One of the sorriest displays of politics in recent years is winding down to it’s inevitable halt. In two days time (god willing), we will know who our new President is. George W. Bush will either have his second term, or Kerry will have his first. Whoever wins, they will have a thankless and very difficult task on their hands. I’ve laid my chips with Kerry, however, I’d like to request things of both candidates. No matter which one ends up winning out, there are things that either candidate would benefit hearing. So here goes.
To President John Kerry…
Okay, so I guess you’re wondering how you got this far. After all, you were getting schooled by Howard Dean this time last year. Thank God he’s a screamer… because I doubt he would have come off well at all in those debates. But here you are. President John Kerry. How are you liking it? Well, that doesn’t really matter that much. What matters is whether or not we like it.
And a good half of the country won’t be. Half will be screaming at you from day one, and a good quarter of the other half will be wary of you. You’re “the lesser of two evils” to these people. And how a task falls on you. You must unify them all. I doubt you will recieve a “unifying” moment, such as 9/11. No, I feel that your presidency will be very similar to the Clinton years. You’ll have a Republican congress standing in the way of your every move. And you know you lack the charisma of old Slick Willy.
But all the same, you must try. And I don’t mean donning camo and going out shooting ducks. You have to learn what your forerunner did not, that you must work for all of America, not just the side that voted on you. Democrats will be foaming at the mouth to undo four years of Republican control… and you must contain them.
And Osama remains. You must find him. You must. America will never fully exorcise the specter of 9/11, but so long as Osama remains alive, it will rattle its chains, and scream in our ears.
Iraq must be defused. But not abandoned. The answer to the snafu that took place between the Tygrus and the Euphrates must not hemorrage with the blood of America’s youth… but it must not be something we run away from. The world is looking at us right now, and only with understanding, well-thought out actions, will it grow to respect us as it once did.
All else is incidental. Tax cuts, gay marriage, and immigration. If this world… and us along with it… is to survive, then we all must work together. The outsider cannot be won over with brute force, but he also cannot be won over with a hug and a Jimmy Carter smile. It must be a balance of the two. I do not know how to do this. But you must find a way. Otherwise, you will join the forty-odd men who have failed at your job: unifying the world against the tribal politics and old hatreds that have poisoned it for so long.
Godspeed, President Kerry. Godspeed.
To President George W. Bush…
You’ve done it again, George. I seemed to know you would pull through somehow, and here you are, ready for another innauguration day in your egg-covered limo. How do you feel? Are you ready for more of this? At least you don’t have to worry about re-election now. And I know you’re not obligated to fix what you’ve broken. You can sit on your laurels for four years, until some other candidate with something to prove steps up. You can do this, and cement your place in history…
…or you can try something else. You can try redemption.
As night fell on September 11, I never thought I’d see a country as shattered as it is now. I knew we were going to band together. You could hear it in every American voice. I knew you’d get re-elected, but if you could pull through for us, I didn’t care, no matter what happened in 2000. You were our president, and we believed in you.
And for a while, everything was fine. Everything was okay. But then there were cracks in the lining. And then everything shattered into pieces when you declared war on Iraq. It was America’s first pre-emptive war. We’ve done some crass things in our history-poisining the Souix with Small-Pox laced blankets, blaming the destuction of the USS Maine on Spain just so we could take Cuba…. but this took the cake. We swept in and chased out the gremlins of your father’s failed war. We toppled the Statue. We were triumphant. You drove down on your steel bird, screaming “mission accomplished”. For those who would hear the Siren’s Song of blind patriotism, it was a shining moment.
But it didn’t last .
Fire in the night. Gunshots in the streets. Fat goverment contracts. Flag-draped coffins. The liberal backlash. Michael Moore, trying to sign up people to go fight for your war. Anne Coulter, claiming anyone who didn’t support you was a Traitor. And before you know it, we’re back to 2000, fractured into two pieces, and all we’ve got to show for it is an empty stretch of ground and four thousand new graves (and counting).
So you’ve got another four years. Do us a favor. Redeem yourself.
No more Halliburton garbage. Be open to everyone. Stop listening to the bald man in glasses, and listen to your promises from 2000. Leave no child behind. Leave no adult behind. If you want to make it certain every unborn child makes it into the world, give them the means to craft their future. And keep their future rife with possiblity, not isolation and paranioa. Stop trying to scare people, and stop trying to use Jesus as a prop. Religion is not the cure for the world’s suffering, it is the cause of it. Address your shortcomings. And transcend them.
You are a good man. You are not a stupid man. But you are not very articulate, and you let yourself be pushed around by those below you. You can do little for the first, but you must do something about the second. You know what those troops in Iraq are going through. Show them that you care about every last one of them. Form an Exit Strategy.
But your greatest task will be to build back those bridges you burned. The rest of the world stands around us. We can hate them, and spar with them, or we can overcome two million years of bickering and killing. It’s our choice, I say we make the right one now.
You’re back, but you don’t have to go down in history as the guy who just squeaked by. Or as the man who mortally wounded his country. You can be that grand uniter. But you must work with those who you disagree with. For unity is made up of the acceptance of all people… not just the ones on your side. So it should go in the United States of America, and so it should go in the world-no matter what the armchair generals, the rednecks, the nascar dads, and the spoiled trust-fund babies say.
Be the President we know you can be. And be it now, whether your presidency ends in 2005 or 2009.
Thank you gentlemen, and goodnight.
The choice is before you now. And no matter who you choose to support, make that support known. Every vote cast strengthens America. It brings us together as one people, working together to decide our future. So vote Kerry, or vote Bush, or vote Nader, or vote for Benny Hill… but take part. Don’t do it for your party, or your agenda… do it for yourself.
The future is what we make it. So help make the future on November 2.