BURNED UP AND BURNED OUT BY POLITICS !!!!
President Bush almost killed me. It's
true, and I have the scars to prove it -- multiple scars that are
part of the public record -- you saw them in magazines and on my
show, and you can see them on my blog frequently -- no twelve year
It was 2000, and the Republican National
Convention was on television. The whole affair felt something like
a home invasion, with a chronically smirking and arrogant George
W. Bush as ringleader. Not wishing to be robbed of my optimism and
hope at the time -- or to tumble into depression and despair -- I
shut off the TV and decided to go fishing.
I needed gear, so I went to the store and
bought a few things, including a knife, which I used to cut the
price tags off of the fishing poles.
Now, I could have stabbed myself 100 times in
the hand and not managed to do the damage I did with that one poke
to the inside of my middle finger. I went all out, though, and got
everything -- skin, ligaments, tendons, nerves. Maximum impact,
including a particularly nasty staph infection that almost left me
That's my personal war story from the
demoralizing Bush years, and probably a minor one, considering the
935 documented lies told by the Bush administration that thrust us
into an unjust war, killing thousands of Iraqi civilians and
nearly 4000 Americans. One near-death experience probably pales in
comparison to the $9 trillion dollar debt heaped upon the
collective back of America, or the gross war profiteering by
corporate friends of Cheney and Bush, or even the $10 billion
dollar third-quarter profit Exxon recently reported.
Still, it hurt like hell, and the scars and
swelling are there as a reminder. I was right to feel repulsed by
Bush. Nearly everything his administration has done or stood for
in the years since has been tainted by lies and corruption.
I've stuck mostly to newspapers and internet
news sites since Bush took office. It's less painful to read
Bush's stumbling, dishonest commentary in print than it is to see
it live and in color -- with all that cocky, cowboy arrogance --
the kind that declared "Mission Accomplished" in 2003 knowing full
well that the "mission" was based on lies, and that the
"accomplishment" would leave American troops in Iraq for years to
come cleaning up the mess.
It's a new season, with an election on the
horizon, but like many others I have felt burned up and burned out
by politics. While I've never tripped over to the apathetic side,
I have been leery of politicians in general, particularly those
who claim they have what it takes to clean up the catastrophic
mess that will be Bush's enduring legacy, and America's
decades-long burden. I just don't want to be stabbed again,
literally or figuratively.
Tentatively, I've begun to watch politics on
television again, For the most part, outside of some very
unfortunate and unnecessary mudslinging, I find the Democratic
candidates surprisingly easy on the eyes. When they break away
from the sick political disease of backbiting, their optimistic
messages of real change, relief, and hope resonate more clearly.
Hillary Clinton is not light on political
experience or plans. Her deep knowledge, assured confidence, and
personal strength shines through her speeches. While some would
deride her for her background, few can argue that it hasn't been
substantial enough, or encompassing enough, to qualify her for the
presidency, which is an argument that has been used against her
chief opponent, Barack Obama.
Obama is invigorating. A silken-tongued master
of hope-filled speech, an eloquent narrator of the American dream.
"Yes we can," he says, and the cheering crowd, inspired, rises to
its feet. His background is more eclectic, and his roots more
exotic than Clinton's, but only two of his eleven years in
politics were in the U.S. Senate. Is it enough? His proponents say
it is, and even call his relative inexperience an asset -- there's
no politics as usual if you take out the usual kind of
It's still early yet, but so far I find both
candidates believable. They are different, with a different mix of
talents to bring to the political table, but they both seem to
have the passion, plans, drive, and intelligence I want in my next
Could a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket
be our future? I hope so. I think America would benefit from the
strengths of either individual, but if those strengths were
combined, we might just have the Democratic powerhouse the country
needs to turn itself around, and back into peace, prosperity and
May they both release the desire to receive for
oneself alone -- and save the world together.