Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama, Bush and Clinton

I watched as Barack Obama took the oath of office as president of the United States.

And, I have hope.

It is the same hope that I had when William Jefferson Clinton took office in 1992. I was in graduate school then. My jubilation at finally seeing a Democrat take to the White House was overwhelming. I was flying.

I hope that what happened to Clinton does not happen to Obama.

I should put up a disclaimer right now that I am a Republican. I am one of those who want low taxes. But, I also grew up in Berkeley and am a student of history. I understand the need, the necessity for government regulation. I know that there needs to be a check and balance. I accept compromise.

I did not vote for Obama, but I hope the best for him.

Too often, I see my Republican party be petty and supercilious. It is a great disappointment to my heart and to my expectations that grown men in the party of Reagan would stoop down to the muck and revel in it. Yes, that would be Newt Gingrich and his ilk. Yes, that would be those who prosecuted and chased Clinton for his womanizing.

For if we were to place side by side the sins of Clinton and Walker Bush, the sins of the latter are far too damning to even have any disagreements.

I see that the future of the Republican Party must be where we include all the browns, the yellows and the gays and atheists. If the party is to survive, we must include all or we will become irrelevant.

I mourn for all the failings of George Walker Bush. The absolute stupidity of the logic used in approving torture is the lowest form of intellectual devolvement I have ever seen. The fact that it was done by an Asian Berkeley law professor galls me even more. The disastrous lies about weapons of mass destruction to Congress borders on the unforgivable. I expect more from my president.

I do not mind the war. It was a choice made by Bush and everyone else in the blood-rush of the September 11 attacks. The execution of power by the most powerful nation in the world is expected. The United States is not the first, nor will it be the last to exercise absolute power like that.

What I do mind is that wars must have plans. Wars must have an end goal. The goals must be specific and practical and this is where we as a society get into trouble.

The United States must learn from its experience of colonialism in the Philippines and the Vietnam War or we will be bound to commit one folly after another. We must as a nation, as politicians and as citizens be responsible for the planning of all of our actions and the creation of contingencies.

For just as we American craved for freedom from the British, so will be those that we liberate from tyranny be eager for freedom from our rule.

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