Throughout the past eight years, I've always maintained that I'm not anti-Bush; I'm anti-stupid, and the Bush administration has provided plenty of stupid for me to be anti- to. I mean, Clinton did plenty of stupid things, and I'm sure Obama will too, and I'm sure the guy after him will do stupid things also, and so on until the sun explodes.
The Bush years were and will always be different for me, though. For one thing, it was during this time that I experienced my "political awakening" (to coin a phrase). I was 19 when Bush was elected in 2000 and am 27 now. In that time I graduated college, moved halfway across the country, held down a job for 4+ years, lived in China, and generally started my own version of my life, became a fully functioning member of society and whatnot. And I did it while Bush was doing the things he did as president.
Second, Bush racked up an impressive list of stupid things: Katrina. Guantanamo Bay. The warrantless wiretapping program. The Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The rancor and partisianship in Congress. The clusterfuck in Iraq. The executive orders and signing statements. Social Security plans tied to the stock market (how's that idea look now, bucko??) The perjury. The no-bid contracts to Halliburton. The lawsuits and the closing of any and all windows into what the President (and Veep) were doing. The PATRIOT Act and its successors. The cultivation and concentration of executive power into a hammer that was to be wielded. The demonization of enemies. The complete bungling of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, which is something that even us "liberals" would rally behind, if we ever started it up again. The reliance on memories of 9/11 to back up his actions. The assertions that the President and his administration were above the law and beyond scrutiny. The pure unflinching belief that he was always right, which translated into we must never change direction, which also translated into if you don't agree with me, you're wrong.
It's stupid, is what it is. Just plain pigheadedly arrogant and blindingly stupid. Like I said at the beginning.
Not that the opposition to him has been much smarter. In response to all this, "liberals" (lord I hate that word) have started to fight fire with fire by establishing bastions of thought like Air America and getting people like Al Franken to be senator (did he win? I know it was contested). When will they realize that if you fight fire with fire, you burn the goddamn house down? When Jon Stewart went on Crossfire and lambasted the hosts for playing their roles like trained monkeys, carving up America into pieces, that really spoke to me. Watch that video. Listen to Jon Stewart and listen to Paul and Tucker try to talk over him. They know it's true, but their jobs and images depend on it not being true. They don't even answer his accusations, they just say things like "Wow, I wouldn't want to have dinner at your house." Hah. But it's become trendy to bash Bush, so much so that I don't pay attention to liberal rags (MoveOn, DailyKos, HuffingtonPost, etc.) that have sprouted up in opposition to Fox News and the "right-wing" media. It's two sides of the same coin; it's all BS mixing with more BS, and it makes me tired and sad to listen to it.
Kerry, well, let me just say this: Bush didn't win the 2004 election; Kerry lost it. I never fully supported him, and I felt guilty for voting for him because of it. But that was definitely a "lesser of two evils" case. It was a "check this box in case of emergency" vote. I feel bad about voting for Kerry, and I hope I never have to do that again.
You could say I'm jaded.
So when Obama won, my throat caught for a second (well, more than a second). Why? Because I felt great about voting for him, albeit a tad uninformed since I was out of the US for the majority of the campaign. Although I know he is a human being and a politician at that, I believe he can lead us forwards rather than backwards. I believe that he knows that leading means setting an example but changing directions, and acknowledging your mistakes, when you find out you're wrong. I believe he has a concept of basic human morality that is closer to my own than Bush's is. I believe that he will make sound decisions based on what information he has, espeically after the debacle that is the Iraq invasion. I believe I can believe him. And I believe that, though he has his faults and will make mistakes, he will be a good leader.
Because we really need one right now.
I think it's interesting that some people are getting upset about Obama choosing many Clintonites for his staff and advisory positions, or that he's not setting fire to the White House and building the whole thing from the ground up, or that he never placed a "Kick Me" sign on Bush's back. I think many people have this idea of Obama as the Christ child come to Earth, some sort of savior sent from above to deliver us from darkness. People: he's a human being. He will make mistakes and piss people off, just like Bush did. He and his administration will provide plenty of fodder for The Daily Show. But the difference is that I believe Obama can recover from those mistakes and do what's right and what needs to be done. Hell in his first 6 days as president he's already shut Gitmo, outlawed torture/rendition/CIA jails, and frozen the pay of his higher-level staff. Let's hope he upgrades their PCs, though.
See now, Bush: that wasn't so hard, was it?