We are what we choose
In the roiling ocean of international politics, George W. Bush was a tsunami of bad choices in 2005. The continuing war on Iraq. The abuses of power. The torture. John Bolton. Michael Brown. Harriet Miers. ScAlito. The lying. The spying. And worse. If our nation ever carried the mantle of moral leadership, we have surely lost it by now.
Which is not to say there aren’t benefits to living under the constant gaze of Dear Leader. Safer at home. Fighting them over there so we won’t have to fight them here. Freedom on the march. Mission accomplished. Yeah, right. The Bush cabal has replaced reality with rhetoric on every front. Words without wisdom, policies without promise, and ruinous debt as far as we can imagine.
We the People, of course, are complicit in this debacle. We twice elected an incompetent fool to run our country, and he has repaid our trust with the grace of a spoiled child. Little George Bush needs a time out.
In 2006, Americans will have the chance to mitigate the Bush disaster by choosing a majority of Democrats in at least one house of Congress. With that majority, Democrats will have subpoena power, and the Republican juggernaut will grind to a halt in the bright light of truth. If you do nothing else in politics next year, please help make that happen.
Here in North Carolina, 2005 saw our shores permanently fouled by a different kind of stench – our choice of the state lottery. Come springtime, this very bad idea will contaminate our daily lives like a massive oil spill, impossible to escape no matter how hard we scrub. And our children will be raised in a world filled with one more toxic message: Gambling is fun, and easier than paying taxes.
But North Carolina’s moral slide doesn’t stop with the lottery. We’ve also built momentum in choosing capital punishment. This fall’s spate of early morning executions reminds us all that conservative hysteria about the sanctity of life is hypocritical to a deadly fault. If the killing of murderers and rapists must continue in our state, let’s at least be honest about it. Death sentences should be executed on Fridays at noon, in full public view.
On the electoral front, North Carolina’s gubernatorial race is already in full gear, with a handful of good old boys and girls vying for early money. If we’re lucky in 2006, one of them will succeed in linking the health of our economy to the health of our environment. I’m hoping Beverly Perdue will choose to rise to that occasion. She’s a good listener and she’s smart – both of which would be welcome qualities in our first woman governor.
And what summary of 2005 choices in North Carolina would be complete without acknowledging the ethically challenged Jim Black. What a fine message he offers our children and future leaders: Do and say anything to hold on to power. Such breathtaking arrogance.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the bright arrival of BlueNC on the North Carolina stage – and give my personal thanks to Lance for his tireless work and creativity. Also, it is a pleasure to watch the prolific Targator in action. And most important, my deep appreciation to each and every reader who gives us the gift of their time and attention.
We are what we choose.