of 2004, and this a scant eight and a half months later, that Mr. Bush will be impeached before his second term is over. At the rate that shit is hitting the fan, lies are being exposed, approval is dropping, patience is running out, it will happen sooner rather than later. I don't think he'll actually be removed from office, unfortunately--after all, he always seems to land on his feet when the rug is pulled out from under him--but at least this spectre will hover over his presidency for the rest of our nation's history.
That is another thing that makes me proud to be an American, the fact that--again, after all the lying and corruption and abuse of power that has happened during this administration--we can still believe, we can still have faith in the Constitutional procedure for removing an unfit president. That we still believe, in the face of facts that ought to cripple all such belief, in an orderly, civilized, peaceful method of removing a corrupt leader. That we still believe this can happen after all we've been through is amazing to me. And yet I still believe it can happen.
Obviously the system is not perfect. Two consecutive presidents impeached after it happened initially more than a century ago...something is wrong here, and something needs to be corrected. Obviously the election process needs to be revamped, so we don't put someone in office who may or may not have been lawfully elected, or who may or may not reflect the people's choice. We need to get rid of the electoral college. It was a system specifically designed to concentrate the power in the hands of a few, and to restrict the electorate to the powerful. Let us recall that the Framers of the Constitution were not gods but men, and men, moreover, who thought almost nothing of owing other human beings, forcing those human beings to serve them, and denying those anything resembling basic civil rights. Yes, they had a vision, yes, it was a beautiful one, yes, the system of laws they designed for us has, by and large, served us well, but only because of its adaptability. It is time for us to adapt again, to shape our laws to fit our current values. Now, perhaps more than then, we hold the truth that all people are created equal, and are endowed with certain unalienable rights, to be self-evident. That among those rights is the right for every citizen--not just the powerful, not just the rich, not just the well-bred, not just the land-owning, and certainly not just the white and the male--to have an equal voice in the government. Now, as then, there are some voices who aren't being heard. If they are to be heard, some major changes must occur, and our primary objective, besides the removal of President Bush, must be to abolish the electoral college.
Tonight, I believe it can happen. Tonight, I believe in the ability of our nation to strive ever closer to the ideals--the grand, glorious, perfect ideals--envisioned for our country by imperfect men. And anything else I could say on the subject would sound trite, and worse, it would sound Bush-y. So tonight, I pause while I wait for better words to arrive.