This is part two of three (or more?) pieces I’m writing about what I believe and how I came to believe it.
At the time of the 2000 election, I was still pretty decidedly Republican for life. Though I can’t remember being aware of the intricacies of the nomination process, I knew I was on the side of George W. Bush before he was the official Republican choice, what with him being a straight-shootin’ baseball-lovin’ Texas Governor and all. And I, being a straight-shootin' baseball-lovin' Texas gov- er, straight-shootin' baseball lover, it was a natural choice. I had then, and still have, a pretty politically incorrect disposition, and George W. Bush was my hope at having a President with a spine that wouldn’t take any Democratic guff.
On the other side of the ticket was Al Gore, in his pre-hipster-hero-hysteria days, his pre-Nobel Peace Prize days, his pre-Oscar days. My knowledge of him at that point was that he loved planet earth, snuggled up to the tree-huggers, and threatened industry (also that he was just one more Clinton-impeachment away from becoming President). This was partly influenced by the overabundance of Rush Limbaugh in my childhood soundtrack courtesy of my parents’ radio. Lest I layer the cynicism too thickly, I have to tell you that I still don’t much trust the man, and I’m still not convinced New York City will be underwater in 30 years, that the ice caps will melt, that if they do melt it will be in part due to my Ford Escort, and that having New York City underwater would be an altogether bad thing. Then again, I haven’t seen An Inconvenient Truth yet, either, which I know would inevitably sway me to become the Greenpeace-donatin’ Prius-drivin’ tree-hugger I’m destined to be.
Where was I? Oh yes, the 2000 election. Of course, you know, George W. Bush won. The electoral vote. Not the popular vote. This is nothing new in American elections (it happened three times before this). There are annual bills to change the electoral college. (I think it would be a grave mistake – the electoral college is a convenient way for people to cover regrettable political choices. Case in point: I voted to re-elect Bush in 2004, but I get to hide behind to cover of living in a Blue state. This, at the small cost of being disenfranchised every four years.) Bush’s victory cleared Gore to spend his time fighting his war against global warming and win Oscars and Nobel prizes and stuff. It cleared his supporters to spend the next few years sulking over how Bush stole the election.
Foreign policy changed. Everyone’s did, including my own. The president said we were going to get the people who knocked down the buildings, and I couldn’t wait to see some bombs drop. We went to
History, I think, will be a far better judge of the war than a business-minded media and college students with picket signs or graffiti artists with stencils. The same should be said of George W. Bush’s presidency. History, I think, will be a gentler critic than Bush’s harshest detractors, but certainly more harsh than his most adoring and tenacious supporters who ignore a ballooning government, a tanking economy, and an arduous, divisive, seemingly endless war. Where I had once been a part of the adoring and tenacious group, I have in the past few years ceased to consider myself a member.
To be continued…(I told you part two was coming didn't I? Part three is on the way, I swear.)