Thursday, December 01, 2005

Too much

There's just too much for us to talk about today, Bush. There's The Speech, of course. I'll leave others to deal with that. Both the New York and the Los Angeles Times came up with pretty scathing reviews this morning, and I have to agree with them. The Today Show chose John Kerry as the counter-spokesman, and I found myself wishing it had been someone else. He sounded, well, academic, rather than just plain angry. Bottom lines: nothing new. The same old rhetoric, the same old refusal to recognize past mistakes, the same old denial of the stark realities we hear from others on the ground, including your military. And the "report", for God's sake, Bush! The grand plan for the Iraq war, now finally declassified! Give us all a break! Watching the early news, it was Ellie who wondered, aloud, "What is this new, pompous walk, with his chest all puffed out. I'd noticed it, too. The commander-in-chief walk. To go with the talk, I guess. Both equally unconvincing.

And then there's World AIDS Day. And Rosa Parks Anniversary Day--commemorating her refusal to give up her seat on the bus. And the signing of the bill authorizing a statue of the same Rosa Parks for the Capitol Rotunda. Nice photo op, Bush. Though it must have been tough to smile and shake John Kerry's hand when he's turned out to be one of the loudest and sharpest critics of your war. Lots of cheery black faces, though. Did anyone else catch the near miss in your speech, when you tripped up over "school integration", and it nearly, nearly came out at "school degradation"? you caught that one just in time, Bush, before it got added to your growing list of malapropisms.

One thing did worry me, in the Rosa Parks celebration: all the self-congratulation being handed around so generously seemed to gloss over the very real, continuing plight of so much of our population of African descent. It had been so recently, and so blindingly revealed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the general aura of euphoria over progress in this area since the heyday of the civil rights movement seemed a tad misplaced. Recent information I've been reading about the state of the inner city schools, the resurgence of de facto segregation, the persistence of abject poverty and unemployment all suggest that the unrestrained celebration of progress is premature, to say the least; and that we still have a long, long way to go. The recent efforts of your Congress to find budget cuts in programs for the poor in order to protect your tax cuts for the rich do not encourage me to believe you're much concerned about this problem, Bush--despite your fine speech for Rosa Parks.

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