‘W’ Being a President from Americanrhetoric.com
I recently was reminded of this speech from a report by CNN. It is hard to look back at ‘W’ as a leader, all things considered. But whether ‘W’ believed the words of this, or whether it was his handlers and writers, the message should not be lost in the midst of America’s Nightmare.
There are many wonderful words in here that current candidates for the Republicans would be wise to remember: “…terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars…”
Of course, there were bad times too, even within the same speech, as harbingers of things to come: “I announce the creation of a Cabinet-level position reporting directly to me — the Office of Homeland Security…” This announcement, by itself, did not necessarily mean the abuse that followed. There is much in the implementation.
And things not said, such as, “…only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows…” Well, there is one other way. Unfortunately, a missed chance to look for the cause, but perhaps that night was not the night to approach causes, such as American foreign policy and contemporary quips going the rounds like, “What is our oil doing under their sand?”
All of which is grist for the American Nightmare today. But back then there were good words coming from the lips of a simple man, who might have been less reviled had he been less powerful.
Words like, “I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself.”
Yes, there were missed opportunities here, which might not have been missed in days and nights to come, had the leader actually been made of more substance. Perhaps the writer hoped to address those ideas later, when the country was in less pain, when the state was more receptive to the mistakes it had made. Instead, the leaders possibly ‘hijacked’ government itself, much as the terrorists did with Islam.
Oh, that he had followed his own words: “Fellow citizens, we’ll meet violence with patient justice.”
ISIS was born of this ‘patient justice’.
And now we see the American Nightmare spawned from those days. Bigotry and discrimination have been at the heart of American structure regardless of their lip service to “all men are created equal”, and good men and women in the USA despair at their efforts to change their country.
Despair, not because people like Ben Carson, a seemingly kind, gentle, intelligent man, make dreadful statements they don’t even realize are wrong-headed, or when Donald Trump fails to quell some bigot in his sycophantic crowds, or potentially contributes to childhood deaths by his ignorant comments regarding vaccination. The despair arises because these people are the best that crawling through American political machinations produces. That is the American Nightmare, that so many of the populace support people who fail to lead when leading gets tough, because they lack the courage, lack the intelligence, or they lack the wisdom, lack the integrity, or lack the empathy.
Looking back longingly at the words, if not the deeds, of George W., such as those quite beautiful words six paragraphs above, tells a lot about the quality of current front-leading candidates for the Republican party.