OK, let’s look at the Bush Administration dinner plate.
The War on Terrorism. Everything changed on 9/11. The terrorists managed to cross the oceans. We now have a worldwide effort to eradicate the evil-doers, with Afghanistan being the prominent example. And today, the US committed Special Forces to The Philippines; not advisors but combat troops to help the Filipinos eliminate terrorists (and terrorist sympathizers?). Anyplace else?
Condition Orange – High Alert. Based partly on false information. Duct tape. Plastic wrap. Do you have your home emergency terrorist kit ready? (Shades of backyard fallout shelters?) Smallpox vaccinations. Yes? No?
The Middle East. An ongoing issue. ‘Nuff said. (And if you haven’t been paying attention the last few decades, I can’t help you.)
Iraq. The current biggest, baddest evil-doer in current gun sights of Dubya. With it comes the UN, the UN resolutions, anti-war sentiment worldwide, NATO issues, yadda, yadda. If we believe Bush at face value, a WMD ball-breaker. If we go to war, the US will remain in Iraq for years.
North Korea. A smoldering morass, or a flashpoint ready to go off? In either case, it looks like an Evil-Doer Tag Team with Iraq. If we believe Bush at face value, a WMD ball-breaker.
Koyto Treaty. Now an apparent past issue with Bush, his arrogance angered many countries, perhaps contributing to the current lack of support for a war with Iraq.
The Economy. The US had its worst full-year trade deficit in history last year. The job market is the worst in 40 years. The tax cuts (what tax cuts?) did a tremendous job of nothing for the economy. Greenspan’s latest comments did not sit well in the White House. Martha Stewart. Enron. Worldcom. Yadda, yadda. The unemployment rate, although statistically not bad (5.7 percent) but not reflecting all those no longer being counted. An energy crisis looming with oil prices climbing to near record levels, and the war hasn’t started yet.
The Budget Deficits. From this country’s strongest economic growth and budget surpluses to the largest yearly project deficit ever (FY2004). On top of this, Bush want to bring forward his tax cuts. On top of this, the greatest two-year budget increase (in excess of 20 percent) in a quarter-century, with most Departments subjected to budget cuts while Defense and Homeland Security getting the cash. Add in an accelerated A76 program (the fastest in almost 40 years) to get rid of federal employees enmass by October 1st of this year, to be replaced with contractors, which will cost the taxpayers billions more than now, with a decreased level of service.
The Environment. Raise the arsenic levels in water to help big business; to hell with the people’s health. Drilling in ANWAR to begin soon. No attempt at energy conservation. Insufficient funding for this summer’s forest fire season, on top of another drought year.
The Religious Right. Faith-based charities with tax dollars. The Pledge of Allegiance.
The MBA Team. Touted as the first President/Vice-President Dynamic Duo with MBAs. Would either make it as corporate business CEOs with their current track records operating USA, Inc.?
A Minority President. Yes Bush received more electoral votes, even though he lost in actual votes. Shouldn’t be a concern but it does reflect a deep division across America that apparently did not repair itself during the mid-term elections. Even with the Republicans in Control of Congress, Bush does not have a boot-kissing Congress or mandate.
Dick Cheney. Who? Where? What energy ties?
The Patriot Act I. John Ashcroft. Warrantless searches. Domestic spying. If you’re not with us, you’re against us.
Patriot Act II. The proposed sequel. Losing American citizenship just because you can.
No, I don’t offer cites because (1) I can’t find all of them anymore, (2) If you’ve been keeping up with the world and the SDMB of late, much of this should be familiar to you, and (3) I asking you to consider your gut feelings to the way the world is going and may be headed.
I think we are at a crossroads, only experienced twice before in our history. (The other two are the Civil War and the very beginnings with the American Revolution.) I think most people are blind to this crossroads, if they’ve even thought of it at all.
Sure, America and its presidents have endured issues, problems and crisis upon crisis, and we’ve managed to get through all of them. (I think.) But have we had this many critical issues all occurring at once, with many so tied to each other that it could be a macabre game of a House of Cards?
I think not. I think at its worst, we are looking at a major tear in the American fabric that we would be very hard-pressed to ever repair. And with it, the possibility of the UN becoming impotent to non-existent with regional and global conflicts manifesting themselves. (Will we be the supercop on the world beat?)
On the other hand, at its best a very long and slow climb back to where life is again good, here and overseas. Not in my lifetime though.
(I have no aluminum foil in the house so I’m not wearing a tinfoil hat. It’s just that I feel we are indeed poised at the edge of an abyss.)
Will Bush be able to juggle everything and not drop the ball? I’m not sure having said all this. I just get a very bad gut feeling about all of it.