I sat down to write an entry on the environment and the significant lack of attention being paid to the earth and all of the rhetoric that goes along with that argument, and I think I eventually will write that entry, but I’ve decided instead to write an entry on how listening to John Denver has altered my view (if only slightly) of George Bush.
You must be wondering how this came about. I’m even wondering myself, really. I am certainly not a fan of George (read: George and his administration) at all, and my political leanings are seriously to the left, but I have decided that – though I could certainly never bring myself to forgive him for the terrible atrocities his government has visited upon the Middle East (and his own people) or the tizzy that he’s got the world in, I think that it’s all due to him being a country boy.
I recommend that you haul out your parents’ John Denver CDs and find the song “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy” right about now. You’ll understand me a little better if you have a listen.
The fact of the matter is: he’s a Texan; Texans are generally (historically) ranchers, farmers, people who deal in the land, and take a great pride in doing so. And that’s a wonderful thing. There is a certain set of stereotypical values that go along with being Texan, including being a gun-toting, proud American who is wary of international influence in their country, and who wants nothing more than to make a good living and keep their money, protect their families, and generally be okay where they are. And yes, I am saying that Texans (and many other Americans) are simple people, but they’re simple in the best ways – their modus operandi is: you in your small corner, and I in mine; and they’d like to keep it that way. So, if they see a threat to their small corner, they’re going to try their damnedest to protect it, in any way possible.
Since only 1/3 of the American population bothers to vote, I am assuming that the third that bothered (or rather, the third that mattered) in the last two presidential elections were likely people with similar values to that of G.W.B, and therefore he was elected to be the spokesperson for the American values that come, primarily, from the southern and middle states; the Red states, if you will. If any of you are familiar with the character of Denny Crane on Boston Legal, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
When it comes down to it, I think George W is a country boy who got tangled up with dirty politics and international warfare, and it’s confused his natural state as a happy, home-steading American, turning him into the man that the world has collectively dubbed the world’s most notorious terrorist. Essentially, George Bush really isn’t that bad – sure, he’s a bit stupid sometimes, and yes, his administration has been responsible for some pretty awful things – but this is not a man who wants to kill his own people for no reason. His values (and his need for revenge) inform his decisions, and that’s his major flaw. Politics should be about what is best for your region, and if you are allowed to take control of that, and force your own values on a group of people who don’t necessarily agree with them: there’s a problem. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely. So now, the onus is on the American people to come out in record numbers for the 2008 vote, and really have their voice heard. That’s what democracy is about, isn’t it?
Of course, my fervent hope is that Stephen Harper doesn’t end up being the next George Bush. I am happy to know that there will be a major shift in the American administration very soon, so perhaps international and American-Canadian relations will change for the better. I’m not touting the lefty political agenda, I just think there’s some tidying up to be done if anyone’s best interest is to be served. I wish that political parties would just make a promise to do whatever they could to make their country the best it could be, and that would be it. I mean, we all breathe the same air, we all live on the same turf, and it shouldn’t belong to one party or another, it should belong to all of us. I suppose that was the original agenda of democracy, but it’s been so tainted by money and greed and such, that it’s just not what it should be.
So, here’s my ending prescription: George – retire to your ranch, and be the happy home-steader that you want to be; maybe spend some time following in the footsteps of previous presidents, and do some good work for the world in your spare time.
Also, to everyone else: comment! I would like to know what you think. I’m open to being accosted, or praised, or whatever. Speak up, people!