In view of the gravity of the situation in Asia, Bush, would it not be possible to forgo some of the hoopla around your second inauguration?
What a grand gesture that would be! What a magnanimous Bush the world would see! What an example of unselfish sacrifice to the rest of the country! To say no to extravagant celebration, and yes to the profoundly needy--in distant countries, with no vote! And the hardest hit amongst them, Indonesia, a primarily Muslim country. Wouldn't they have to see Bush in a slightly altered light? A Bush who announces that he's prepared to do without aggrandizement, so that tens of thousands of other human beings may, quite literally, live.
Because that's what it's about at the moment, as I understand it, Bush. It's about food and water. It's about shelter. It's about the medicines needed to fight off disease. It's about bare-bones survival.
Oh, I'm realist enough to know that dollars spent here don't necessarily have to do with dollars spent there. But this would be about image, Bush. We know you understand about image, because your people used it to devastating effect in the election. Here's the chance to burnish your (admit it!) somewhat questionable image in the world--an image only recently further tarnished by your silence: A three-day delay in finding the time away from your brush-clearing activities to make any personal response, in public, to the disaster? Not good tactics, really.
And yes, I understand the value of pomp and circumstance in the national agenda. It's not trivial stuff. And I realize, Bush, that much of the money for the inaugural comes from privately donated sources: to be charitable myself, I won't even raise the issue of about what might motivate those sources. But couldn't you do what so many people do at funerals? "In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to…" The Red Cross? Doctors Without Borders? Care USA?
But then I guess your inauguration isn't a funeral.
Although, on second thoughts… If we go on like this, it might be ours.