This article was originally published in americanchronicle.com on March 18th, 2008
I´ve recently had the misfortune of hearing President Bush speak. He´s been all over the news the last few days and he´s very hard to avoid. I noticed that he does seem to have a happy demeanor about him. He does put forth in his public persona a sunny outlook on the future. It makes one wonder if maybe he knows something the rest of us don´t, or if he's on something the rest of us aren't. If his positive attitude could manifest into reality, we´d all be living high on the hog before too long. Unfortunately for the rest of us, President Bush´s optimism belies what´s happening in the real world. Watching him – as he completely avoids the word recession (let alone depression) and refuses to acknowledge that our economy has done nothing more than hit a speed bump – one might think he´s completely lost touch with reality.
Then again, one might think that of course President Bush doesn´t realize we´re in a recession. When was the last time he had to go to a grocery store? How often does he have to take out his debit card and fill up his gas tank? Does he sit across a table from Laura once a month with the bills and try to determine who should pay how much for which bill? Is he writing out a check for the rent or a mortgage on the first of every month? Does he wonder if he´s going to get that raise so he can maintain his lifestyle?
The fact is, President Bush doesn´t have to worry about any of those things, and he never has. He grew up amongst the super rich and never wanted for anything, except maybe on an emotional level. He lives in a house we pay for. He is chauffeured and piloted around on our dime. He eats three square meals a day without even having to think about it – no doubt cooked up by some pretty talented chefs – all furnished for him by the taxpayers of the United States of America. His clothes, we bought them for him. In fact there is nothing in his life that hasn´t been purchased for him by the citizens of the United States of America. You´d think he´d show a little more appreciation for all the money we´ve given him. You´d think he´d be able to produce some sort of product or service for us. You´d think he´d at least pretend to care, perhaps by lying to us and telling us he could feel our pain. You´d think he´d at least try to put on a little bit of a performance to help us through these rough times, but it´s not to be. Instead, we get a spoiled, condescending brat smirking at us and telling us we´re not in a recession.
George W. Bush is the king of denial. He says his people are "all over this." Right. Like stink on you know what. He says he has confidence in our financial institutions. Yeah, I´m sure our financial institutions are strong like a bear. If he´s trying to sell us on his optimism, he´s not doing a very good job. If he truly believes his own words or those of his economic advisers, then he may want to consider taking some advice from people who actually know something about the economy and what it looks like when one goes into recession. We´re hurting. The dollar is getting weaker. I don´t know about the rest of you out there, but my pay certainly isn´t keeping up. We need a man at the helm who´s ready to admit what´s happening and take actions to correct it, not someone who denies what´s going on and then smiles for the camera and pays us lip service by saying we´re going to work through it.
This isn´t something new for Mr. Bush. He´s been in denial before. He held out for a long time before finally admitting there were no WMDs in Iraq. He declared an end to combat there just a bit too early. I recall a time when he denied the United States was involved in torturing people. He denied spying on the American people. He told Brownie he had done a "helluva" job after Katrina. I could go on, but why bother? His foibles are well documented. He seems to take comfort in denying the truth. Perhaps that was something he learned in his youth when he found it hard to admit that he had a problem with drugs and alcohol.
Denial will get us nowhere. We need a leader who understands reality and will put us back on a proper path to prosperity. It is time to dethrone the king. We could have had a new leader by now, or at least hobbled this one, had something called impeachment been "on the table," if not actually exercised. But then, I guess denial is something that spreads quickly like a virus through the body politic. The entire U.S. congress appears to have been infected. In fact, it seems the entire country has caught it if they believe that voting for any of these rich, disconnected, corporate party politicians is going to do anything to change the mess we´re in one iota. Perhaps I´m wrong, but I think we common folk may well be on our own soon, if not already. That may work out just fine. After all, who better to bail out the rich elitists in denial than the common folk who have to deal with reality on a daily basis?