told you so’ doesn’t quite work
by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
To the people who did not vote for George W. Bush either time and from the beginning have not supported this war, we might be able to chuckle when neocons complain to us. We can even say, “We told you so.”
But our gloating is hollow. We cannot sit back and take pride in the fact that we are being proven right, because as we knew it would happen, they’ve dragged us down right with them.
While some of the news is ironic, most of it has been terribly sad. People are beginning to realize that the war in Iraq is a massive tragedy for our troops who are dying there and for the soldiers who will remain forever scarred by combat. The war is also a tragedy for most of the Iraqi people and it has not made us safer. It has alienated our allies and caused the Islamic fundamentalist movement to grow.
The investigation into Karl Rove and Tom DeLay is showing that even the “right administration at the right time,” which was backed by the Evangelical Christian movement, is not above corruption and deceit. I have to wonder what God told the tele-evangelists about these two men.
The budget deficit is out of control and growing by the minute; the American people surely are realizing that conservative no longer means in the fiscal sense. The debacle that was Hurricane Katrina…well, what more is there to say about the most powerful nation in the world that moved with the speed of a Third-World response? Gas prices are on average $1 more per gallon then they were last year. Dire predictions about the winter natural gas prices have consumers unnerved.
While I’m one of those people pinching more pennies and worrying about winter heating costs, the only thing we can do now is gloat. This is not to say that we are glad our country is in the situation it is in, but for those of us who voted Democrat, we did try to take it in another direction.
The first person I gloated with was my nephew, whom I have the utmost respect for. He’s a Gulf War I veteran and a successful businessman but he is the only person in my family who is a Republican. When he called my mother a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to get on the phone with him and ask him what he thinks of his president now. This die-hard conservative was having some reservations about the man for whom he voted for twice and said he was thinking of going Independent. He made sure to tell me he had placed an angry call to his congressman just that day to complain about gas prices.
“It’s costing me an additional $6,000 per month to run my business,” he told me.
I smiled and asked him what he expected from an administration that not only has close ties to the oil industry, but IS the oil industry?
The other conversation took place over lunch with a friend of mine. We’ve often bantered over women’s rights, the state of the economy, the role of government to help the poor and almost everything else true liberals find wrong with most conservatives. She was so proud two years ago when her then six-year-old son proclaimed George W. Bush his “hero” and hung a poster of him on his bedroom wall.
“What do you think of your president now?” I asked her.
She smiled and even blushed. “He’s an embarrassment and that’s all I have to say about him.”
These personal poll results mirror what the “liberal” news polls have been saying for weeks. For nearly five years we Democrats have wondered what the attraction was to this man we knew would surely ruin everything we hold dear: the environment, social programs and even the budget surplus. Not since 2000 have I been so heartened by poll numbers showing W’s approval ratings, which have been dipping into the low 40s.
It’s heartening because people are finally starting to take notice. It’s disheartening because it reaffirms my belief that for the most part, the American people are lazy about educating themselves. They take two-minute blurbs from the nightly news and call that being informed. Worse yet, the only “news” channel some watch is FOX “Views.” It reaffirms my belief that people don’t start to notice until it personally affects their lives. And for the people who have started to take notice, it’s too little — five years too late.
There’s still nearly 40 percent of the population that support W and think he is doing a good job. Just this morning, a letter to the editor in The Kansas City Star lamented about what a “wonderful job” the president is doing. After all, he’s liberated two countries and made us more secure.
I’ve had conversations with people who still feel this way too. One man, a Vietnam vet, said he supported the president and the war in Iraq and the only reason he did not in the beginning was he felt that our military couldn’t do a good job because Clinton had cut military spending. I reminded him that by the time we invaded Iraq, a sovereign nation, Bush had three years to build up the military from whatever he felt Clinton had not provided to our military, which was a lot shorter time than Bush had to eliminate the budget surplus and reverse most environmental improvements Clinton had made. I also reminded him that Bush was literally nowhere to be found during Vietnam, which makes me wonder why a veteran would support him in the first place.
The only conclusion I can draw is that most of the people who still support Bush are people who will probably not change their minds, no matter. As my mother has always said throughout my life, “A die-hard Republican would vote for a chimpanzee if he was placed on the ballot.”
Well, I think some are realizing that they already have.
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